"The season opener of the Winter league was the A v B match, the first time we had played for a few years having just gained promotion back to the 1st Division. We were looking forward to a tough match against the League holders, and hoped to make them work for it
We were pleased to welcome a new member Daniel Cole into the fold and Stuart Levy who though usually an A team player had made himself available for the B team. The others in the B team, were Mark Swinscoe, Dave Wykes, and Gareth Birdsall who are now all regular B team players, and the old timer, myself.
Despite sodden courts and heavy balls the standard was very good, and the Mens B team made the A team work for every point. In the first round Daniel and Stuart pushed Mike Johnson and Ben Jepson all the way just losing 5-7, 5-7. Mark and David played some great tennis but the 2nd pair of the A team, Jonathan Clift and Ed Blake were too dominant, and they lost 2-6, 1-6. Myself and Gareth surprisingly pushed the A team’s 1st pair, Carl Richardson and Tal Russ, closer than we would have imagined before we walked on court, breaking their serves multiple times, but ultimately losing 3-6, 4-6.
In the second round Daniel and Stuart deservedly won the first set, 6-4, against Carl and Tal, but unfortunately Tal pulled a muscle in his back and could not carry on. Dave and Mark had an up and down match against Mike and Ben, losing the first set 0-6, and then had the opportunity to serve out the 2nd set at 6-5, but ultimately lost the tie break narrowly. Myself and Gareth competed against Jonathan and Ed, and despite Gareth’s continued strong serving were well beaten in the first set and made a better impression in the 2nd, losing 3-6.
In the final round Daniel and Stuart lost 0-6, 3-6 against Jonathan and Ed who were consistently the most impressive pair in the A team. Myself and Gareth were on the wrong end with Mike and Ben clearly keen to finish the match off, beating us 6-0, 6-2.
Overall not an unexpected result, though it did show we could compete against the League holders and are not out of our depth in the top division. We now look forward to a couple of tough matches against Hampshire A and Thornden A before we have the Christmas break."
Kevin Harris - Mens B Captain