Colston Mens A v Virgin Active, May 11th Match Report

A very frustrating afternoon and a poor result for the A Team.

For those who have never played at Virgin (Esporta that was) the courts are high quality carpet with a true bounce but the ball skids on very fast- Gavin and I had lost the first set 6-2 to the 2nd pair and were 3-0 down before we started to time the ball and work out the tactics on that surface.

It isn’t just the surface- the courts are only 2 feet apart and have a wall of netting between them to prevent injury from players running onto the adjoining court to reach balls that they would easily reach on a normal court (They should only have 3 courts in the space but packed 4 in). On several occasions we were “aced” by  slow wide serves landing on the line half way down the service box and hitting the netting before you could hit them back- this also happened during the game as they played the angles. Gavin and I regrouped, served as wide as possible and attacked the net to win 6 out of the next 9 games and force the tiebreak- unfortunately we lost that 8-6!

Meanwhile Chris and John were doing much better against the “1st pair” (who seemed weaker than the 2nd pair!): They also needed the first set to get used to the surface and lost it on a tiebreak before taking the second set.

So at the halfway point it was 1.5 rubbers to 0.5- we were still in it.

The stronger “2nd” pair were in the end too strong for Chris and John and won narrowly, and Gavin and I were still trying to work out why we couldn’t break the weak serves of the “1st” pair- Slowness over the net that then “sped up” as they skidded after bouncing was again mucking up our timing and we lost the first set before working them out- again almost taking the 2nd but alas not.

I know it is a cliché that the conditions are the same for both teams but not when one is used to the surface and the restricted width. This was basically the same team that we beat very comfortably when they last came to Colston. They have now won their first two games (Both at home) and so we will see how they do on normal courts.

The captain took a few glasses of wine to calm down that night!!



Colston Ladies v Charlbury B, May 11th Match Report

Just a quick match report from today, our 1st away match at Charlbury, played in conditions that can only be described as changeable! Heavy showers and bursts of sunshine all afternoon.
The players were myself, Emily, Tessa and Jules.
Emily and myself made the most of playing their 2nd pair first and won 6-0, 6-2, Tessa and Jules played their 1st pair and lost 6-2, 6-3, so leaving us even. In the second round Emily and myself narrowly lost to the first pair 7-6, 6-4 and with the thought of tea spurring them on and not wanting to play a third set, Jules and Tessa won the second round 7-6 6-2. Leaving us all square and a draw was declared!
So well played by everyone and more valuable experience gained with every match and we are still unbeaten!!!!!
The tea was very nice , but not as good as ours, ladies we win every time on that ….
Next match 1st June, so lets keep the unbeaten run….

Colston Mens A Begin Summer Campaign

Colston A v Hanney A

Saturday April 20th

The Summer campaign did not get off to the best of starts as the Captain was stuck in Witney traffic collecting a wine order from Majestic! Turning up 15mins late looked even less acceptable because the team were waiting to make a presentation. Really touched by the trophy for  “No 1 Captain” which I will treasure. As I have said many times before it is a privilege to lead this team and always enjoyable. Focus  on the fun and the results will come- as indeed they did!!

The Chairman is in a rich vein of form at the moment and if he keeps this up the summer singles could see a change in the pecking order- covering the ground in a way that Lord Stevens hasn’t managed since he was a teenager he ran everything down and buried his volleys. With the Captain playing well also we soon showed it was a case of “two 1st pairs” as we demolished the Hanney A 1st pair 6-0. They found a little bit of rhythm in the second set and we were neck and neck to 3-3. The Captain’s response to their slight improvement was to try to up his own game and he started taking more risks- a firm word from the Chair reminded him that we were so much better than them we should just keep doing what we were doing- so what if they pick up the odd game? With those wise words we pulled away and sealed it 6-3.

Miles and Chris had by this time destroyed the second pair dropping only 1 game so the whitewash was on.

Paul and I carried on applying pressure to the hapless second pair and took the first set 6-0- one of their team literally couldn’t hit a backhand- we just dropped it on that side and of the 2 or 3 that he managed to get back they all limply awaited the killer volley.

Miles and Chris had  to work a little harder against the first pair but not enough to  really tax them as they too won 6-3. Now this is where we often slipped up in the winter- Six sets won and then let people back in. Miles and Chris had no intention of slipping up and won the second set 6-0 as their opponents struggled to play and in the case of one to keep their temper- A throw of the racquet and later the water bottle- Chris resisted the urge to bait them, but charity comes easier when it is tinged with pity.

Paul and I lost a little focus (double faults and wayward volleying the main culprits) and found ourselves 3-2 down before the Captain’s serve levelled it and we broke to take the lead. Mr Sherratt held with ease and despite them holding serve to take it to 5-4 all we needed was another good service game which was duly delivered.

Another splendid tea in genuine spring sunshine capped off a great start to the season.

Hanney had only managed 11 games in the afternoon and really they were lucky to get that- emphasising two things:

a)      We have a great squad and with all playing well we have the invaluable asset of two pairs of the same high standard

b)      They were the worst team we have played since last summer and yet still finished mid table last year- reinforcing the need to win promotion again!!

So we are 1/7th  of the way to outright victory for the 3rd summer on the trot.

Bring on Virgin Active B on Saturday 11th May:

Gareth and Gavin as the first pair. Gav, I’ll be expecting you to emulate some of Paul’s running skills- get some training in over the next couple of weeks!!

Chris F and John as second pair- Chris passing on his years of wisdom and experience as John moves like lightning around him!

Hope the sun keep shining