Just as they ended 2014, Mens 2 started 2015 with another hard but enjoyable match against table-toppers Abbeydale 2. The 7-2 scoreline from last month didn’t reflect how close they came to victory, and this game would be even closer.
With Jonathan missing, Dave Gardiner stepped up from the 3rd team to team up with Andrew, Richards Grainger and Clarkson paired up again, with the ever-energetic Max & Harry completing the line-up. Abbeydale were unchanged from last month.
Immediately the two Richards began to show their quality taking a quick win against the Abbeydale 3rd pair (11 & 8) and it was a promising start for Andrew and Dave taking a tight first game 22-20 in the second match – Dave using his massive smash to great effect, with Andrew finishing well at the net. The Abbeydale 1st pair were a strong couple and Harry & Max were in for a tough start playing for Broomgrove at the top of the card, but they used their typical attritional badminton, wearing the opponents down and taking the 1st game 21-19. Despite a turn around in the 2nd game (12-21) they kept their heads, kept to their game plan and ran out winners in the decider – a really great win for the young pair to remember, and a vital scalp in the match. Another big turn around for Andrew & Dave (9-21) would this time prove too much, and although they rallied again they lost their decider.
Despite confidence from the great performance in their first rubber, Andrew & Dave would lose again, this time against the Abbeydale 1st pair who were beginning to find their form. But the other two pairs kept the pressure up and kept Broomgrove ahead; A close 1st game went the way of Grainger & Clarkson against the Abbeydale 2nd pair, before a more comfortable win in the 2nd, and Max & Harry showed great heart again in 3 games, this time coming from a game down to take another close encounter (20-22, 21-11, 21-18).
So far so good, and with the last 3 games how we wanted them; the two Richards to take on Abbeydale’s top pair, Max & Harry against the 2nd pair and Andrew & Dave to hopefully snatch a win against a hopefully tiring 3rd pair. However, holiday hangovers were starting to show in the scorelines; The two Richards going down 15 & 8 against an Abbeydale pair who kept improving all match, and it was one rubber too far for Max & Harry who battled valiantly for a perfect 3-0 night but lost in two as well. It started promisingly for Andrew & Dave, taking the first end 21-17, and a win looked likely. But Abbeydale picked themselves up and a nervy second end went point for point. A little injection of energy and pace would probably have sealed the match, but eventually tiredness took its toll and although matched up at 20-20, the last two points went Abbeydale’s way. In to the 3rd end the wobbly legs were really starting to make life difficult and eventually Andrew & Dave could do no more, losing to 15, sending the match Abbeydale’s way.
Another close fought battle, and more praise from Abbeydale. Unlucky not to take one of the two matches against them, but lots of positives to take. Man of the Match goes to Max again for great heart and patient play.