Team: Andrew, Jonathan; Richard, Richard, Max, Harry
Player of the match: Richard Grainger
Whilst close losses in the two games against league-leaders Abbeydale were disappointing, Mens 2 at least now knew that the fixtures against the only superior opponents in their league were behind them, and so began at Ecclesfield High School on Monday a run of winnable games to make or break the season.
Ranmoor 2 contained some decent familiar faces for the ex-Sheffield Forum players in the team and their results had been mixed, though their overall number of losses suggested this should be a banker. And so it proved;
Their 1st pair had the technique to cause problems and immediately it was clear that lighting issues in the hall created a definite advantage on one side, sadly not the side that Andrew & Jonathan, and Richard & Richard started on as the first two matches got under way. But the Broomgrove pairs focussed their vision in to the darkness and still ran out winners in the first ends, though Jonathan & Andrew had to work hard to stay in touch then move ahead of their opponents in Match 1. On to the lighter side for both pairs and the difference in light (and quality) shone through, both gaining easier wins to take a 2-0 match lead in straight games.
Max & Harry took to the floor with cautious warnings from their captain in their ears but showed that their eyesight is yet to be ravished by age as they had no problems spotting the gaps and plucking the shuttle out of the air, easily dispatching the Ranmoor 3rd pair. 3-0 Broomgrove.
Andrew & Jonathan faced a 2nd pair who had a right/left hander combination and whilst technically less able than their top pair, caused more tactical problems for the Broomgrove pair as they trailed for the majority of the 1st end, again with the bad light making things tough. Eventually, a late surge pulled Broomgrove through, and again the second end felt easier, although still the tricky 2nd pair would fight until the end. Richard & Richard (Grainger showing great heroics all night with very tired legs from a weekend tournament) completed a routine win against the Ranmoor 3rd pair before Max & Harry took on the Ranmoor 1st pair in a match which on paper looked like it might make the difference between a big win and an absolute whitewash. No need to have been concerned though; Harry & Max continued to show their quality, simply outplaying a 1st pair who were making more mistakes now, too. 6-0 Broomgrove.
The points were in the bag with a 9-0 seeming highly likely, and despite the usual dip from Jonathan & Andrew in their last match against the opponents 3rd pair, they finished strongly in the last end to take it to 7-0 before Richard & Richard earned a hard-fought win to make it 8-0. Into the last game with Max & Harry up against the Ranmoor 2nd pair who had proved problematic all night. This time the Ranmoor pair had enough to take the first end, and nerves were starting to fray on the sidelines – but a quick pep-talk from the captain and a shot of pure Robinsons Orange Squash (and a custard cream each) and the young pair hit straight back with a game to just 6; it was back in the balance. The opponents would not lie down though and the third end went point for point. At around 15-15 the Broomgrove boys pushed hard and eked out a 3 point lead, staying point for point again from there to the finish to secure Mens 2 their first 9-0 of the season!
It called for a selfie.
Man of the Match: By conceding that one solitary game-loss of the night for Broomgrove, Max & Harry gave up what would have easily been the biggest points difference of any of our pairs, but the heart to come back from 1-0 down to secure valuable game-difference was worth ten times that; BUT, I’m going to reward pure quality in the face of incredibly tired legs this time around and award Richard Grainger MOTM. Another brilliant performance again though from all 6 in the Pink & Black…