When any sports season enters the final straight, the opportunities to strike season-defining blows against your rivals start to come thick and fast, and Mens 2 had a chance to inflict a decisive loss against Grenhilheg, who having lost to Abbeydale last week were running out of chances to keep pace at the top.
After a self-proclaimed rotten display at Jaguar earlier in the week, Andrew & Jonathan had a point to prove, and after losing the first end against the Grenhilheg 1st pair they knew it was the time to stand up and be counted. By the time they had taken the second end, elsewhere Richards Clarkson and Grainger had beaten the 2nd pair comfortably, and Max & Harry continued their typically attritional style of Badminton beating the 3rd pair in two ends as well. The third end for Andrew & Jonathan would still be tough work, with Andrew even drawing blood from his shin after stupidly hitting himself with his racket whilst defending against a smash. Like Terry Butcher bravely dragging England to Italia ’90 in blood-soaked bandages all those years ago, Andrew dabbed a little of the excess blood from the graze on his shin before he and Jonathan pulled out some of their best badminton all season to beat a stubborn Grenhilheg 1st pair in three ends. 3-0 Broomgrove.
After that, Andrew & Jonathan were thankful of easier games against the opposition 3rd pair, and Broomgrove’s other two pairs also eased to victory in two ends. In the second round of games, the total points conceded were 24 (Richards), 27 (Max & Harry) and 25 (Andrew & Jonathan). Dominant stuff that took the score to 6-0.
Another vital win, but less expected was the opportunity to build up the game-difference. After their teammates secured two more straightforward wins, Max & Harry found themselves for the second time this season on court last and battling for a 9-0 whitewash! It started well with a single-figure win in the first end (21-9), but the opposition 1st pair had been the most resistant all night, and they refused to let Grenhilheg go down without making a mark on the scorecard. A hard-fought second end went their way, then the third end – nearly point for point up to 15-17 – swung the way of Grenhilheg; two net kills to level the score for the young Broomgrove pair but both flew agonisingly long! From there the opposition 1st pair won a rubber they probably deserved for their mornings efforts on court (but not for their racket throwing), but 9-0 would not have been an unfair result either.
Man of the Match: For anything (if there is anything) that Max & Harry lack in style and technique compared to their teammates and opponents this season, they more than make up for it not just with heart and effort, but with a genuinely effective tactical plan to simply make the opposition move back and forth, side to side until the openings appear. Once again they played it to perfection and (almost) got the wins they deserved. Max can have this one for not hitting a basketball hoop with his racket on this occasion.