Crowthorne Mixed 2 vs Bisham Mixed 2 – by Alison Nicholson
The forecast for Saturday 29 July was truly terrible and so we were grateful when Bisham suggested we change this fixture to be played at Bisham on their indoor courts at the National Sports Centre. And at least we did get the match played, though I think we were a little less grateful by the end of the afternoon, having lost 1-3!
The courts, whilst offering a true bounce and being kinder on the old knees, were very slow and took a while (a long while, possibly three sets!) to get used to. So Mike Smith and Alison Nicholson, playing as Crowthorne’s No 1 pair, never really got going against a very strong Georgie Parry and her partner Norman Bhargava, and lost 1-6 2-6. On the other court, Tina Stern and Stuart Fowler had a more competitive match vs the opposition’s no 2s, Marjorie Habgood and Roger Keeley, but still lost 2 and 4. At half-time Crowthorne were 2 rubbers down, feeling rather hot and sticky in the airless building and rather frustrated with the game. The second rubber for Tina and Stuart looked to be going OK; they lost the first set 3-6, but, even so, better than Alison and Mike has done. But then Tina turned an ankle and was unable to put weight on it, and, although the pair battled on, the set was lost to 0.
The match was thus comprehensively won by Bisham who were now 3 rubbers to 0; but at this point, Alison and Mike, having lost the first set 0-6 against Hapgood and Keeley and 0-2 down in the second, suddenly seemed to be able to judge the ball and gradually resumed their normal game! They managed to get to 6 all, and won the second set tie break to 1. Had the Bisham pair stopped caring, as the match was won anyway, and this was a dead rubber? Possibly, but they seemed more determined in the final tie break decider, and had a match point to take it. But Alison and Mike held on at match point down to level at 9-9 and, after changing ends, won the next 2 points to take it 11-9. So at least the team had some satisfaction from a rather dreary afternoon, if only to see the look on Marjorie’s face as she lost the final point! Moral of the story – think twice before playing indoors! And let’s hope Tina’s ankle recovers quickly.