With second place secured this season by a hefty margin (full End of Season summary to follow in the coming days) we headed into the last match of the season vs relegation candidates, Notts Uni 2.
Prior to the match we were informed that the Uni couldn’t secure a 5-seater car so we should only expect 4 players.
So, with not a lot to play for except pride we lined up as follows:
1. Harry Falconer vs Matt Broadbury
2. Neil Carlin vs Nick Ratnarajah
3. Ryan Bond vs Hayden Tetley
4. Me vs Sam Jones
5. Forfeit to Eastgate
First up the Big’Un took to the court, to play the quite enthusiastic Sam. the 1st was a steady a comfortable 11-8 to me, the 2nd / 3rd were much easier games 11-2 / 11-1 to win fairly easy despite having to contend with Neil Falconer (yes Neil Falconerr) stepping in to mark. It’s fair to say I was on method tonight!
On the other court Bondy clearly had his heart set on a three hour marathon match. Bondy is a bit of a ‘Sam Habergam’ in the Notts Prem (consistent every week) however Neil knew this wasn’t going to be Ryan’s night when he raced out the box in commanding style to take the first 11-3, the 2nd swung back the other way with HT coming back 11-7, Bondy re-asserted his physical prowess in the 3rd to take the game 12-10, before HT came back in the 4th 11-5. Into the 5th neither player wanted to make an error and at one point even Neil Carlin said he was bored (can you believe it!!!). Either way despite Bondy playing some drop shots that appeared to be full length drives he was tea-bagged by Tetley 11-8 (3-2).
On the other court Harry and MB took to the court. Now MB is currently ranked 251 in the world over 100 places higher that Big H so tonight was another tough ask, although Harry has a habit this season of being the best version of himself (That is ….Born in Warwick, Age 18, 6ft 4” 12.5 stone, WR389, stats courtesy of squashinfo.com).
In the first Harry gave MB a little taster of what many players have seen this year taking the first 11-9. Into the 2nd MB got scrappy and disrupted Harry’s rhythm a bit to level the match (11-8). Into the 3rd Harry allowed MB to get to 4-4 then well and truly shifted up a gear to take the 3rd 11-4. Into the 4th MB was back on his method of been a bit awkward before Harry decided to finish things taking the 4th 11-8 and the match 3-1.
Phil Hiatt refereed this one with distinction and you’ll never hear me ‘criticize the referee’ but MB made this a bit tougher than it needed to be!!
So, onto the final match (early night looked on the cards), Neil took to the court vs Nick. Neil dominated the first couple of games to lead before we got to the 3rd (I think it was the 3rd). Neil was well up on match ball * 6 and we’d given Julia the ‘10min food warning only for him to well and truly blow it as he lost the game, further failed match balls happened but fortunately the big man ran out a 3-2 winner. Neil has a habit of winning games in different ways and he showed that skill tonight!!
With the match was sealed with a 4-1 win to Eastgate which leaves us with a record points haul (for us) and likely subjected Uni 2 to relegation. With that we headed the bar for Jck Potato, pie and beans.
We’ve stuck to our beliefs this season and the team have got fitter, tough and mentally stronger as the season has gone on and it feels like a quick end to the season. The team spirit has been great and we’ve pushed DDL hard for the title but they have been too strong this year so congratulations to them!
Signing off for tonight
Chris Martin (influenced somewhat by Mr.Cowley ha ha)
Up the Eastgate