Winter League – Totteridge III v West Heath

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This was The Heathens’ second trip “oop North” London to Totteridge in this league, having played their fourth team back in the midsts of 2016. Talking of midsts, the conditions were certainly misty. We had the pleasure, perhaps a surreal one, of warming-up to the sounds of bagpipes which were sufficiently distant to be inoffensive.

To avoid any slippery problems with likely formation of ice, we played the match on their artificial clay courts. Although one couldn’t really see the service or baselines, it made for better tennis than slipping around on greasy tarmac. The mist gave it a certain ambience, and the temperature made it really quite cold.

Greg and James got off to a strong start and won the first set 6-0 before a Classic Wobble pushed the scores up to 2-2 in the second set. Banana, Lucozade and some kind of almond/apricot/yogurt bar to the rescue, the CW was sent packing and the rest of the games were snapped up. Meanwhile, Tim and Marcio (salve, Marcio) had made lighter work on the neighbouring court and won 6-1 6-1. Whilst Greg and James were in their second set tussle, on the neighbouring court the teams had been mixed up for a friendly game of Social Tennis.

The second rubber got underway with each Heathen pair losing just the one game in the two sets. Greg and James lost theirs in the first set, Tim and Marcio in the second. Greg’s losing streak is at least consistent – he has lost 3 games in his previous three winter league matches.

Following the completion of the match, we were treated to a warming supper in the clubhouse. We thank Totteridge for their hearty food, company and sportsmanship. The next match, against Elmwood II, is scheduled for the following week. Hopefully Tim’s and Greg’s trip to Mallorca and 10 days of consecutive tennis will put them in fine fettle for the showdown between the top two teams.

Winter League – Mercury v West Heath

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2017, League

2017-01-21 14.53.24

Saturday is an unusual time for a winter league match. But a welcome one, as it meant we played in the glorious, if not blazing, sunshine. Mercury were our opponents, who had very hospitably provided hot beverages to those members of the travelling team who arrived at the designated hour. The captain, as usual, was a few minutes late so missed out on a cuppa.

But to the tennis. The sunglasses were deployed, in conjunction with multiple layers and even pants. Tim, however, hard man that he is, has no pants, so shuddered his way through the warmup until his springy legs had stoked his own internal flames.

Greg and James got off to a flying start, by winning the first 6 games and the set. The Classic Wobble at the beginning of the second set materialised, and combined with some spirited play from Mercury, the score got to 2-2 in the second set. Then probably 3-3 before the wobble was dispatched for the final 3 games, to record a 6-0 6-3 result. Tim and Sam were exceedingly clinical in their match on the neighbouring court. They romped through both sets dropping only a single game, to win 6-0 6-1.

The second rubber for Greg and James was a little more comfortable than the first. No games were dropped for a double bagel serving up 6-0 6-0. Tim and Sam started their match strongly, winning the first 6-3. The second could have been as simple, but there is always room for a Classic Wobble. Trailing by 4 games in the second (I think), they produced an exceedingly dogged fightback to win 6-4.

Many thanks to Mercury for your hosting, graciousness and post-match refreshments. It was a charming way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.

2017-01-21 14.53.20

Winter League – Totteridge IV v West Heath

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League

mafourca

The men’s Middlesex Winter League got off to a flying start against Totteridge’s fourth team on Tuesday 25th October. The awesome foursome on court were Tim, Sam and Greg and James. The four traveled to Totteridge with a week of clay court tennis behind them; some benefitted from the practice, whilst others found that their shoulders made noises that weren’t there before.

Either way, the West Heath pairings got off to comfortable starts after gradually adjusting to the Totteridge tarmac. Messrs Luscious and Leftover started with a 6-0 6-0 double bagel, which was matched by Messrs Leftie and Languid. With the travelling contingent of fans staying for a while to shake a few pompoms, there was an appreciable rise in standards from both pairings (and even a successful interception at the net from James).

The second rotation of pairings was a little less comfortable for Greg and James, with a few more deuces than they would have cared for. However, they still managed to win all the games and in doing so recorded a quadruple bagel. Sam and Tim struggled perhaps a little more with adjusting to the dropping temperatures. They ended the evening well, in spite of a mini-blip at the beginning; nonetheless they triumphed 6-3 6-0 in the end. That wrapped up a 16-0 victory for the Heathens.

Thanks must be extended to our opponents, who were most graceful in the absence of any charitable play. The evening’s refreshments and chit chat were excellent and enjoyable. The nether reaches of northern Middlesex were highly hospitable; our next fixture takes us slightly further nether-wards to Ravenscroft in 5 weeks.

Men’s II v Finchley Manor IV

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The second team’s last fixture of the season was an away match against Finchley Manor IV. With WHII already confirmed as league winners, the pressure was somewhat reduced amongst the ranks. We were delighted to introduce two new players of the game we love to play into the team for our final match. Salve! to young Joseph and salve! to Paul, an erstwhile second team captain himself. So whilst specifically not new this year, Paul was making his 2016 debut. He was paired with the steady, and reliably late, Marcio for the evening, whilst Philip was tasked with guiding Joseph through the travails of the fifth division. The pairings were completed by Greg and James, both still somewhat smarting since their poor showing in the WH men’s doubles final.

All three pairings got off to, quite frankly, terrible starts*. Joseph and Philip were up against the difficult first pair. They performed valiantly, and a little nervously, but lost 6-4. Meanwhile, Paul and Marcio were also struggling against the third pair who were dogged and troublesome. Both had good ground strokes but also some excellent and clinical volleying. The clay surface favours longer rallies, so their third pair’s ability to intercept and volley the ball to safety was a potent weapon. Finally, Greg and James were going toe-to-toe against the second pair. Suffering from the well-documented macaroni cheese withdrawal symptoms, James was carried quite considerably by Greg. With the score line marching inexorably towards a tie break, it was at 4-5 on the FM serve that server’s and partner’s game went off frequency. After a series of deuces, a smash was delivered with considerable gusto to James’s feet. Getting a racket to the ball, the backspin-laden ball rose like some kind of a bird into the air. Coming down, the ball bounced on the other side of the net right next to the FM player. Due to the backspin, the ball leapt up and crossed back to the WH side. Seemingly a simple reach-over-and-put-away-kind-of-a-shot, the FM player came over all static. Gifting the point to Greg and James, it is somewhat an understatement to say that his partner was not best pleased. With a request to replay the point falling on deaf/incredulous ears, the Heathens took the next point and the set 6-4.

The second round of matches was as difficult for the Heathens as the first. The FM first pair were just too strong for Paul and Marcio, although they were certainly warming to the task. The same was true for Joseph and Philip. And as Greg was enforcing maltloaf rations at each change of ends, James was finally beginning to work a little better. By talking the second set 6-3, The Lovely Samantha informed the masses that the half-way aggregate score was 8-4 in favour of Finchley Manor. As they needed only 10 points to ensure a second place league finish and promotion, they certainly seemed on course as the minute waltz of the second round faded into the background.

But West Heath are a force to be reckoned with; it is not for no reason that league victory was secured with a match to spare. A fight back was inevitable, as the Heathens take nothing but beer and grapes lying down.

Talking about beer, James’s and Greg’s minds were finally focussed. With the maltloaf and banana deficits destroyed (and hesitation removed), it must be said that the first pair were performing unequivocally quite well. Greg is known for his pithy one-liners (to say nothing of his innuendo), and his favourite of the night was about “it being much easier to lead from the front”. Much like The Lovely Samantha had done the night before, Greg was bashing balls around with pin-point abandon. It left the first seeds on the right side of a 6-2 6-1 tour de Finchley. From a personal perspective, it left the pairing unbeaten in Middlesex for two years.

On the spectators’ benches there was a vociferous contingent from West Heath, and much of their attention was, perhaps quite rightly, directed to Joseph’s and Philip’s efforts on the far court. Having got off to a nervy start in the first two rubbers, they put their troubles behind them and were entirely relentless in their play. The FM 3rd pair, after the match, were full of praise for their serving, volleying, and ability to put the ball out of reach. To the sound of applause and whooping from the bench of travelling WH supporters, Philip and Joseph did a demolition job to win 6-2 6-0.

Paul’s and Marcio’s collective fortunes were also on the up. Tim had taken it upon himself to, from the side-lines, give them a talking to, and for once it may actually have worked. The second pair’s play improved a lot, and whilst it would be injudicious (and incorrect) to attribute the performance increase to Tim’s pep talk, it might be noted that perhaps we have found a use for WHII’s Mr Petulant as a motivational speaker. Those at the club’s tournament week must certainly be aware of his storytelling prowess in relation to the curious incident of the brother and the beard. Tim’s intervention notwithstanding, the second pair took their sets 6-2 6-1 in the kind of form reminiscent of last year’s season ending match when they were cohabiting a court in blissful harmony.

With all of the final round sets going the West Heath way, Samantha choked back, amongst other stuff, her surprise that the score had flipped from 4-8 to 16-8. The final round performance had sealed FM to a third successive third place finish in Division 5; in their stead Brondesbury take second place (by a single point) in the Division and, with it, promotion next year. The Lovely Samantha is looking forward to playing with their balls next year!

The post-match friendlies were taken in good sprits, in spite of FM’s understandable rueful disappointment at being so close to securing promotion. To their exceptional credit, they put it behind them (only mentioning it once or twice more) and hosted a most marvellous end of season meal. Their chef served up some excellent and plenteous Thai food, which was supplemented with a bit of beer and plenty of “banter”.

So as the tennis ball of destiny slams into the clay court ball mark inspection of inevitability, the 2016 summer league draws to a close. It has been a rip-roaring encounter, and a pleasure to organise such an august body (careful, Samantha) into another league-topping performance. Many thanks to all of you for playing, for reading, for cooking (Marjan!), and for supporting. So, until next year and the heady heights of the Middlesex Summer League North East Division 4! Hurrah!

 


* Some of this may be attributable to the not so sterling team talk delivered by the captain. For the first time this season, a pre-match team talk was requested. As there was no pressure for results, the captain told his team to go and have fun. Clearly this wasn’t sufficiently motivating.

Men’s II v Templars

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The Tuesday evening fixture against Templars was always going to be interesting. At not quite the last minute, Philip, the team’s Templar’s bête noire, decided that his physical fitness wasn’t high enough to compete at Templars. Instead, the eminent Takuya was drafted in as his highly capable replacement. He was paired for the evening with Sam in the third pairing; perhaps an oddity that both are full time Templars members themselves. Marcio and Tim, the latter of whom causes the Captain such headaches with his “who’s with who” petulance, made up the first pair to give them much needed tournament practice and also the desired challenge against the tough Templars first pair. Greg and James were happy to cede the first pairing due to their not insignificant dislike of the Templars courts.

The weather itself has become a continuous theme this year. The heavy rains during the day resulted in watery courts, but the evening thankfully brought no further showers. Greg ensured himself an early win by gambling with Edward (a former WHII denizen) that the match would go ahead; Greg knows perfectly well that the captain does not favour rearrangements.

With the first, second and third WH pairs lined up and ready to face the opposition, the first job was to get the opponents in right place as well. Having finally succeeded in a new game of Musical Courts, Greg and James got off to a quick start and provided their third pair with nothing but a bagel. Upon asking Tim how the first pair were progressing (against their 2nd), to not inconsiderable surprise, Tim stated that the score was a mere 2-1 due to rather an epic game. Just as an FYI, 18-deuce games are not encouraged; thankfully for Tim and Marcio they came out on the right side of the advantages to win the game and then the set 6-2. Meanwhile, Sam and Takuya were making a good meal from their efforts against Templar’s first pair. Some excellent shots, from both pairs, were easily observed during James’ and Greg’s lengthy observation round. The Heathens put in a good effort, but ultimately succumbed to the strong pair recording a 3-6 loss.

The second round saw Tim and Marcio take on the third pair. They demonstrated that Greg and James were provided with no fluke score line, serving up a bagel themselves. It gave them plenty of opportunity for them to watch James and Greg take on the strong Templars first pair. Keen observers of the Middlesex Tennis Summer League North East Division 5 would have noted that this was an important rubber as both pairs had won every set that they played together. There was a lot riding on this match, and there could only be one winner. That’s the way the scoring in tennis works.

Greg and James got off to a good start by breaking the Templars coach, with the first point of the game setting the tone. Greg returned excellently to stun the opponents with a perfectly crafted point. As the Heathens changed ends they were pumped up and ready for a fight back. The second game was a protracted affair with many deuces on the Greg serve; the Heathens prevailed to consolidate the break. Templars put their feet down in the next two games and the Heathens found themselves back at 2-2 with the coach serving. He made no mistakes during his second service game and they took a 3-2 lead. The change of ends brought the best out in Greg and he dutifully held the game to level the set. Another break for West Heath against the (slightly) weaker Templars serve gave James the opportunity to serve for a 5-3 lead. With some skidding serves, fabulous forehands and versed volleys James and Greg conspired to hold the game and leave the Templars pair to opportunity to serve to stay in the rubber. At 15-30, James got the rub of the net with a thick net cord to set up two set points. Duly taken, the Heathens came out on top with a 6-3 victory. It was a highly enjoyable fixture to play, with plenty of solid rallies, and good sportsmanship.

Whilst all that was going on, Sam and Takuya faced off against the tricky second pair. They traded games all the way through but unfortunately couldn’t hang on to a 6-5 lead at the bitter end. The fixture was tied at 6-6; with no tie break, the protagonistic pairs claimed a single point each.

The final round of rubbers saw Sam and Takuya take on the third Templars pair. In the first of two sets they came out on the other side of a 6-5 lead and avoided the draw with a 7-5 score line. In the second set they put their feet down (carefully though, to avoid slipping) and made easier work of it. A 6-3 score meant that the third pair contributed a hefty 5 points to the WH total. This is a strong showing for a third pair, as a season can be made or broken by their results.

Tim and Marcio took up the baton against the first pair. Clearly spurred on by the tour de force of Greg and James, with a proven lefty/righty combination, they advanced the scoreboard to 5-5. A bizarre interlude followed, where the Heathens confirmed that tie breaks are neither played at 5-5 nor 6-6 in this league. WH were not deterred by this incident and cooly claimed a point with a 6-6 first set score line. The second set had the potential to be another proper ding-donging humdinger; Templars had other ideas. They were the Murray to West Heath’s Tsonga in the 2016 Wimbledon Quarter Finals. No mistakes in the final set resulted in a perhaps unfair 1-6 score on the door.

Greg and James were making hard work of their final match, and from a dominant position in the first set their backs were up against the wall. James was missing volleys and Greg took a fall on the courts. With a badly twisted ankle, the prospects were not good. Greg, however, continued gamely on, and found himself serving at 4-5. Having drastically adapted his service motion to feature exactly no jumping (and the painful landing), he was not helped by some wayward volleying from James. Serving at 30-40, this was the first set point that they’d been on the wrong side of in two years. Having come so far without losing, Greg and James dug deep to see out the service game and level the set. A break against the Templars serve spun the set back around, and with Greg’s ankle limbering up a little, James had the opportunity to serve for the set. Duly taken to win the first set 7-5, they were in no mood for falling at this particular hurdle. In the second set at 3-1 they managed to break again for a hopefully decisive three-game margin. Greg served with his feet firmly on the floor for a 5-1 lead, and Templars held the subsequent game to give James the opportunity once more to serve for the set. A mercifully straightforward game, topped off beautifully at 40-0 with an ace out wide. A highly enjoyable way to win a set, and maintain the unbeaten streak with a 6-2 victory.

It was a tough evening of tennis, from which West Heath emerged 18-6 victors. Congratulations to both teams for a hard-fought contest and an enjoyable evening with perhaps two of the largest pizzas available in north west London. Philip’s persona non grata status was discussed just a couple of times, as was the impending (or not) predicament facing the Templars members in the near-ish future.

The result leaves WH guaranteed a top-two finish this season (unless the Captain’s done the maths wrong), and only 3 points required for a mathematically certain 1st place (ditto). The team’s final match against Finchley Manor is an away fixture on July 25th, against the only other team with a prospect of winning the league (and promotion hopes of their own no doubt).

We are looking forward to the season finale!


Update

With Finchley Manor only achieving a 15-9 victory over Brampton III this week, this leaves them unable to top the division as they have two games to play and are more than 48 points behind. It confirms that West Heath II are, for the second year in a row, the Divisional Champions. The race is very much on for second place: Brondesbury, Totteridge and Finchley Manor could all scoop the second spot and with it promotion to Division 4.

Men’s II v Totteridge III

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

Monday 4th July was arguably the second team’s most eagerly anticipated match for two reasons. Firstly it was against the team’s main rivals – Totteridge III – who are currently lying in second position in the league. Secondly, but more significantly, it was the team’s only opportunity to play on the grass, with the previous two home matches having been relocated; one to the hard courts and the other to the opposition’s club.

Two of the team’s regular players were missing with James calling the lines at Wimbledon and Philip recovering from a mysterious operation. James therefore drafted in two of West Heath’s more experienced players, both former captains of the second team, Jeff Fine and Mark Webb. The puzzle of the pairings however caused James a bit of a headache as most of the team were nervous about the prospect of a friendly summer evening of tennis turning into an inevitable series of squabbles over line calls. So James wisely decided to partner Jeff with the Sam, the only person that had never met him. That left the undefeated Greg to partner the always steady Mark Webb in the second pairing. The first pair consisted of Marcio partnering Tim, a previously untested partnership (some suspect that James is keen to prevent them from having too much practice together in advance of the summer tournament).

In a match that seemed to last for well over an hour Greg and Mark narrowly lost out 5-7 to Totteridge’s strong first pair. Jeff was cool calm and collected in their first set against the Totteridge second pair and with Sam serving nicely they managed to pick up 2 points for West Heath. Despite some nervy play at times, Marcio and Tim managed to hold things together to win their first set 6-1; a scoreline that was flattering with all things considered.

In the second round of matches Greg and Mark picked up 2 points for WH winning 6-3. Jeff and Sam played some good tennis but lost to the first pair and Marcio and Tim started to find their game, winning 6-2.

In the final round Mark was playing very consistent groundstrokes and Greg demonstrated why he’s currently the MVP in Middlesex Men’s NE Division 5. They easily won 6-0, 6-3. Marcio and Tim saved the best till last and pulled out 2 sets of glorious tennis, much to the delight of the growing crowd, 6-2, 6-2 the result. The most intriguing match up however was between the 3rd pairs: a pair that Jeff had previous history with. Having already played 2 sets on his best behaviour it was only a matter of time before Jeff’s patience would begin to wane. No-one quite knows what happened but line calls were challenged, an offer to play a let was refused and at one point Totteridge were even called up for foot faulting (on a serve that was out anyway). After a sustained period of arguing heard by most of Hampstead it felt like the tennis may get in the way of a good old fashioned punch up. In the end the first set was shared 6-6 after Jeff managed to get under his own skin and serve 3 double faults. However the emotions were channelled more effectively in the final set and West Heath sealed the final set with another 2 points to wrap up the tie 19-5 and all but guarantee themselves promotion for next season.

Marjan once again pulled out all the stops, cooking a delicious feast that was enjoyed by both teams in what somehow turned out to be a very good natured post match meal, despite the on court shenanigans.

Men’s II v Farm Walk I

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The original fixture was cancelled pre-emptively due to impending weather. The rearranged fixture was moved to Farm Walk to take advantage of their more-weather courts. Their hospitality and welcome was well received by all of the West Heath team.

However, the weather wasn’t quite what was planned. The optimists among us (i.e. the two captains) were adamant that the fixture could start at 7pm prompt. After all, that was what the weather forecasts forecasted. However, à la Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic in 2001, the stop-start nature of the match (“why are we playing in this!”) was doing little to keep toys in prams and tempers unfrayed. Some rain later, the actors returned to their courts’ centres and managed to complete the full four sets before the impending darkness swallowed man and ball to the NW11 night.

The rain and delays clearly caused some trouble to The Heathens. James and Greg struggled to a 3-3 position in the first set against the third pair before the last of the rain delays. Upon resumption, they got their act together to win the next triumvirate of games and take the set 6-3. The first pair of Philip and Marcio struggled against the tough FW 2nd pairing, losing it 2-6. Equally struggling to find their feet were Sam and Tim whose loaf just didn’t rise enough in the end; they went valiantly down 4-6.

For the second round the visitors found their feet with the conditions and produced a performance much more reminiscent of their previous matches. Philip and Marcio baked the first of the evening’s two bagels whilst the other pairings each took their set with a two-to-one game ratio, i.e. 6-3. Crumbs!

Philip and Marcio put in a good effort against the first pair of Theo and John. They took the first set 6-2 but unfortunately could not capitalise on it and succumbed 4-6 in their final set. No such problems for James and Greg who managed a flattering 6-2 6-1 victory, whilst Sam and Tim let slip one game for a 6-1 6-0 bagel-baked finish.

Post match refreshments of beer and pizza went down a treat, and the 18-6 scoreline was just what was kneaded (why not continue the bakery theme). It puts the Men’s II team in a comfortable position at the top of the division. With a cushion of 23 points, the next fixture against the division’s second-placed team may make or break the season for both teams.

Roll on July 4th. Aha!

Men’s II v Brondesbury III

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The weather put a dampener on this fixture, with it being played instead on the hard courts. Whilst the weather wasn’t exactly perfect, it was certainly a relief to complete the fixture’s 12 sets.

James and Greg started out on the reserve court and took a while to find their feet. But find them they did, and recorded a 6-2 start. Meanwhile back at the club Tim and Sam came up against the tricky first pair, but bagged a point for a 6-6 effort. Philip and Takuya, playing his first match this season, got off to a strong start with a 6-2 victory.

The second round of matches produced a clean sweep for the West Heath gentlemen, with 6-3 / 6-2 / 6-3 shorelines recorded (although perhaps some of the set scores make the encounter look a little more one-sided than in reality).

James and Greg’s final round was certainly prefixed with an interesting episode, but it did not fully deter them. They recorded a 6-1 6-3 scoreline, and were certainly made to work for some of the games with some exceptional hustling by Jon.

Sam and Tim did exceptionally well to record a 6-1 6-2 scoreline against the tricky second pair, and Philip and Takuya also performed meritoriously to turn around a first set loss with a convincing final set. Their final score of 5-7 6-1 totalled a good evening for West Heath II. A 21-3 victory sets the team up nicely for the next fixture against a handy-looking Farm Walk.

Thanks also to Marjan for her menu; good food and drink was enjoyed very amicably by both teams after the on-court formalities were completed.

Men’s II v Brampton III

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The second team’s second match was another away fixture at Brampton, against their 3rd team. The match took place directly opposite the sun, which had just about disappeared behind a building in time for the fourth and final set. Even Philip, in spite of his protestations about being too chic for sunnies, was seen sporting a fetching pair.

And a good job it did him and his partner, Dan. The third pair got off to a terrific start, against their 1st pair, by winning the first set without dropping a single game. The rubber came to an end, and was heralded by Dan’s cry of ‘yes!’ as he framed a deft volley away for a winner. Their second rubber was a little less one-sided than the first, but it was taken for West Heath by a score of 6-3. In the final rubber, Philip took a nasty tumble, and grazed his knee on the carpet/sand courts. Nevertheless he soldiered on, and with Dan’s elbow a little ropey since the off, the invalided pairing comfortably closed out the final two sets 6-1 6-1. A loss of just 5 games is an excellent statistic for a previously untested partnership.

In a very much tested partnership, Greg and James were mostly ruthlessly efficient throughout the four sets. Against the third pair they recorded a bagel and were disappointed to lose a game against the first pair. However, James is certainly blaming a little bit of that on the wicked sun. Not sure who Greg is blaming… But in spite of such gut-wrenching disappointment they warmed themselves up after rather a pause and claimed 6 unanswered games against the second pair. Second set languidness prevailed again at the beginning of the final set, but they contrived to close the rubber out 6-0 6-2. It gave them plenty of time to admire, with beer in hand, the other two matches in action. As requested by Marjan (congratulations on the golf!), we stayed on court until the allotted time of 8.30pm to give her time to hotfoot it from Muswell Hill and get the excellent supper on the go.

Marcio was put with the recently recruited Sam, who was making his début. A steady hand to calm the nerves expected from a debutant entering a body as august as the West Heath Men’s II team (NE Division 5 don’t you know!). They got off to an excellent start (like the other two pairs, in fact) and recorded a 6-0 victory against the second pair. They continued well against the third pair and conceded just the one game to win 6-1. They then faced the skilled, if erratic, first pair but prevailed with consistency and flair. Recording a scoreline of 6-2 6-3 they performed as requested from the captain, and continued the winning ways of the first pair.

2016-05-14 13.29.15

The top slot in the second team had been occupied almost exclusively by the Greg/James partnership throughout the 2015 season, and the captain’s relinquishing of it was meditated by having lost to Sam and Marcio in a 5-set thriller on Saturday. It was so thrilling in fact, that the participants had a break for a hasty cup of tea after the first set. This was followed by three more sets, which were then followed by pizzas and more tea. The deciding set, with the 1st pairing up for grabs, was the opening match of the West Heath grass court season. Sam and Marcio prevailed in that deciding final set, and earnt their right for the top spot against Brampton. And well deserved too!

Congratulations to all the team for recording a 24-0 victory. It puts us in an excellent position ahead of what will be a testing encounter against Brondesbury III. We played against their fourth team last season, and now have the pleasure of inviting their third team to play on the grass on June 1st.

Men’s II v UCS Old Boys II

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The men’s second team’s first match of the season was an away fixture against the Old Boys of University College School. The match look place at the UCS playing fields in moderately clement weather with only occasional breezes.

The match was played entirely in good humour, in spite of the unusually sandy courts which both teams took a while to get used to. On the plus side it was easy to see where the balls landed due to the slight eruption from the court.

Philip continued his winning ways (since 2005).
Philip continued his winning ways. (2005)

After a slight tiff the night before, Tim and Philip combined wonderfully on court. They put their differences to one side for the sake of the second team, and recorded an almost faultless performance. They came up against one of this season’s new rules: no tiebreaks at 6-6.

Having been out of action due to shoulder injuries, Marcio made his comeback with Dan. They both performed excellently well – in a previously untried partnership – with Marcio’s serve surprisingly being his most consistent shot in spite of a month of shoulder massages and not raising his arm above the horizontal… They dropped just one set 5-7 against the tricky second pair, but picked themselves up to romp to a 6-3 6-0 victory at the end.

James and Greg started strongly, which was a relief. The first two sets were won with the loss of a single game. The third set was delicately in the balance at 4-4 with opportunities for UCS to steal a march and go 5-4 ahead. Having overcome this little wobble, Greg and James closed it out in typically ruthless style. Beers were waiting.

The second team’s next fixture on May 16th, is another away match, this time against Brampton III.

The league results for all four teams can be seen here.