Mixed vs Phoenix, 3 May 2013

Phoenix 3 – 6 Mixed

Anne B & Simon T | Calvin B & Morag D | Aaron G & Cheryl S

The final match in an unusually successful season for the mixed team saw them away in Phoenix’s gravel bunker.  The home match in April had seen a narrow victory for Oakbrook, led by Tipue and Sarah, neither of whom were playing today.  Like today, captain Simon O was unavailable and Simon T took the reins for the night.

So without our captain and last-time’s star players, the team looked to the only regular mixed-team pairing, Anne and Simon, to lead them down the path of victory.  Despite the challenging nature of the courts, Simon claims always to play well at Phoenix, and today was no exception with a far higher percentage of shots in the court than usual and his crazy scrape-it-off-the-floor-backhand shot working a treat.  Anne’s excellent reactions and shot placement from the front, along with many winners off return of serve, helped them to their best performance this year.  They recorded the best figures from an Oakbrook mixed pairing, taking all three games in straight sets against a Phoenix opposition that weren’t quite on their best form.  Though having given Anne the scorecards, I can’t now remember exactly what those scores were.

Calvin and Morag were finding things a little tougher, with close games always just going the way of the opposition, the closest being a 17-21 loss in the third end.  The advantage of knowing your partner well was showing at times, with Phoenix’s regular pairings at times holding a tactical advantage over Calvin and Morag who were a little irregular in comparison as a partnership, despite many good individual shots.

Aaron and Cheryl therefore needed to put in a winning performance if we were to take the match.  Their powerful shots and quick movement gave them an edge over their opposition, and they were able to use this advantage to win their first two games.  With the match now won, they dallied a bit on the final game of the night, taking it to three games, and allowing the third end to turn into an epic.  Aaron was the ‘personification of calm and tranquility’* as he fought for the final few points, a 16-21, 21-19, 27-25 victory completing their three wins of the evening.

So overall a 6-3 victory for the mixed team.  Thanks to Morag, Cheryl and Aaron for stepping in to replace Joan, Sarah and Simon – not the first time our substitutes have proven pivotal to our victory.

Despite being beaten every single match for the last four seasons, Oakbrook’s mixed team have always felt they weren’t far short of the mixed division standard, and this has been proven this year.  Although still losing to the established mixed teams again, they have beaten the new teams to the division – New Embers and Phoenix – both home and away this year in close-fought games, to finish the season with statistics of Played 8, Won 4, Lost 4, For 31, Against 41.  That puts them mid-table, third out of five in the tiny five-team mixed league.  Hopefully more teams will want to join the mixed league as it is a shame for the mixed fans that the combined leagues are so much larger.

*this may be a lie

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