Mixed vs Phoenix, 9 April 2013

Mixed 5 – 4 Phoenix

Joan H & Simon T | Sarah R & Tipue M A | Sue P & Calvin B

With captain Simon O on holiday, the honour of captaining Oakbrook’s least successful team in history passed to Simon T.  Although still rooted to the bottom of the Mixed league, Oakbrook have won their first ever game this season, and against Phoenix we were looking for our first win against a team that had actually brought three pairs with them.

Sarah and Tipue started very quickly, racing to a 21-12, 21-9 victory over their second pair, while Joan and Simon also came out winners of a close 21-17, 21-17 game against their first pair.  Sue and Calvin started well winning their first end 21-17, but ultimately came out the wrong way after a close three-setter.

So 2-1 up after the first games, it was looking to be as close a game as it always is when Oakbrook play Phoenix.  Sarah and Tipue were out to get the most from their match fee, and showed Joan and Simon what ‘close’ really meant, by coming out winners against their first pair 21-23, 24-22, 21-17.  Sue and Calvin made a respectable but unsuccessful score against their second pair with a number of interesting parrot-like squawks from Calvin as he saw the shuttle land just out of his reach one or two times too many.  Joan and Simon looked to have settled into winning ways with a straightforward two-set win against their third pair.

Now 4-2 up after the second round of games, we only needed one more victory to come out winners.  Sue and Calvin had the first shot, but against their first pair this was always going to be a challenge, and so it was, 16-21, 17-21 still being a good score to finish their evening.  Joan and Simon had won both their previous games in straight sets, and were up against the pair that Sarah and Tipue had already beaten to 12 and 9 earlier in the evening.  Confident of victory, they went into a 12-3 lead in the first game, after which something went a little wrong… whether it was tiredness, complacency, or a sudden burst of excellence and clever tactics from their opponents, no-one knew for sure, but the result was that although hanging onto that first game they lost the next two: 21-11, 21-23, 17-21 being the outcome.  With Joan and Simon slipping up, it fell to Sarah and Tipue to see us through to victory against their third pair.  So it was all looking to have ended badly when they lost the first game.  Perhaps sensing that it was coming down to them to decide the match, they improved from then on, and in the end made it look relatively easy, finishing 17-21, 21-14, 21-7.

A final score of 5-4, and a very rare win for the mixed team.  Simon puts it down to his excellent captaincy despite the fact his less-than-excellent playing at the end nearly cost them the match, and says that he will refuse ever to captain the mixed team again now in order to maintain his 100% winning record.  Many thanks to our substitutes, Tipue and Sue, for covering for Simon O and Anne.  That might even raise us off the bottom of the league for the first time in five years!

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