Match Report 1
Last Saturday the Avon County Senior side travelled to Okehampton for the first three matches of the county season. After coming runners-up last season the squad was hopeful for another strong performance. The team included Anthony Kent, Joe Ratajczak, Dave Reeves and Michele Reeves.
The opening match against Cornwall highlighted how tough the division will be. Joe started in fine form against the highly ranked Darren Reed only to miss out 13-11 in the fifth but wins for Dave over Matt Trevorrow (3-1) and Michele, who saved three match points in the fourth, over Kelly Reed (3-2) kept the score close. The much improved Carl Baldry made the difference after he beat Anthony 3-2 and Dave 3-0. A close 3-2 loss for Michele to Rachel Trevorrow meant a 7-3 defeat.
Devon 1sts were relegated from the Premier last season and they proved to be promotion candidates as Avon suffered an 8-2 loss. Dave and Michele had convincing 3-0 wins over Toby Matticott and Naomi Jackson while Dominic Sussex had two close four set wins over Joe and Anthony. Dave also had a tight game with Mike Griffiths and, after fighting back from 10-6 down in the fifth, lost out 13-11. Marketa Myskova gave an excellent display of her trademark defensive skills on her way to beating Michele.
The final match of the day was against Devon 2nds and Avon showed their battling qualities in several close matches. Two narrow four-set wins for Dave over Josh Millman and Ed Haskell showed strategic defence can still overcome topspin. Michele then beat Kelsey Le Maistre 3-0 to avenge the loss from last season. What followed was three 11-9 in the fifth wins which swung the match. Michele took a timely Time Out at 9-5 down in the fifth to Gemma Kerr and then won the next six points! Anthony found his form at just the right time in saving match points against Mike Hugh in the fourth and played superbly to come out on top in a high quality encounter. Then, with the match score at 5-4, Joe took on Josh Millman. The game swung both ways and both players had the lead in the fifth only for Joe to edge out victorious and give Avon a much needed 6-4 win.
The next three matches will be held in January near Southampton and we hope for at least a couple of wins to secure our status in Division 1 for next season.
Match Report 2
Last Sunday the senior side played three matches at Waterside TTC in Southampton, and after one win out of three from the previous day, the team needed at least a win to ensure staying in Division 1.
Surrey 8 Avon 2 - Last season Adam Laws was the Surrey No.1 and he is now playing at No.3 due to Federico Viterbo and Andreas Pusch joining them. This meant Martin Gunn, Anthony Kent and Joe Ratajczak had a tough start to the day with the only win coming from hard bat specialist Martin in five sets over Andreas. Emily Standing also had an excellent five set win against Isobelle Jouber. Nina Kadir, making her debut for the senior side, lost both her games but pushed Isobelle close in four ends.
Sussex 2nds 7 Avon 3 - The quality of the opposition didn't relent in the second match with top vetern Paul Carter beating Anthony and Martin, and Kate Cheer defeating Michele Reeves and Nina. Joe played extremely well to win both his games in the fifth against Harry McCarney and Pedro Santos but any hopes of a draw were dashed when Martin lost 14-12 in the fifth to Harry. Anthony also missed out in the fifth to Pedro.
Hampshire 7 Avon 3 - This was a match which had lots of action and close games and Avon could have got at least a draw had things gone our way. Five matches went the distance of which Michele was the only one to come out on top beating Edyta Schmidt. Anthony missed out against Wozjieck Placek, Emily to Edyta, Michele to Amy Blagbrough and Dave Reeves to Wozjieck. Dave's match with Wozjieck was the classic attacker versus defender encounter and did have a very unusual outcome - all five games went to deuce (12-14, 13-11, 12-14, 12-10, 11-13). With Dave and Joe both beating Ed Slot in four ends this concluded the matches.
We will have to wait and see the final positions in the division, but with one win out of six, the team are in danger of relegation and relying on the results of other matches to stay up. Last season we beat all three counties above by similar scoreline so it shows how the standard of opposition has gone up considerably. Either way we have a strong squad of players and will look forward to next season whichever division it is.