Pre-season friendly match report

Inter-League Pre-Season Friendly - Bury Sugar v Ipswich Ravens

19th August 2015 - Bob Harman

Tripping The Light Fantastic? No more tripping in the hall...and all in all a fantastic night!

Stella - or should that be Stellar in this instance - our much revered and respected head honcho behind the bar at the Bury Sugar Club, decreed recently ‘There will be light’ and there was light, a veritable universe embedded in the main hall ceiling, like a mini Milky Way - Sir Patrick would definitely have approved, and so did we.
Whether this new feast of light was as a direct result of a three-peat of wins for Stella’s Sugar Boys in the Bury TTL Div 1, I’m not sure, but at least we no longer have to stumble & fumble in the corners away from the lone spotlight over the table that used to make defending a truly dark and difficult deed.

Plastic Fantastic? Don't you miss that smell from the old broken balls...and setting fire to them as a kid was kinda fun

A new era was born, both in this the first of a twin set of friendly challenge matches and of course the use of plastic balls in anger for the first time.
A handy pre-season rust-removal exercise for both teams, with matches being played both home and away. This new match concept is the innovation of Will Hall, who proudly swings both ways - up and down the A14 – as he turns out for both teams in our respective leagues.
However, Will did find scoring the opening gig rather difficult as ‘them and us’ seemed to be a matter of serious confusion to him as he called the score more often wrong than right in the opening match between Sean Gridley and Bob Harman. A good battle ensued which saw Sean led 2-1 in sets before Bob bounced back to see off the dude from Debenham 3-2.
Will then made it 2-0 for Sugar seeing off the talented and tricky leftie Sonja Talbot in 4 close sets, it wasn't an epic for sure this one, two styles that didn't gel at all, it happens...

Football Fantastic? Mourinho madness, we’ll have the Doc in our dug-out anytime!

It was then the turn of Forest fan Mark James to see off the challenge of Chelsea nut Colin Bennett. Mark was looking in good nick for this first game having spent a summer bowling most nights and Colin looking equally tanned and ready to rumble having spent his summer nights on the tennis court. Three close high quality sets all went Mark’s way, with Colin’s high risk backhand flick not quite seeing him over the line in a titanic first leg that Mark shaded 13-11, which set him on the road to victory.

Chairman Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy? Wonder if Phil is an Elton John fan...

That was the last we would see of Mark on court, as our Chairman and former Sugar stalwart Phil Sinclair, in a pre-planned subbing move, stepped in for Mark in his final two singles matches, as Mark sensibly didn’t want to overdo things, not having practiced ping all summer.
Two further straight sets wins saw the Sugar Boys pull away to a 5-0 lead, before Phil - also a regular on the bowls summer scene with Mark - lost a close encounter with Sonja 11-7 in the fifth which got Ravens off the mark for the night.
Colin then saw off Will 3-1 in arguably the best match of the evening, with some exciting and long rallies, to make the score 5-2. Next match up saw Sean beat Phil 3-1 in a topsy-turvy match in terms of scores to close the gap to 5-3, before Bob maintained his 100% record on the night when just prevailing 3-2 in a tight tussle with Sonja to make the final score 6-3 to Sugar.
A great evening wasn’t about to end there…

Food Fantastic? No time for any doubles as the smell of cooked food wafted across the court...a night of firsts continued as the teams enjoyed a late night supper together in the club bar.

Not sure about the rather pallid-looking sausages, the chips were fab though and lashings of tomato sauce happily masked whatever flavour the former were meant to be – dunno what Heston would have made of them…
Supper safely demolished and washed down with a few pints, there was even time for a football quiz that Mark won hands down!

Curry Fantastic? Definitely not, Mr Masala…

The much anticipated return leg is in Ipswich in two weeks’ time, when Will swings the other way again and Sugar’s Dom ‘Masala’ Melero enters the fray, fresh and revitalised from a Spanish holiday having no doubt consumed plenty of paella over in Benidorm.
It’s a fact that Dom’s favourite food in this country is undoubtedly his beloved curry, as we all have discovered to our detriment over the years on match nights – it was only fair to warn the visiting innocents from Ipswich what to expect on the evening after the meal before...

Author: via Bury St Edmunds Table Tennis League
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