Thurston Vulcans 7-3 Thurstons Spitfires
21/11/2016 - Sean Gridley
The second of the three encounters of the season between the two first division teams was once again a contest to see who is top of the tree at Thurston. An intense but good natured rivalry continues to keep the tension bubbling in this fixture. The Spitfires team included their newest member, the very affable Andy Cullen, a member of the RAF so suited to playing for the Spitfires!
Gordon Meadows faced Andy in the first game of the evening - one of seven matches that would stretch to five games on the night. As one man went to mow a Meadows, Andy found Gordon's open game rather tricky, and whenever Andy seemed to be in a winning position Gordon's excellent and sometimes unpredictable returns managed to win Gordon the honours. After the match I congratulated Gordon on his win, and he revealed that his son, Chris, another RAF man had also beaten Andy. I asked Gordon if two Meadows made a field, he replied "I don't know but I've got a couple of ...."
Sonja Talbot went on to beat Mark Cracknell, the second five game match of the night, at 2 - 1 down Sonja rallied and ran out a comfortable winner against Mark's slow delivery.
Sean "the pub landlord" Gridley then played Colin "Specsavers" Baxter in another five game match. Through a little good fortune and determination Sean was 2 - 1 up, Colin now feeling the pressure had to consult with his team, the meeting was brought to order and after several minutes of rhubarb "the pub landlord" called "time!" on the meeting as the night was already starting to drag on. Unfortunately for Sean, after some puffing and panting at the back of the court in which Colin claimed he felt sick, (whether Sean had worked him too hard or it was the prospect of losing to him we'll never know), Colin had the last orders to win in five.
With three of the five games going to deuce, Andy vs Sonja was an incredibly close affair, both using their topspin to great effect. At 2 - 1 down Sean had a meeting with Sonja and got a taste of his own medicine when Andy called "time!" on his meeting. It probably didn't help but Sonja managed to scrape the win with two more deuce games.
The time was 9.30pm and only four games had been played, as Vulcans were the home team we persuaded the propeller driven Spitfires to play on two tables with reluctance from some of their number. The first two twin table games sped up proceedings somewhat with Colin beating Gordon in three and Sean dispatching Mark in four.
At two nil down Sonja was flagging against Colin, but she must have had some spinach hidden away to draw level against an equally tired looking Colin. Lots of "C'mons" and more puffing from Colin mixed with a few "Good Girl(s)!!" from Sonja, saw Sonja victorious.
Andy and Sean was another five game affair - the first four going to deuce. At the start of the fifth Andy wished Sean luck, Sean reciprocated, but wished he hadn't as Andy won the fifth easily.
Gordon then went on to make mincemeat of Mark in four, after losing the first game he didn't allow Mark more than five points in any of the subsequent three games.
The less seriously they take it the better Sean and Sonja seem to perform as a doubles pairing, but matched against the seemingly serious pair of Colin and Andy they found themselves 2 - 1 down. Some good fortune in the fourth saw them draw level for another five game encounter, it was lottery ticket night for the Vulcans as through a succession of nets and a final winning edge that stalled Spitfire engines they emerged the victors.