Colebridge Aces v St George’s C
Colebridge Aces played host to fellow title contenders St George’s C in Leamington Division 1 on Thursday 8th November. Aces fielded Ian Ferguson, Michael Browne and Kate Hughes, whilst St George’s C had the vastly experienced and highly rated Steve Silk, along with Leamington newcomer and England rated star Miles Chan. Something had to give as both Fergie and Chan had 100% records leading up to the match, so could the newly rated Leamington number 3 Chan end Leamington’s number 1 Ferguson’s perfect record?
The first match of the night saw Chan take on Warwickshire veteran Browne. In an extremely tight game that ebbed and flowed, experience seemed to be the getting the upper hand as Browne cruised to the first end 11-7, only for youthful exuberance to come storming back as Chan took the 2nd and 3rd sets 11-7 respectively. Browne then showed just why he is still a player to be feared locally as he dusted himself off and with a combination of slow loops, mixed in with his trademark forehand kill, looked to have turned the match around as he stunned the youngster winning the 4th end 11-5. Chan however showed excellent composure for one so young and continued with his tactics that had served him so well in the 2nd and 3rd sets, attacking anything that came long and with the scores at 8-8 in the decider, it was far too difficult to call a winner. However, surprisingly it was Chan who won the next three points to win an excellent opening game of the evening and give S. George’s C the early lift they needed having only 2 players.
Ian Ferguson stepped up next for the Aces against Steve Silk and showed how he is still a top class player, demonstrating powerful shots on both wings, commanding the rallies and being in full control of the match. It was a superb performance beating Silk 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 and brought St Georges C quickly down to earth following the euphoria after Chan’s victory over Browne.
Kate then lost 3-0 to Chan in a score line that didn’t tell the full story as Leamington’s top female player was 10-6 up in the 3rd end only for the umpire to call a controversial ‘let’ at 10-9 that Hughes had won. Unfortunately Hughes appeared to struggle from this point on, losing her focus and Chan took full advantage to win the next 2 points and secure his second win of the evening.
Next was the turn of the two County veteran stars; Browne v Silk. Warwickshire’s Browne appeared to still be suffering the after effects of his mighty tussle with Chan, as Silk took the first two ends with relative ease. Browne tried valiantly to turn the tide by winning the 3rd end after being 7-1 down, but a lacklustre performance in the 4th, saw Silk cruise to a 3-1 victory and give the pair from St Georges their 3rd point of the night.
Next up was the main event of the evening. With Chan looking to take Fergie’s crown, it was in fact the Warwickshire Captain who made the biggest statement of the night with a 3-0 demolition of the talented youngster. Despite Chan showing glimpses of what he could produce, nothing the youngster threw at Fergie fazed him in the slightest and Ian took the first end 11-7. However, this was to be Chan’s highest score line in an end against Leamington’s number 1 as Fergie appeared to have gear after gear and cruised through the next two sets 11-5, showing exactly why he has been the dominant force in Warwickshire for over two decades. The rest of the players, including Alan Hewitt (Aces squad member recovering from a knee injury) and umpire Inky Moss, enjoyed watching Ian play with such dominance and commented on what they called a ‘vintage’ display, to continue his 100% winning record.
Hughes then had the chance to secure the victory for Aces as she faced a resurgent Silk following his wonderful display against Browne. Hughes, still smarting from her 3-0 loss to Chan, never looked like troubling the classy Silk, and appeared to be battling with herself more than her opponent as she repeatedly berated herself for unforced errors and poor shot selection. Silk was an easy winner, simply by keeping the ball on the table and allowing Hughes to self destruct.
An inspired Fergie then teamed up with Browne in the last match of the evening that had taken on added importance as it would determine if the match was to be a draw or a 6-4 victory for the Aces. Despite St Georges C having a formidable team in the guise of Chan and Silk, it was Fergie who appeared to be hitting winner after winner and secure the overall 6-4 win for the Aces winning 11-3, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9.
St George’s C with only two players had pushed Aces all the way and their performance arguably warranted a deserved win. However there was always going to be a stumbling block.....Jan Ove Ferguson!!! ( has Ian written these ? - Ed. ) However, with an inspired Fergie in such ruthless form, it was always going to be a huge task to get anything out of him. With two wins a piece though, Chan and Silk had earned their side some invaluable points in what is arguably the hardest venue to get anything from...Colebridge’s Theatre of Dreams.