Chiefs break ‘The Law’. Match report by Neil Wheatley.
West MidlandsPolice 4, Colebridge Chiefs 6
It was not long after the start of this match that it became obvious that Chief’s were going to have to work very hard to get any points from the Division’s leaders. Face with conditions totally alien to those at Colebridge and perhaps Police’s strongest team, all 3 of our players found that they had to change their usual tactics, to win any points, yet alone games.
In the opening set, Sam Henderson was unable to match Dave Ameghino’s clever use of spin and angles, losing 3-1 and Mike Credland was similarly all at sea against Paul Ducrois. Neil Wheatley’s defensive skills looked likely to succeed against Dean Opbroek, when he won the opening game of set 3, 11-8, but once the late arriving home No. 3 got his eye in, he had no trouble winning the next two games with ease. Fortunately, a change of tactics, following up fast serves with some quick hitting, caught Oproek napping and gave Neil victory 11-6, 11-6.
Set 4, saw Chiefs draw level thanks to Sam Henderson also realising that if he could not play his usual attacking game, he might be able to capitalise on Paul Ducrois’ desire to play attacking shots when ever possible, using careful pushing to deny him that opportunity. After 4 games, the players were 2 all and had won the same number of points, so a final game nailbiter seemed inevitable, All credit to Sam who stuck to his plan to clinch that game 14-12.
If that seemed close, the doubles was even better - or worse, depending on your point of view. In what is perhaps best described as a comedy of errors, mistakes galore led to another final game decider, which once they had established a substantial lead, looked odds on the Ameghino/Ducrois combo winning. Amazingly, whilst Sam and Mike looked on, points were thrown away and to everyone’s amazement, the Colebridge duo completed what turned out to be a match deciding win, 13-11.
Ameghino levelled the scores, defeating Neil 3-1 in similar fashion to his earlier defeat of Sam, but Mike then fought and won another lengthy match against Dean, to restore Chief’s lead.
Another 5 game set saw Neil battling against Ducrois’ quick hitting , only to lose in 5, but Sam once again steadied the ship and, despite losing the first two games, he eventually found the winning combination of push and hit, to win the next 3.
The final set was a complete anti-climax. Ameghino being bewildered totally by Mike’s subtle over the table blocking, losing 8, 6, and 5.
With the match finishing at 11.20 pm after 43 games, Chiefs had certainly earned their 3 points.