Dinosaurs 4, Chiefs 6. Match report by Neil Wheatley. March 11th 2013.
This author may be accused of bias, but I am sure that those who turned out for last night’s clash will share his view that this was one of the most competitive matches seen at Colebridge for some considerable time. It had so much to enjoy - long and exciting rallies, cliff hanging finishes - and was spread over 44 games, including 20 that finished at 11-9 or more.
Chiefs were looking for a maximum from their No 1, but a nervous looking Sam Henderson soon found himself 2-0 down in the opener and was forced to take on the steady defensive skills of Jim Connor with similar tactics, following up a 12-10 third game with two 11-8s. The second set was very similar, with Dan Ranford’s quick hitting gaining him a 2-0 lead over Mike Credland. A tight 11-9 third game went Mike’s way, before he put together two strong 11-7, 11-8 games to put his team 2 up. Neil Wheatley and Brian Morris then played out the only straight games set of the night with Neil, armed with a new bat, winning the first two comfortably, before surviving a determined comeback by the home skipper by 15-13.
If grit and determination had been the main reason for Chief’s good start, a bit of a setback then ensued when Sam’s attempt to emulate his first set failed, only because he lost the decider this time, Dan gaining a deserved 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8 victory.
With 4 very determined players on view, a tight doubles set was inevitable as seen by the scores – the Brian/Jim combo defeating Mike and Neil 11-9, 9-11,, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6. Jim and Neil then carried on where they had left off, with Jim levelling the match score 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 12-10.
Mike on next to put Chiefs ahead, coping admirably with Brian’s backhand hitting in all but one game, winning 11-5, 12-14,, 11-8, 11-6, but Dan soon restored parity, quickly changing from his rather wild opening game to see off Neil 4-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-7.
Sam obviously felt that it was time to get his game under control and a more positive approach and a mixture of hits, counter hits and pushes, helped him to keep ahead of Brian for most of the penultimate set, before just managing to squeeze home 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11.
The final set encompassed everything that had gone before, Dan losing the first game against Mike 8-11, before winning next two 11-9. A slight change of tactics brought Mike a surprise 11-2 equaliser, before the ‘Man of the Match’ secured the victory Chiefs needed in their quest for promotion, with an 11-8 finish.
A shame that there had to be a winner in such a splendid and very friendly match, typical of so many of the Division 2 clashes at the Theatre of Dreams this season, but ‘Well done’ to both teams.