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Terri-Ann Nolan, Paula Addamson, John Moore, Frank McCann, Ian Wensley, Peter Wass, Match Official Mike Power & Umpire Graham Rollinson
The Div. 3 G.B.Hyde Cup Final between Marconi ‘A’s Frank McCann, Peter Wass & Ian Wensley, and Merseyside Police ‘B’s, John Moore, Paula Adamson & Terri-Ann Nolan, played at Bath St. Marine.
Police won the toss and made first call of Terri-Ann v Ian, for the 1st game of the night we got what was expected, very tentative play, Ian doesn’t give much at the best of times, and was determined that this was going to be no different, pushing, chopping, returning everything that Terri-Ann could throw at him, but T.-A. knew the only way to win the points was to hit past Ian or at him, so claiming the first two games 7 & 11. But the strain of long cagey points was telling on T-A. when your best shots keep coming back, it gets a bit depressing, and T-A. starts missing the easy chances she’d set up, Ian wins the 3rd 11-7 and the 4th 11-7. The 5th game saw T-A. 5-4 up at the turn, then it’s 8 all, then level to 10 all, Ian wins the first point off his serve, T-A. serves, Ian returns with the same loaded tempting push, T-A. hits off to give Ian the vital first set, I don’t think Ian won a point, he played an excellent game of frustration, not easy at this level, a set which took 30 minutes to complete.
Set 2, Marconi called on Frank v John, a more open game between two players prepared to win the points, a mix of pushing, blocking and hitting, John winning the 1st 11-5, but Frank opened up a bit taking the 2nd the same 11-8. 3rd game saw Frank pull away to 8-3 up, John fought his way back to 8 all, then Frank in front at 10-9, a game of long push, push points, the final point going to Frank from one of his unexpected smashes. 2-0 to Marconi, Police’s next call was Paula v Peter, Paula settled first winning 11-8 after Peter had been warned by the Umpire about foul serving, but not heeding the warning, and losing the next 2 points for the same breach. Game 2 saw Peter again foul served, looked as if Peter was throwing the set away, but he settled down using his back hand shots for winners, catching Paula out, and Paula missing her hits, Peter winning 11-6. Game 3 saw Peter pull away to lead 9-3, Paula smashing off the next 2 points. Game 4 saw a more settled Paula, waiting a bit longer before going for those ‘easy’ ones, winning 11-5, and the final game was another cagey one, Peter in front at the turn, going further in front to 6-4, but Paula pulled back to 6 all with her serves, at 9-7 up Peter serves to win both points, to give Marconi a clean 3-0 lead.
Next call to Marconi, Ian v John, the first game saw Ian opening up a bit with a few hits, but soon settled down to his standard frustrating returns, they look so easy to hit!!, making John miss his hits, coasting through to win 11-5. 2nd game saw John getting to grips with Ian’s returns, and hitting through them, but they just keep coming back, push, push, push, smash, return, push, push, Ian wins 12-10. 3rd game was as cat and mouse as the others, Ian has a go at a smash, into the net, not his game, John still has a go at Ian’s float returns, wasting points, but John manages to get more hits on then off, winning 11-7, but the 4th game again saw Ian returning so many loaded floaters, tempting John to have a go, with a familiar result, missed!, Ian coasting through to win 11-4, so Marconi now 4-0 up
5th call to Police, Paula takes on fresh from the table Ian, Paula must have seen the way through Ian, the extra pace to get past Ian was the only way, the 1st game was even up to 10 all, Ian winning the vital 12th point with an edge, next game went same way, Ian doing nothing other than returning Paula’s top spin hits, again frustrating Paula to win 11-5. Paula definitely changed tack after that, her hitting started getting harder and faster with a return of confidence, driving Ian to the back wall, hitting straight at him instead of wide where he could use his long reach and chop, games 3 & 4 going to Paula 5 & 3. The last game saw Paula 5-4 up at the turn, at 10-8 up it’s Paula’s serve, Ian wins, Paula’s next fast serve flew off Ian’s bat and off the table, so Game and set to Paula 11-9, Marconi 4 – Police 1.
So at 10pm we start the 6th set, Peter v John, but no fairy tale comeback, a more open match than the other sets, with both players opening up, winning and losing points, Peter content to sit and wait for his chance, John trying to force the game, but settled best, winning in 3, 5-7&8, so game set and match to Marconi ‘A’, 5 sets to 1.
Thanks to Fred Bainbridge & Peter Ross from Bath St. Marine, for the use and setting up of their venue, and the after match refreshments, match official Mike Power and official umpire Graham Rollinson (again).