Sutton’s Mighty 5ths have begun their winter 2017/18 campaign in decent form. We are charting new waters here – we’ve never played in division 12 before and so it was with some caution that we pitched up at Southfields for our opening match. Chris Pike came along to watch and offer his support, which was very much appreciated (thanks Chris).
Our usual first pair of David Lunn and Jason Smythe opened up against a strong first pair for the home side, took control and never let them settle, taking the rubber 6-4 6-4.
Meanwhile, we tried a new partnership for our second pair – Mike Eaton and David Cox. Southfields’ second pair were, unfortunately, rather too strong for our scratch partnership running away with it 6-2 6-2. Indeed, their second pair seemed stronger than their first pair across both matches they played.
Mike and David C had, however, worked each other out somewhat by the time they faced the Southfields first pair and they gave them a thorough examination for the first set before fading away a little in the second. 7-5 6-2 was the score to the home side.
2-1 Southfields 3
That left David L and Jason to try to salvage the draw against the home team’s second pair. The first set went according to script, 6-4 to our boys. The second set was, however, weird. Very weird. One of the home team kept serving ridiculously short, slowly and wide to David’s leftie forehand. If David were to try to return that cross court while avoiding the server’s partner at the net (i.e. not giving him an easy intercept volley) then David would need to hit his own return short in order to generate the necessary width. This would bring the server into the net and invite the opponents to dominate. Alternatively, these serves presented David with a very easy option down the line. Granted, it meant making Swiss cheese out of the servers’s partner, but who doesn’t enjoy a spot of Swiss cheese now and again? David was, he thought, relatively generous about it. Not once did he actually hit the player in question though that player made it very clear to David that he did not appreciate the dancing lesson. This was puzzling. Why, instead of going all Emmental on us, did he not just ask his partner to serve quicker, deeper, at the body or down the middle? Any of those four options would have changed everything (and the server in question did have a good, quick down the middle serve – it’s not like he couldn’t do it). Why did he himself not just stand further back and take himself out of the fondue? Only he knows why he chose to take it up with his opponent rather than with his partner, preferring as he did to stand his ground and take one (well, several actually) for the team. Eventually, the penny dropped and he stood at the back (perhaps he was feeling a touch of lactose intolerance by this point). By then, however, the damage was done psychologically and there was no way that David and Jason were not going to win this. They duly brought home the bacon with a tasty 7-6 finish.
A draw was a creditable result. Having lost the final two matches of the summer season, we stopped the rot and gave ourselves a platform from which to launch a strong winter campaign. Beware division 12 – Sutton’s Mighty 5ths are back!