TALES FROM THE CUP - GROUP STAGE WEEK 1
Published 10/01/2019 at 13:48:04 by David Wackrill; edited 2 times, last on 10/01/2019 at 13:52:39 by David Wackrill.
Send me your cup match reports and I'll include them in this feature. Here's my own and one from our other regular contributor Nick Howard.
Group 1: MK Topspin 363 MK Classics (+90) 431
CLASSICS IN CRUISE CONTROL
Being first out the hat among the 52 entrants in this year’s draw seemed a portentous omen to me at the time, as my Topspin side looked to break our duck in cup matches after 9 defeats in the 3 year since our formation in 2015. But it was not to be as this one sadly went the same way as all the others.
We did flatter to deceive in the early exchanges against Division 2 opposition when I overcame the handicap to beat Nick Markham in the opener and Russell Penn did likewise against Masoud Nassor at set 3. However that was as good as it got as the match dribbled away from us from that highpoint. Mervyn Kelly had a nightmare, losing easily in 5 of his 6 games played. Nick sealed victory for our club-mates in the first game of the 9th set, leaving us ‘playing for pride’ to save the indignity of losing the match by more than the 90 point handicap, which we achieved by a margin of 22.
Dylan Cox was the ‘man of the match’ with a staggering return of 127 points won to 101 lost. His only game defeat was by 24-22 to Russell. Well played to Classics.
Still a long way to go in the competition though as 3 teams qualify from our group. So, if we ever achieve that elusive first victory it may well be good enough to put us through to the knock out rounds this time.
Nick Howard writes -
Group 3 : Mursley Swallows (+180) 400 Greenleys Kings 421
KINGS REIGN SUPREME ON CUP DEBUT
Christmas may be over, but the 3 Kings still deliver.
For the first time in a while a Premier team has entered the handicap cup.
Looking to give a little back to the league, the Greenleys Kings managed to draw two away games at Mursley of all places, giving away a combined 400 points for their troubles.
The first match of the season was the Kings against the Swallows - Currently mid placed in Division 2.
The trio of Nick Howard, Guy Sparrow and Matt Horrocks, followed the Mursley North Star, to be entertained by the experienced Peter Shear, Mark Penn and Roger Shelton.
Giving away a healthy 180 points, the Kings needed to hold the Swallows to 12 points per set (something that had only been calculated by match 8, after the Swallows had thought they needed 9 per set).
Having never seen any Division 2 action, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like.
After watching the Swallows knock up, and seeing some outrageous forehands and backhands, that 180 points looked like trying to overcome Everest……
First up was Mark against Nick.
The very first point set the tone for the evening, with Mark retrieving everything that was thrown at him, with some brilliant defensive work - After 6 or 7 forehand loops, Nick finally won the point, but boy…. That was hard work for 1 point.
Despite Marks excellent defending, without any meaningful attack, the Kings captain could simply wait for the right shot, and then apply the pressure. Mark managed to nab a few in a row when down 20-4, to bring it back to 21-7, before the second set ran away from him 21-3.
Peter and Matt followed, and Peters pre game promise of “I’m going to swing from the hip against you boys” came true.
Some of the attacking play from the Swallows captain wouldn’t have been out of place in the Premier division, and it really caused Matt some difficulties.
The first set went 21-12, before Peter turned it up a notch, and rolled his way to 18 points in the second set.
Roger showed Guy Sparrow why he’s averaging over 70% in Division 2 next.
Absolutely flying out of the door, he smashed his way to 20-20 in the first set! Guy saved his blushes by winning 22-20, but it could have easily gone either way.
The second set wasn’t to be for Peter, as Guy steamrolled it for the loss of just 7.
Nick and Guy played Peter and Roger in the doubles, and won comfortably for the loss of 9 and 10.
Captain vs captain stayed on the table, and the swashbuckling Peter took on Nick in a game changing match.
Peter came out very aggressive, but the shots just weren’t landing, and Nick did just enough to take it 21-3.
The second set went in a similar vein, although Peter did find himself at 6-6, before falling back 21-8.
Defensive maestro Mark took on Guy next, and scored a consistent 13 in both sets.
Followed by Roger doing exactly the same against Matt, and then Peter scoring 13 in the first set against Guy (5 13 point sets in a row for Mursely). However, the streak was over when Guy held Peter to 9 in the last set.
Nick took on Roger in the penultimate game, and had to get to grips with the unique style of attacking.
Lesson learned very quickly….. Don’t go back, as you’ll lose the ball in the Mursely walls/ceiling!
First set went to 10, before the second went to 9.
âÂÂ¨This left the Kings 7 points clear heading into the final match.
Mark and Matt played out an entertaining evening, and despite some heroics in the second set from Mark (scoring 17), the 11 points in the first set was the nail in the coffin.
Kings 421 - 400 Swallows (only 1 point per set difference!)
Mark Penn: - 8
Peter Sear: - 9
Roger Shelton: 0
Nick Howard: +32
Matt Horrocks: -12
Guy Sparrow: -3