Gritty Sax Dig Deep
Sax Men's 1st team played Framlingham at home on Monday 29 November, achieving a final score of 5-3 to Saxmundham, writes team captain Matthew Last in this extended match report, but not without some high drama.
This game was in stark contrast to the freezing temperatures - being a red-hot battle for the top of the table against our local rivals, Framlingham.
Sax got off to a flying start thanks to the pairing of Anthony Tolman and Chris Hirst racing away with the first two sets 6-1, 6-0, in very impressive fashion. The other pairing of Ewan Threadkell and Matt Last however found the going much tougher. Despite having set points in both the sets, they succumbed to a 6-7(2-7), 5-7 loss to a very strong Framlingham pairing of Ed and Harry.
At one stage it was looking pretty rosy, with the opportunity to serve out the first set leading 6-5, only for the drama and tension to ramp up, leading to an emotional rollercoaster of a game!
In control at 30:15, Ed pulled off an outrageous reverse reaction volley behind his back after Ewan's booming volley, surely one of the shots of the season let alone the match!
Struggling to find anything that resembled a serve, the game to-and-fro'd from deuce to advantage until at last Matt found a first serve with plenty of venom, resulting in an errant return and the set.
However, much to our dismay it turned out that a rogue ball had rolled across from the other court which had 'affected' the return... and the point having to be replayed. The Sax pair would squander this opportunity to clinch the set, and with the Fram pair now at advantage, we ended up losing out on a long, tense rally with myself eventually putting one just long - leaving us livid with throwing away the set points.
With both Sax players now an emotional wreck after the last game, the tie-break very quickly got away from us with a very lacklustre display, allowing the Fram pair to take full advantage and take the first set.
We bounced back to force yet another very close set, but again, we just came up short in the important moments, losing 5-7 and leaving the scores at the halfway stage at 2-2.
Anthony and Chris again demonstrated their dominance at this level, with another impressive set of tennis to take it 6-3 before Anthony uncharacteristically fell of the rails in their final set to leave the door ajar for the opposition pair to win 6-4 (I'll let Anthony off, it was way past his bedtime by this point).
It was however another fantastic show from this class double act, winning 3 out of 4 of the sets and setting the team up for a chance of victory.
The maths were clear: Ewan and Matt needed to win both sets for Sax to win.
These two sets would further test the pair's sanity with both players frantically looking for a bit of form, yet continually scratching their heads as to what was going on with their game!
This led to errors galore and some fairly shocking service games.
At many points during these sets it seemed as if the Sax pair were playing four players on court with both battling their inner demons, like a tennis nightmare that neither player could wake up from!
Despite all this, we managed to knuckle down and up the percentages to grind out both sets and secure the match 5-3 in what could prove to be a crucial victory come the end of the season.
With this win, the Men's 1st team now go 2 points clear at the top of the table, with one game in hand.
The man of the match had to go to Roger C though, arriving just before the match with what seemed like a hundred rackets for the team after a long weekend of restringing!
(Sorry no pictures, Matt was far too engrossed in the match this week as we can probably tell - so this nerve-jangling ordeal has instead been tenuously illustrated with a stock photo of a digger - Ed.)