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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Last

Sax men's 1st team mounts major title challenge

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Friday 23rd June, away

Sax 1s v David Lloyd 2s

Sax lose 1v8

Team: Matt and Ewan, Chris and Giles (debut), David and Finnley (debut)

After two wins from three to kick start the season, it was an tough away trip to the indoor carpets of David Lloyds in Ipswich that was up next.

With several of the first team out of action, it was a great opportunity to give debuts to Giles and Finnley with the latter becoming the youngest ever Men's 1st team summer league player at only 14!

It would be a tough night however, with three very strong David Lloyd pairs exploiting their carpet skills to their advantage, to give the Sax players little hope of a win.

Hats off to David and Fin for sticking to it, and grinding out a few games, and for Giles and Chris who played solidly all night and came all-too-close to clinching a set, just losing out 6-8.

But the set of the night goes to Matt and Ewan, which went all the way to a tie-break which they eventually lost 7-9!

This puts an end to an incredible run of 50 summer league sets won in a row in the summer league by captain Matt who hadn't lost a set in the Ipswich Summer League since May 2021!

Just like buses though, this lose was quickly followed by a second set lost.... This would eventually stop the whitewash at least, and get the final set.

Monday 26th June

Sax men's 1st team v Kesgrave men's 1st team

Sax win 6-3

Team: Chris and Anthony, Matt and Ian P, Roger and James

Sax got back to their winning ways and kept their 100% record at home with a convincing display.

The top pairing of Anthony and Chris would go on to only drop three games in the process of clinching three sets (24 games out of 27!).

Matt and Ian P would also have a fairly straight forward night with three sets also won.

Despite losing all three sets, James and Roger were the pair to watch, with three enthralling sets with one going 6-8 to Kesgrave's 1st pair, and then the other two being decided on tie-breaks with the 1st team veterans coming oh-so-close to getting over the line in both.

Monday 17th July

Sax 1s vs Woodbridge 1s

Sax win 6v3

Team; Chris/Anthony, Matt/Ewan, Roger/Ian F

The scoreline doesn't really do this match any justice, Woodbridge were very much in this match and it took Sax to win two tie breaks to make sure of it!

The lethal partnership of Anthony and Chris again claimed all three sets.

Matt and Ewan would peak early and play a terrific 1st set winning 8-5 before fizzling away as the night wore on.

They would at least battle hard and win the second set on a tie-break saving six set points before then losing the final set 5-8.

But the set of the night goes to Ian F and Roger who managed to beat the Woodbridge 1st pair in a tie-break which in doing so sealed the victory for Saxmundham.

Monday 24th July

Sax men's 1st team v Kesgrave men's 1st

Sax win 5-4

Team; Chris/Anthony, Matt/Ewan, Roger/James

An amazing match which was decided in dramatic fashion!

Roger, fresh from headlining at Latitude and with the confidence of last week's winning set, managed to make the opposition work hard. He and James pushed the 2nd pair very close and just ended up losing 6-8.

Sax's 1st pair of Chris and Anthony would make it 12 sets played, 12 sets won!

Some would call this sheer brilliance, others may call it boring ;) (where's the excitement in winning so comfortably time and time again after all?!).

Either way this settled the score at 3-3 and put the match on a knife-edge.

Matt and Ewan would start strong mostly in part to powerhouse serving from both and constant break points on the oppositions service games.

The second set would be a fantastic battle with the Kesgrave number 1 pair, their presence at the net and persistent length from the baseline kept the Sax pair at bay, allowing them to keep ahead for most the set.

Sax would come back swinging though, and started going for their shots more to force their way back into the tie before finally getting the set back on serve and actually lead 7-6.

It got to 30-0 with two top notch returns before both players had a mini meltdown, and all but threw away a chance of a match point. After a slow start, the 30-0 lead seemed ancient history as the Sax pair were blown away to lose the tie-break.

The final set would also go the distance with all players' serves breaking down leading to a bizarre run of break of serves that ultimately led to another tie-break.

With the overall match score at 4-4 and with all pairs now finished and watching, the tension could be seen on all players' faces. A quick glance down at my watch was a mistake with a heart rate of 166 noted before a ball was even hit in the tie-break.

Sax would make a smashing start figuratively, and then literally, with two big smashes put away to lead 5-2. The opposition captain Ed and his partner came back strong though with impressive serving under pressure and an almighty one handed drive down the line leaving the score at 5-5.

But the shot of the night would come from Ewan who leapt high in the night sky to hit what is probably the hardest shot in the game, a high badminton like backhand smash which landed plum on the outer tramline to set up a match point.

In typical Matt and Ewan style though, we would go from hero to zero by double faulting and gifting the opposition a way back. Ewan would make up for it however, by hitting a massive serve before backing it up with a quality crosscourt drive to set up another match point.

This time it wasn't on serve, the opposition decided to serve and volley and charged straight up to the net. Ewan replied with a stretching slice that cut through the court, so much so, the server left it, convinced it was long - only for it to clinch the very edge of the baseline, and to clinch the match, by the finest of margins.

Three wins on the bounce and five wins out of a possible seven puts Sax in a strong position to win the league. Our final match will be a home match against Stowmarket in August.

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