Super subs save Sax
Saxmundham Men's 1st team played against Bramford on Wednesday 27 April 2022. Match report by team captain Matthew Last.
Sax 7-2 Bramford
Matt Last & Anthony Tolman
Ian Portal & Ian Flowers
David McGowan & Roger Challis
It seemed like five seconds since the end of the winter league matchplay, and with the weather barely any warmer, we kicked off our bizarre fixture list with a home game against Bramford.
Unfortunately the fixture fell on an awkward day resulting in no less than five players being unavailable, leaving our super substitute players Ian F, David and Roger to step up to the plate.
As it happened we were not the only team struggling to get players; Bramford took the 45 minute drive up the A12 with only two pairs, meaning we were 3-0 games up before even popping open a can of match balls. Matt and Anthony would reignite their partnership, with our regular partners both being away due to work commitments (Ewan and Chris respectively). The set started off with all players holding before, finally, we forced a break in seemingly controversial circumstances with a close line call.
I was right next to the ball as it bounced, and I certainly would only call it out if I was confident it was... but anyway, it didn't stop one of opponents calling us cheats... A shame as it marred what was a close and mostly enjoyable set. Anyway, after letting this get to us a bit for the next few games we finally stepped back on the gas to win 8-5.
Team Ian & Ian would very quickly get us over the line and win 8-2, putting us into an unassailable lead. This was their first pairing together, and maybe the first of many after that fine inaugural performance.
With David and Roger having an extra hour to warm up, they were next up to take on Bramford's strongest pair. Unfortunately, they came up short 1-8, however their opponents were a good pairing, with a good mixture of guile and aggression, plus Roger was struggling with back issues.
Anthony was a hero to play on the day, given his very heavy workload brought on by tragic events at work. We were in a bit of rush to smash through this set and send him on his way. Luckily, we did just that with a comprehensive 8-0 win, to go 5-1 up on the night.
The rest of the team soon followed suit, though as both the remaining sets were conceded with Roger withdrawing with a back injury, and a Bramford pair also conceding, it was a very early night and we finished at 8.30pm!
The 7-2 win is a great way to kick off the season, especially given the number of players that were out. Also, this highlights how far Team Sax has come, given that we can have that many players out and still call upon cracking players that are competitive enough to support a strong victory.
This will certainly be put to the test with the Men's 3rd team debuting this summer; it will push the mens' teams to the limit availability-wise, and might well be a nightmare for captains to sort. However, I am confident we'll prevail if we get all of our players on the same page and play for Team Sax, in our quest to continue Sax's rise up the tables.