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Wroxall ‘A’ Conquer Cowes ‘A’!

In what turned out to be a ’match of the titans, Wroxall ‘A’ came out on top when they played their closest rivals, Cowes ‘A’ on Monday 12th February at the Wroxall Community Centre. Cowes were playing two ladies from their ‘B’ team, whilst Simon Jilley, once again, did an outstanding job standing in for the recuperating Roy Freeman.

The competitive spirit was ubiquitous right from the very first game of the 1st set, featuring Carl Freeman & Linda Lucas, who at one point were 7 points behind their League rivals, but in true Wroxallian fashion, battled their way back to level pegging and then it was point for point until the very end where, Carl & Linda, putting in that little extra effort emerged victorious at 24-22. The second game was almost anti-climatic, with the Wroxall pair winning by a more comfortable 21-12 to kick off Wroxall’s campaign at 1-0 to them.

Set 2 saw Clayton Simpson & Sarah Mcwilliam on court next and it was certainly a consistent set, but not to Wroxall’s advantage. Despite some great rallies and a determined effort, Clayton & Sarah slipped several points behind in both games and couldn’t quite close the gap eventually losing both 17-21, 17-21 to even the match score at 1-1.

Simon Jilley & Vanessa Allen were up next in set 3, and they too had an almighty battle in game one; losing points then gaining them until at 21-21, Cowes A managed to edge ahead and win 21-23. The second game was equally as close but Cowes, once again just had the edge and it finished 19-21 to put Cowes ahead for the first time at 1-2.

The 4th set saw it flip back in Wroxall’s favour, with the first of the ladies pairs Linda Lucas & Sarah Mcwilliam managing to get a few points ahead in the first game and staying there long enough to emerge 21-16 victors. Not wanting to appear inconsistent they followed this template in the second game and won that one 21-15. Honours were now even at 2-2.

Set 5 saw the wind change direction again, to blow in Cowes favour this time, but with Carl Freeman & Clayton Simpson forcing it all the way to the full three games this time. They lost the first game 14-21, fought back in the second to win 21-17; the third was yet another toe to toe fight to the bitter end with Cowes, once again, just edging it to win 20-22 to put them back in front at 2-3.

The 6th set saw the tide turn once again to Wroxall’s advantage, this time with Linda Lucas & Vanessa Allen also taking it to three games, but with a different outcome. Linda & Vanessa again just edged ahead in the first game and maintained the gap enough to win 21-14; but conceded the gap in the second to lose 18-21, dug in and gritted their teeth in the third to win that one 21-15. Wroxall had once again drawn level at 3-3 in the match. Could they now get ahead and stay there?

Set 7 saw them do exactly that, with Carl Freeman & Simon Jilley producing some outstanding badminton against an equally skilled Cowes pair. The two teams once again, went toe to toe and it was obvious that they were fairly evenly matched; going point for point in both games and being equally consistent. However Carl & Simon held their nerve long enough to win both games 22-20, 22-20 to put Wroxall ahead for the first time since set one. Match score was now 4-3 with Wroxall needing just more set for another match victory over Cowes.

The eighth set was as equally consistent as the 7th, this time with Sarah Mcwilliam & Vanessa Allen proving to be the steady hand; but with a slightly larger margin although with just as tough a fight. They won the first game 21-14, liked it so much they did the same in the second also 21-14! This brought the match score to 5-3 and the win to Wroxall. All they needed now was the final set to cap their evening off and increase their League margin even more over Cowes ‘A’.

Set 9 started out relatively calmly with Clayton Simpson & Simon Jilley again going point for point with their Cowes counterparts in the early stages of game one, but in the latter half they opened up a vital gap and kept it going until the final point, with a 21-15 win.

The second game was, perhaps the most nail biting, edge of the seat game that we have witnessed in sometime. Cowes were determined to close the gap to just one set, whilst Clayton & Simon were as equally determined to open it up even further.

Neither side were willing to give ground and it clearly showed, with every point being hotly contested, there were some great rallies with superb volleys and clever little cross court and drop shots being played by both sides. As the score ping ponged from first one side then to the other, tensions were building, with both teams standing their ground then, as the scores got higher & higher the Wroxall pair brought it to 20-18 and everyone thought it was almost over.

Then Cowes dragged it back to 20 all and the tension rose incrementally with the score…. 21-20 Wroxall! Then 21-21, 21-22 Cowes! Then it was 22-22. Now 23-22 to Wroxall & back to 23-23! This time it was 23-24 to Cowes then back again to 24-24. The tension in the air was very palpable and it was now just a matter of who held their nerve longest and who luck would favour. The score was now equal at 25-25 and Wroxall managed to edge it once again at 26-25 and both teams were now literally on the edge of their seats furiously wishing their respective pairs on to victory.

The 52nd serve was played, a short rally followed that ended with the shuttle landing resoundingly on the floor of the court on the…….. Cowes side!! 27-25 to Wroxall and Final match score 6-3 – Whew! That was a real humdinger of a final game.

This was a great evening of badminton and despite the stakes, was played in a very friendly & sporting manner, which everyone enjoyed tremendously.

Commiserations to Cowes ‘A’, who put on a tremendous performance but were beaten to the punch by an equally tremendous Wroxall ‘A’ side. The final result of 6-3 was owed, I think, partly to some serendipitous fortuitousness in that this vital match was missing two of Cowes ‘A’s regular ladies, enabling the Wroxall ladies to do what they couldn’t on their last outing against Cowes ‘A’ and that was; to win all of their sets, thus making that difference in outcome from the last showing.

Congratulations again to Wroxall ‘A’ for another outstanding performance and for holding their nerve in such tense circumstances. Also many thanks once again to Simon Jilley, who did another superlative job standing in for Roy Freeman.

Next up is Wroxall B, playing away to Cowes B on Wednesday 14th February at Yarmouth Sports Club starting at the usual time of 7:00pm. As it is Valentine’s Day show a little love and come along and cheer them on!

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