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Wroxall ‘A’ Win the Title!

Wroxall ‘A’ cemented their position at the top of Division 3 by beating Newport ‘C’ at the Wroxall Community Centre on Monday 19th March and by doing so earned themselves the Division 3 League Champions title.

This was, by no means, a straight forward task despite requiring just the two sets to make it mathematically impossible for their closest title challengers, Cowes ‘A’, to catch them in their own two remaining matches, one of which was being played the same evening.

Linda Lucas was unavailable and so the ‘B’ team’s first lady, Callie Hatcher was standing in for her. This was not a problem as Callie is a very able and skilled player; the real issues (there were two of them) was that firstly; number one man Carl Freeman was suffering from an issue with his knee that had been ongoing for some time and it had flared up rather badly on this occasion. Secondly, third man Harry Rann was also suffering from an injured foot as a result of an incident with a lamp post (don’t ask!) and was also struggling with some pain & movement issues. Regardless both men ungrudgingly stepped up to the plate and gritted their teeth in order to not let their fellow team mates down.

Set 1 clearly showed where the problem was with Carl Freeman’s knee as he paired up with the fore mentioned Callie Hatcher. During the first game he was struggling to find the pace and movement needed to reach many of the shots in time and subsequently he & Callie lost that one 13-21. The second game proved a better affair for the Wroxall pair as Carl bit the bullet and threw himself more into the game; but despite a valiant effort the best he & Callie could do was, take it to a 20-22 result. Match score 0-1 to Newport.

The 2nd set was, by comparison, a rather different affair as, Clayton Simpson, determined to get Wroxall’s title effort back on track paired with Sarah Mcwilliam, who seemed on fire this evening; proceeded to pummel their Newport opponents by winning two games in quick succession 21-7, 21-8, to level the match score at 1-1 and leave Wroxall halfway to their two set target.

The 3rd set proved to be yet another tricky one as this featured the injured Harry Rann, matched with Vanessa Allen, and again the foot issue causing problems with Harry’s pace and movement around the court as it did with Carl in the 1st set. So it was no surprise that he and Vanessa struggled in the first game, eventually losing it 14-21. The second game proved that Harry too had grit & determination as he & Vanessa fought back to take that one 21-15. The third game didn’t go their way, however, in spite of a fantastic effort form both players, Harry & Vanessa eventually lost out 21-23. Match score was now back in Newport’s favour at 1-2 and Wroxall still waiting for that all important second set.

They didn’t have to wait for long though, as in the 4th set Sarah Mcwilliam & Callie Hatcher did what was required and put in a sterling performance, producing some great badminton and clever shots to defeat Newport in straight games 21-13, 21-19, to once again level the score at 2-2; more importantly the League Title was Wroxall’s.

Whilst Carl Freeman & Clayton Simpson warmed up for Set 5, two bottles of non-alcoholic bubbly provided by team Captain and Club Chairman Clayton Simpson were dispersed amongst players and supporters to celebrate the League victory.

This having been enjoyed by all present, Carl, still battling his injury & Clayton set about extending Wroxall’s lead, although not without some opposition. They won the first game 21-12, had the tables turned on them in the second to lose 12-21, but with a fantastic effort from Carl and great support from Clayton; turned it back around in the third to win 21-9, putting Wroxall ahead for the first time at 3-2.

Set 6 saw the ladies back on court again, this time in the shape of Sarah Mcwilliam & Vanessa Allen, who set about doing what Wroxall does best – getting ahead and staying ahead. In the first game Sarah & Vanessa pulled out enough of a lead to win 21-16 and slightly smaller lead in the second to win 21-17. Match score was now 4-2; with just the one set left for Wroxall to end their season with a win.

Set 7 provided that win, despite the pairing of both injured players Carl Freeman & Harry Rann, who, although clearly suffering from their injuries, put in an amazing performance to win the first game decisively 21-12. The second game proved to be a bit of a marathon with Newport fighting back hard, hoping to make the most of Carl & Harry’s indisposition. But the Wroxall pair were having none of that and produced a great performance to take it all the way to 24-22 to Wroxall. The match win was the home team’s at 5-2.

The 8th set looked like it might go Newport’s way as, Callie Hatcher & Vanessa Allen started losing ground in both games but managed to pull it back to even stevens in the latter half both times, and then surged ahead to win the two games 21-16, 21-17 to leave a score line of 6-2 to Wroxall.

The 9th and final set of the evening and of the season for Wroxall ‘A’ had Clayton Simpson & Harry Rann rounding off the evening for Wroxall by putting in yet another sterling performance against a determined opposition, to win again, another two straight game decider, 21-16, 21-18.

 Final score was 7-2 to Wroxall and the Division 3 title in the bag with a 24 set margin over their Cowes ‘A’ rivals and just the 18 sets potentially on the board for Cowes last two matches of the season

Although it was a fairly relaxed evening of badminton, there were, obviously a few nervous moments at the beginning with Carl & Harry’s injuries & the initial issues arising from them. But all due credit must go to Carl & Harry for battling so magnificently through the pain and discomfort to help Wroxall get there in the end. Big plaudits as well to Callie Hatcher who did such a great job standing in for Linda Lucas, who, I am, sure, will be sorry that she missed out on that all important last match, but did so much to help the team get there throughout the season.

Commiserations to Newport ‘C’ who put in a great performance and did their best to capitalise on the injury issues that Wroxall were having, but were unable to overcome the determination & fortitude that Wroxall and in particular their two injured players were showing this night.

Congratulations on an outstanding performance from Wroxall ‘A’, who, once again demonstrated exactly why they are top of the League and title champions. It’s been an interesting season with its ups and downs and some nervous moments for us all, but the ‘A’ team persevered and had faith in themselves and it has all paid off. Well done the League Champions!!!

Next up is the ‘B’ team, who are playing away at the Yarmouth Sports & Social Club, against Freshwater ‘E’ on Friday 23rd March; where they will be looking to add another win to the one they all ready won this season or to at least garner a few more sets to help with their League position. So come along and cheer them on!

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