‘Welcome to Fen Land’ said the signs as we headed to March on Friday evening, to face another unknown opposition. A warm welcome is exactly what we got from a really nice bunch of guys, despite our staggered and late arrivals, and in the case of some, having to avoid Santa’s Sleigh!
It has been a while since our men had to dig this deep to win a match. In fact this was the toughest outing we have faced in the Hunts and Peterborough League since we made the decision to join. A point that our opposition echoed.
First to step on court were Mark B and Dave to face a pairing that don’t lose many games, and so it proved again, as our pair came up a little short losing to 16 and 17. A long journey, the enforced lack of a good warm up and a bit of ring rustiness no doubt hampering their efforts. At the same time, Pete D and Peter A, were embroiled in a marathon 3 ended game against March’s No. 2 pairing.
Having nicked the first end to 19, after giving their opponents a 7 point headstart, the second end went point for point up until 19 – 19, when the March pair managed to level the game by winning 21 – 19. The third end was a battle Royale, again both pairs going toe to toe and never seperated by more than two or three points. Eventually the two Petes edged clear at 20 – 17, only for their opposite numbers to come back to 20 – 19. Happily it was all over on the next point and the game finished with another 21 – 19 end in Uppinghams favour.
Matt S and Mark P went on to face their opposite numbers and again, after two close ends, March came out on top, winning to 20 and 17. At 2 -1 down it looked like it would be a tough night from here on in.
Mark and Dave made up for the first game, by outplaying the March No 2 pair in the next game on, to level the match score at 2 – 2, followed by Pete and Pete beating the 3rd pair to edge in to the lead.
Matt and Mark P, then took to the court against the March No 1 pair, who had just beaten Mark B and Dave. Having lost their first match, it looked like the over all match score would probably be 3 – 3 going in to the final round of games. Matt and Mark, it seems, had decided to rip up that script! Playing a brilliant defensive game and turning it in to attack at the earliest opportunity, they won the first end with a small margin to spare, to 16. The March pair appeared rattled. The second end was much of the same, with some magnificent defence from the Uppingham pair. At 20 – 19 to Uppingham, March had a huge slice of luck, when a smash clipped the net and dropped in to move to 20 – 20, saving the first match point. The lads from Uppingham never broke their cool and edged ahead again, only to see March save another match point. Again, Uppingham edged ahead and again March saved another match point. At 22 – 22, the onlooking pairs felt that it might just be ‘one of those ends’ where you come off wondering how you lost it. Again Matt and Mark held their nerve to go 23 – 22 ahead and with a round of applause ringing from the crowd they managed to win the game on their 4th match point. A top effort and great game to watch.
This was the springboard that UHBC needed to go into the final round with confidence, and despite Pete and Pete losing to the first pair, Uppingham headed across the finish line first to win by 6 to 3. It should be noted that Mark P and Matt also defeated the strong second pair, again in three ends, giving each pair a record of two wins and one loss.
There were many key moments during the night, that allowed Uppingham to win, with each pair having to raise their games. A top nights sport, against top opponents, who made us feel very welcome indeed. We look forward to welcoming them back to Uppingham.