One small step for BTC mankind
BTC took a small step along the path to success when it wasn’t beaten by MCC Real Tennis Section in the A Grade pennant competition at Ballarat last Saturday afternoon/night. The outcome, being a draw, reverses a losing trend against Hobart and Sydney, but leaves some room for further improvement. BTC were represented by Malcolm Rodgers, Stuart Strange and Rob Jolly who took to the court against two fellow BTC-ers, but representing MCC, Greg Reid, Matt Dunn, and Chris Nobes.
First up Rodgers and Strange fell behind against Reid and Dunn. An unfamiliar pair, the BTC-ers took some time to settle. With Stuart only briefly back on court after knee running repairs, all players held their collective breaths to see if he could, as the Beatles used to say, Twist and Shout. Certainly, early on, there was a bit of shouting from Stuey, then some twisting, and eventually they worked their way back into the game and nearly took the chocolates, losing 9-7. Greg Reid impressed early for the winners with Matt closing the match out.
Rob got away to a flyer against Chris Nobes who was unfamiliar with the playing conditions. Chris pegged him back, but BTC levelled the matches at 1-all with the margin in the second of 9-6.
Stuart joined Rob for doubles versus MCC’s Greg Reid and Chris Nobes and again the locals ran out to an early lead playing aggressive tennis from the service end. But the tide turned and the MCC came back playing solid, no-nonsense tennis, and “hogging” the serve. They levelled to 7-all taking a bisque earned in earlier “losing times” and even advanced to 8-7. Playing against the perils of ignominy, BTC found two controlled (good length, no mistakes and some keen services when it mattered most) games in a row to wrest the win in an entertaining match with numerous enterprising rests.
The Strange knee held good, and Annie S cheered on from the dedans “come-on the Jolly Stranges”. The moniker works the other way around too, of course. Many a true word spoken in jest.
So going into the final match, Malcom Rodgers took on Matt Dunn of the MCC.
The handicap difference was slight, in favour of Malcolm, but after Matt’s recent streak of hot form (not being yet recognised by the handicap), the bookies had their money firmly on Matt.
The end result of this match was indeed to the MCC, but Malcolm played stubborn and inspired tennis to get to 7-all only to drop the last couple in a hard fought and entertaining contest.
The wrap up was 2 matches all and 32 games all. A Mediterranean feast followed (thanks Sheree for the potato salad! and Annie for, amongst other kindnesses and hospitality for the provision of a last minute cucumber to replace the miscreant courgette!!) with a smattering of beers and one of Rutherglen’s finest reds. All left in good order, with honours even.
Those two conditions alone are a start for a newly competitive Rats on court.