MCC Real Tennis have adopted Romsey as their home base and on Sunday 20th November a small group of Ballarat players took them on at their home turf.
In the first match Ian Bull and James Guest took on Rob Jolly and Bill Hutcheson. James served and returned well while Ian dominated the MCC end of the court. Rob and Bill failed to really make many inroads but a few late games made the score look respectable at 9-6 to MCC
In the second match Russ Middleton teamed with Al Willingham of MCC to play Ray Thompson who was back after a 2 year rest and Greg Reid. Greg was having an identity crisis as he had organised the day on behalf of MCC then decided to bat for the other side. The Ballarat boys got off to a flier and teamed well to lead 8-3. Unfortunately this was when the wheels fell off. MCC won game after game and stormed home to win 9-8. At this stage we were questioning whether Greg had made the switch to the other side or was merely a plant.
Al and Ian fronted up again after lunch, this time against Ian Chambers and Paul Williams. Initially we were expecting the best looking of the Williams Dan to play for Ballarat but had to settle for Paul. The Ballarat guys teamed well and there were some fast and frantic rests and Ballarat had its first win of the day 9-7.
James and Russ then teamed together against Bill and Ray. Bill and Ray were both old Romsey players so it was hopeful that they would be able to adjust to the Romsey court. With a mix of power and wood (their racquet frames that is) they took command of the set and evened up the matches with a 9-4 win.
Late into the day MCC decided to inject some new blood into the mix with Mike Carroll teaming with Ian to play against Rob and Ian. Despite the efforts of the Ballarat lads the MCC gents were too strong winning 9-2.
We were now down to the last set and Ballarat needed a win to go for a count-back on games. Russ and Mike played Paul and Greg in a really good set of tennis. The set went game for game until the end when Ballarat got a break to win the set 9-7.
The day finished at 3 sets each and a count–back was required to separate the sides. In the end a mere 2 games was the differential with MCC getting up. The MCC won 45 games to Ballarat’s 43. Ballarat look forward to extracting revenge on the MCC at our next meeting.