Lancaster’s 1st teams were comprehensively beat by their York opponents on a weekend of drama and reflection. Although the competition was dominated by the visitors, Lancaster’s players learned a lot from the experience.
Men’s 1sts Captain Neil Rylander spoke to SCAN on the manner in which his team lost. He said:
“We played them in the league this year and since then they’ve improved even more. To lose 6-3 isn’t such a bad thing as they’re a good team. We lost, but in a way, we won.”
Despite the 6-3 overall score to York, Lancaster competed in some great matches in the Men’s 1sts. Tom Huggon and James Mullarkey performed excellently throughout Sunday to win two of their matches. The pairing proved to be a great success, and their intelligent movement allowed both of them to cover as much of the court as possible while also playing their best shots.
York’s 1sts Captain James Hor echoed Rylander’s earlier statement when he spoke to SCAN. He added:
“Lancaster have improved alot since last time we played. Everyone had to play up a level than they had done in previous years when Lancaster had been much weaker.”
Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the Ladies 1sts who were unable to match their opponents and lost 8-1. Despite the overall scoreline, Lancaster’s Ladies did provide some great matches though. Mel Neve and Amy Blakemore were able to put any early disappointment behind them to beat York’s Nattha Tritasavit and Emma S’ari in a comprehensive 21-10, 21-10 victory.
Lancaster Ladies’ 1sts Captain Mel Neve was understandably despondent and spoke to SCAN after the competition. She said:
“They took their opportunity well. They were just a really good side and had the upper hand I think.”
York’s Ladies’ 1sts Captain Rebecca Moore was in a far more bullish mood when she spoke to SCAN though, and already had a victory in 2011 on her mind. She said:
“I’m very proud of our team and really relieved to have won. We thought it would’ve been more of a challenge, but it wasn’t in the end. We look forward to mullering them again next year.”
Despite the disappointment of Sunday, Lancaster did enjoy a fanastic result on Saturday as the Men’s 2nd team won 5-4 overall. After losing the first two doubles matches, Lancaster had to graft for the win.
The defining moment of the day came in the contest between Sunny Wong and Papa Oppong-Frempong against James Somerside and Andrew Robert. The visitors took the first game 21-15 to make the task even harder for Lancaster, but thanks to the raw power of Frempong at the back of the court, and the agility of Wong at the net, the pair were able to win the second two games at the death with scores of 22-20 and 23-21.
This win proved to be the catalyst for the red rose to flourish, as Yirhan Simm and Jonny Lee went on to provide a dominant performance against Somerside and Robert to win 21-7, 12-21, 21-13. Frempong and Wong followed suit with another crowd-pleasing 21-15, 21-16 win against York’s Chris Ashley and Tahir Shettey.
After eight contests the scores were tied at four all, and it was up to Lancaster’s Johnny Holland and Paul Heaney to provide a solid performance against Somerside and Robert. Heaney’s power game allowed Lancaster to pull away mid-set before Robert showed delicate touches at the net to draw York closer. It wasn’t enough though, as Holland and Heaney won eight of the last ten points to win the first set 21-9.
A number of sloppy points from Lancaster and surprisingly agile play from Somerside kept York in the hunt, but Heaney was still smashing winners to keep it tight. A final burst from the hosts saw them complete a comfortable victory 21-16 and give Lancaster the much needed point to take a 5-4 overall win.
Holland spoke to SCAN after the contest about his jubilation over the victory. He said:
“I’m pleased for the team after being three nil down early on, they had the pressure games as well as us at the end,” he added that he was “delighted with the comeback.”
by Robert Payling & Matthew Todd