Saturday, 9 October 2010

Grange 5 Barbarians home vs Dean 2 (Thurs, Oct 9, '10)

Having assembled a fine group of the best scramblers in the club, the ‘Grange 5 Barbarians’ team took to the court for their inaugural match against Dean 2. The evening started well with both teams managing to arrive at the correct venue – the new courts at Edinburgh Academy. Alarm bells started to ring as the Dean team began to introduce their new players to the rest of their team and we got ready for the battle.
As the new Captain, I thought it only fitting that I should lead by example and so took to court first, along with Brian Sloan. My own game started well enough before my ability caught up with my confidence and it wasn’t long before I was 2-2. As we took a break in an effort to reduce the chances of an early season coronary, I was impressed to hear that Brian had gone 2-0 up on the other court. Although, having played 4 games to his 2, I did wonder what was taking him so long. Needless to say, that while Brian concluded an efficient 3-1 victory, I failed to recover from a 6-0 losing start and we ended the first round 1-1.
Next on stage were Neil Love and David Grieve. Neil was on against Richard Maspero who several people recognised from the now defunct RBS team. As they got ready to start, the first warning came when one of their players remarked that it wouldn’t be long til Richard was playing for Dean 1 – a remarkable feat I thought for someone playing at number 3. The game was very tentative with three stretches where no-one scored a point for 8 serves, but eventually Neil was consistently edged out for a 3-0 victory to Dean. What none of us had realised at this point was Neil’s remarkable foresight and planning – more of that to come.
As Richard Nisbet went onto court, attention turned to Dave who yet again (his words) got to play the ****** teenager. Dave won the first from a tie-break, then proceeded to move 9-1 7-1 up and was within touching distance of the finishing line when a twang is his sensitive area turned the match around. As he lost that third game 9-7 and progressed to lose the fourth 9-3, so he slowly turned into Victor Meldrew at one point politely remarking that he ‘didn’t believe it’ and enquiring as to whether the referee has ever had the opportunity to peruse the rules. At this point his youthful opponent sensed a new purpose in Dave’s play and in the 5th game Victor was Victorious 9-2 for an excellent, if grumpy, win.
With the match poised at 2-2, Richard began what was to be a match of 4 halves. After losing the first, he rallied to take the next two games leaving the balcony in expectation of a final push in the fourth. However, it was his opponent who got the initiative, winning 9-1 to leave the match all square going into the last game. Richard’s schizophrenic match continued as he went 4-0 down and I began to think of how I would write up this close, if ultimately lost match. What excuses to make? Do I take responsibility? Or do I blame Neil? But I had clearly underestimated Richards’s inner strength as he gritted his teeth and fired off 9 unchallenged points to win the game and match 9-4.
So, an excellent victory for our band of veteran scramblers – all down to excellent leadership. Just one point to end on. You see, the commentary so far glosses over the heroic contribution from Neil to the night’s victory. Unknown to the team, the Edinburgh Accies centre closes at 9.50pm with doors locked at 10pm. As Richard came off court just before 10pm and we were escorted from the premises, Neil’s remarkable foresight dawned on us all. If he hadn’t lost so quickly, Richard wouldn’t have had time for his excellent comeback.
You see, it’s a team effort at all levels. Overall win 16-13 points. (Report: Mike Douglas)


Anonymous said...

Good work the Barbarians! I hear that Dean 2 are the team to beat this year!

christy said...

Had to turn word verification back on, sorry, the chinese spam bot was back within 2 weeks of me opening the gate again