On Saturday 16th February Nick and I hosted the strong Queen's team of World Number 4 Bryn Sayers and Andrew Fowler filling-in for the injured Andrew Lyons.
Before the first match started Nick took the 35 or so HRP and HCP members who had purchased tickets for the evening onto court for a quick 10 minute intro to the game of Real Tennis. All up we had a strong crowd of around 60 spectators.
The first match was Nick taking on fellow Aussie Andrew Fowler currently working at the Queen's Club after having a recent stint at Bristol and Bath.
A small handicap of 2 was being used as there was a handicap difference of greater than 4.5, leaving Nick with giving away Owe 1/2 15. Andrew started very well and was really taking up to Nick and raced through the 1st set 6/1. I hadn't seen too much of this set as I had been spending some time in the Pro Office with the lights out as I was trying to rid myself of a headache. The next time I came out to hear the score Nick was 4/1 down but as all good players do found a way to get back into the match. Nick fought back to level at 5/5, 40 all, Match point for Andrew. It wasn't to be, Nick pinched the set 6/5 and raced away with the 3rd 6/2 to clinch the first rubber for RTC.
Next up I took on Bryn again off a small handicap of 3 (rec 1/2 15).
I started strongly by taking the 1st game with a strong Chisholm like main-wall volley return of serve into the Dedans. We were exchanging rallies and chases in what felt like a very fast passed game of tennis. I remember beating a chase with a straight force into the top F/H corner that felt like the hardest shot I've ever hit. But I found myself 3/1 down and needing to dig deep to stay in the set. I did just that and a few games later levelled at 4/4 and then through to 5/4 40-0 and set points to me for my 1st set off Bryn in all competitions (albeit with a slight handicap advantage). It wasn't to be as I had done a few games earlier Bryn came back at me and took the set 6/5.
My slight drop in concentration with the disappointment of not taking the set Bryn took the 2nd set 6/2 to level the evening up and 1 rubber all.
This is the 5th time since the European Open last October I had faced Bryn in competition. Considering how I was feeling an hour before the match I was hitting and moving well. Bryn is such a great player after winning 2 Opens to date and I feel that each match against him I'm gaining greater experience.
After a short break for spectators to have a bite of the super supper Fluer had prepared in the kitchen it was time for the doubles and a deciding rubber for the evening.
It was probably the best doubles Nick and I have played together as a pair and we took the match 8/5 after s strong start that saw us get away to 5/1.
We thank all the support from the spectators on a successful night as we took the match 2 rubbers to 1. Our two remaining matches are away to Prested Hall March 7th and home to Prested Hall on April 13th. We can finish anywhere from 1st to 3rd but a finals berth is all but guaranteed.