9th LEAGUE vs Alberton

It was a dark and ominous night – except for the full moon and somewhat unreliable light cast by the few working streetlamps in Alberton. Appropriate then that we were scheduled to foray to the far reaches of the South where a different language is spoken, kids are allowed to run with scissors and women do not yet have the vote. I knew we were in trouble when I saw that there were two Alberton teams in our league. As soon as the mail was sent out asking about team availability, the excuses came pouring in… One of the regulars had to make a trip to Morocco to look for love??? Why not just go down Rivonia Rd at midnight? Another had a teleconference starting at 7pm – don’t know about that one. Other excuses ranged from injury to night school to ‘I just don’t wanna play’. And this is only the third game of the season. Eventually I was only able to make a team with the help of Gabriel, stepping up to the plate at the 11th hour. So, with some trepidation and a gear lock – last time he was there, Steph’s car was stolen – we headed down the highway until we could almost see Table Mountain and then shanked a left turn to the Alberton club.

No. 4 Gabriel vs. Karen. I missed some of his game, but for the rest Gabriel looked solid. Shots were hitting a good length and he didn’t let Karen get into the game at all. For a late inclusion, he gave us a pretty solids start to the evening and the match was over before you could say ‘three love’.

No. 2 Nigel vs. Shaun. All the psychological advantage gained by Gabriel was promptly lost by yours truly. Took the first game and was well set to take the second at 14-9 up. Then Shaun got back to 14 apiece and here began the battle – every time one of us got the advantage, it was lost again, usually by a mistake of the opponent rather than good play. We traded shots for the equivalent of another half a game before Shaun ended it at 23-21. Truth be told, I don’t remember that much of the rest of the match. We were both wheezing like octogenarians and playing for a breather. Shaun took the third game before I walloped him in the fourth and thought that I could finish it quickly. Not to be – he ended with some good hitting to take the fifth and banish me to lick my wounds.

No. 3 Steph vs. Adam. Steph’s first game of the season and he might have been expected to be a bit rusty. Not a bit of it. Everything was coming off the racquet crisply and he was making the T his own. Apart from a slight hiccup in the second game where he made things more difficult for himself than they had to be, it was Steph all the way. Some sublime drops and a couple of killer drives sealed the win for him and put the evening in our hands.

No. 1 Brennan vs. Andy. Brennan was up against the wily Andy. Andy sank 3 or 4 beers in the buildup to the game so Brennan knew that he was up against it with that kind of confidence. Looked as if Andy should have slowed down a little on the hops though as Brennan took the first game 15-13. Piece of cake. With more cake to be after winning the second game 15-13. For a bit of a change of scoreline, Brennan lost the third 13-15. No matter because we were sure that he’d clean up in the fourth. Didn’t happen that way though and he lost 14-16. By this time Andy’s blood was fully infused with beer and Brennan made him pay by using the drops to good effect. Not enough legs left in Andy as Brennan obliterated him 15-6 in the final game.

An impressive victory where the final result belied the closeness of the matches was followed by an equally impressive meal at the local Italian eatery.


1. Brennan won 3-2: 15-13; 15-13; 13-15; 14-16; 15-6

2. Nigel lost 2-3: 15-13; 21-23; 11-15; 15-4; 13-15

3. Steph won 3-0: 15-6; 20-18; 15-10

4. Gabriel won 3-0: 15-7; 15-8; 15-10

Final result :14 - 5