7th League vs. Wits

Well it’s official – ageism has crept into this sport we love Steph. It would appear that the oldest guy in the tie is due to take the fall for this season. Last week it was you, this week it is me. Maybe I should canvas the opposing team prior to team selection and see if there are any older enemies to play and select accordingly. My wife also saw me nursing a niggle and warned me not to play for fear of me hurting myself – did I listen to her? – did I heed my own advice to my team that if they are not 100% fit they should stand down? – these and many more rhetorical questions unfortunately have a definite un-rhetorical answer – “NO!”.

#3 - Playing early is never pleasant, with no team members to help you along – you feel like it’s “me” against all of “them”! I went down to my arch rival “foul-mouthed Roy” who singled me out at the start of the match saying “I don’t care what number you are – I’m playing YOU” with a pointy finger nogal. I lost the first but how unforgivable to lose the second when you are 14-12 ahead. Crappie-Cappie takes on a whole new meaning. After some very astute advice from Ben, I managed to salvage some pride in taking the third but a close 14-16 chase in the fourth was not good enough and I lost. (1-3)

#4 - Ben on next for his debut match in Gauteng League and it needed to be a good one as he was not only trying to balance the score sheets but trying to find some positive resolve to his crappie car troubled day. Boy-oh-boy did he turn the tables on Sanjay. Normally a sweet hitter of the ball but this time he was unsettled from the start and our Sweetmeat Sanjay was a little sour. Ben is still a little wild and a good percentage of his shots are loose but boy can he chase a ball down…even a certain winner gets pulled back into the realm of play and then there are the intermittent tight shots that leave you with no room to move and the opponent is exhausted from hitting winners that never win and it’s game over. Ben disposed of Sanjay in three quick games and puts the team one game ahead. Good first outing Ben! (3-0)

#1 - Then along came Brennan, now that the pressure for dominance was upon us – we needed a solid performance and this from a man who has already had a lunch-time match and endured a PTA meeting – “of what metal are these former 6th league player made?” Brennan goes down in the first closely contested game and all I could say to him in the break was that he is doing nothing wrong except that he needs to do it better and Brennan responded. Tight drives, especially down the backhand and some breathtaking drops (some ghastly ones as well) and then some well-disguised crosscourt backhanders that came from nowhere and the game was on. Brennan goes 2-1 up and he just gets better as he goes along. In the third I see Brennan checking out Stephen and I think he saw what I saw – Stephen was exhausted, mistakes happen, a bit of a temper and a disconsolate Stephen goes down without too much resistance. Here’s to Brennan breaking the mould of taking it to a five setter. (3-1)

#2 – Now it is up to Paul to seal the deal. I personally think that Paul relishes in this kind of pressure – just a thought mind you! Paul takes the first but comes off court saying that he was lucky. Yes, he was – but he too was playing a good game so I urge him to do more of the same with less of the mistakes and Paul obliges by taking the second in relative ease. This time Paul realizes that he needs to keep James behind him in order to keep the advantage but James is a classy player with great potential and he finds his way back into the match and takes a 16-14 third and then a 15-13 fourth and eliciting for us a sight seldom seen – Paul shouting at himself and throwing his racquet! Four years I’ve played with him and never seen it happen – so yes – he is human! Oh yes, Paul was playing without his glasses as well and I never asked him why??? Anyway, back to the game, Paul manages to fulfill his self-analyzed-assessment of keeping James behind him and steers the ship safely home. The match of the night! (3-2)

Ben off home to sort out his car and starving family crisis, James off to his studies and the rest of the motley crew off to Doppios where we find Dave slumming it with the 6th league team (the only place he can win a game these days – shame) and soliciting anybody with earring’s for sex - yes - unfortunately that included me. “Have you no shame man?” A great chow and company completes a good night out where “fun was had” by Chamber Exiles.

Quote: - “Listen to your wife – listen to your inner voice – heed your own rules – don’t hurt yourself!”

Overall result: Won 13 - 6