LEICESTERSHIRE V NORFOLK 1
U15 SHIRES LEAGUE
1ST MARCH 2015
Team Leicestershire travelled to nearby (not) Norfolk on a bright and sunny Sunday morning. The devoted kids and parents were looking forward to overtaking Norfolk in the league and hopeful of keeping their play off hopes alive.
Mark gave his team talk to the 10 ‘man’ team, supported by Laura. I was wondering if we’d be done in time for the six nations rugby, though with 9 of the 20 matches going to deciding games then this afternoon would not be over too quickly.
Normally one of our stronger events, we soon found out that an emphatic result would not be on the cards. The early games went to Norfolk and after the first end Leicestershire were down in three out of the four games.
Despite this, Hritika and Ryan got the first point on the board with a tight 21-17, 21-17 win, with Hritika playing a tight cross court drop on the final point.
Jasmin and Tom C, narrowly lost 18-21, 19-21 after being pegged back in the second game.
Issy and Tom L, played well to come back after a 17-21 loss to win the second 21-12 and to carry on winning the decider comfortably again 21-14.
Ella and Martin’s match went on for an age with some extremely long rallies, including a nail biting 26-24 loss in the second game, then losing the decider 15-21.
With this high standard of play it was going to be a long afternoon!
The match after the mixed doubles being evenly poised at 2-2.
Eve and Nikhil after being rested in the mixed, stepped up to take part in the singles. Eve stating that “(she) hadn’t been in a car for 3 hours to lose”. That’s the spirit of Team Leicestershire!
The 3’s and 4’s played first due to Ella and Martin’s marathon match beforehand.
Ryan lost a close game 18-21, 15-21, making Norfolk 3-2 up.
Jasmin won impressively 21-10, 21-16 to level up quickly. A number of long rallies saw Jasmin’s smash come into play.
Nikhil and Eve’s games were taking longer after both losing their first games, but both turned round their games to win overall. Leicestershire went into a 5-3 lead.
Whilst catching our breaths the intrepid reporter missed Hritika demolish her opponent 21-5, 21-1!
The number one boy, Martin suffered a 13-21, 13-21 defeat against a very strong opponent and Ella also losing 18-21, 12-21 against Norfolk’s number one girl, brought the match score close again.
Tom’s fitness showed winning the decider against a tiring opponent impressively 21-9.
Leicestershire had opened up a slight lead being 7-5 up after the singles.
Eight points were up for grabs in the doubles and reverse doubles so Leicestershire needed to play their hearts out to keep ahead.
The Norfolk girls tactfully split their pairings in the girls to make two strong pairings. Would their tactics pay off?
Eve and Issy were first to upset this tactic by easing past Norfolk’s girls winning 21-10, 21-16. 8-5 up!
All the other three matches went to nail biting deciders, with Nikhil and Tom L winning their decider 21-17, Ella and Jas winning theirs 21-16, with Martin and Tom C narrowly losing 19-21.
Leicestershire extended their lead to 10-6, so at least a draw was secured.
Team Leicestershire’s additional fitness training had certainly paid off. Martin and Tom C being immediately ready for their next opponents despite a long three games, whereas the Norfolk opponents were nowhere to be seen!
The reverse doubles started at the same time as the English and Irish rugby players made their way onto the pitch! The odd glimpse showed that Ireland were commencing their victory in the six nations. Which pairing could secure victory for Leicestershire in Norfolk?
That honour went to Issy and Eve confidently beating the top pairing in two games 21-19, 21-13. Victory secured!!!
Martin and Tom C quickly followed with an identical score 21-19, 21-13.
Tom L and Nikhil made the Norfolk top pair work extremely hard for their win, narrowly losing 15-21, 14-21.
The last match of the day to finish was Ella and Jas. After winning the first game 21-16, were found level losing 19-21, before winning the decider 21-18.
The doubles became the backbone of Leicestershire’s win, securing 6 out of 8 victories.
The final score being Leicestershire 13, Norfolk 7.
A further 3 hour journey on the way home was not dampened by the heavy rain and we look forward to our next opponents Warwickshire then Derbyshire 2.
Match report by Mitch Dale.