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AEGON U10 Div 3: Writtle 7-6 Danbury

24 May

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(Thurs 24 April)
Danbury Squad: Conor Hall, Dan Atkinson, Owen Hind, Annabel Stone

The Nearly Boys (and Girl)

A great fight back from Danbury almost secured the points but we eventually
lost out on the champions tie-break. A 5pm start and with 4 courts
available you would have thought this would be over quickly but oh
no……… It had gone 7.30pm by the time the final ball was hit in anger,
rumours of my belly rumbles being heard back in Danbury cannot be justified!

Once the Writtle players finally turned up we were straight into the singles
– Conor looked to be in control of his match and was soon 1 set to the good
with a comprehensive 4-1 scoreline. The other matches were more dogged and
there were some unfeasibly long rallies taking place – especially in Owens
match, where I counted one rally of 33 strokes – and that was a short one!
Next to finish the first set was Dan with a hard fought 5-3 victory, not
quite getting into his rhythm but winning out on guts and determination.
Conor had lost some of his rhythm and had allowed his opponent back into the
match – at 2-2 Conor had a couple of break points to go 3-2 up and then
serve for the match but this never quite materialised and Writtle were able
to force the 2nd set 4-2 to set up a champions tie break 3rd set – first to
10, winner takes all. Owen by this time was 3-1 down in his first set and
persevering with the long game strategy. Annabel had doggedly lost her
first set 1-4 but was battling hard and playing some good tennis.

Dan was much stronger in the second set and won out comfortably 4-2 with
some excellent shot selection and winning passes. So after 45 mins 1-0 to
Danbury. Conor was soon trailing quite heavily in his tie break and Writtle
took a 9-3 lead – unbelievably Conor switched back on and through some
excellent hard hitting tennis brought the tie back to 9-9 – the crowd were
going wild(ish). At this point Owen finished his match eventually losing
out 1-4, 1-4 but in over an hour which shows how hard he had fought. So 1-1
and the top seed single in the balance. In the other remaining singles
Annabel was now matching her opponent point for point and had the second set
poised at 3-3. In the top seed match Conor lost out on the 19th point to a
good forehand cross court drive, and unfortunately double faulted the next
point to give Writtle the game and lead overall at 2-1 – it could have gone
either way. So back to Annabel – over an hour and a quarter in and we were
in a tie-break for the second set. Annabel had her tail up and won out
comfortably to take the game to 1-1 and another champions tie-break. The
Writtle player overcame his emotions after losing the second set and took a
commanding lead, Annabel fought hard but couldn’t quite find enough killer
shots and lost out 10-4. So after 1 ½ hrs Writtle were 3-1 up and Danbury
were looking down and out.

A bit of a chat, refreshments, and some tactical planning and the Danbury
teams were up for the challenge. Owen and Annabel were quick into their
shocked opponents, calls of ‘switch’, ‘switch again’, ‘reverse switch’, and
‘shut up Owen’ could be heard all the way up to Graham’s on the Green. But
it was working well and the teamwork paid off handsomely (and quickly) as
they took the first set 4-1. Dan and Conor were similarly pumped up and
once they got their tactics settled and chose their shots correctly ran out
comfortable 4-2 winners in the first set. Dan and Conor continued at a
pace and were in good control throughout the second set, at 3-2 up they
should/could have closed the game out but Writtle plugged away for 3-3. But
this just rallied the boys again and they took the next 2 games to takes the
set and the match, and maintain Dan ‘the man’s 100% record this year. So
3-2 to Writtle. The second set in Annabel and Owens match was much tighter
with Writtle showing increased determination – the match went game for game
1-1, 2-2, 3-3, and then 4-4 to set up a tie-break. Annabel was looking
sprightly and Owen was barking out instructions to good effect. There was
some excellent play from both teams but Danbury’s teamwork was much better
and Writtle got caught out of position too often and Owen was able to punch
his way over the line to take the tie-break and the match. Back in the game
3-3.

So to a Champions Tie-Break – 1 player from each doubles team, in a one-off
10 point tie-break winner takes all shoot out. Our soldiers were Owen and
Conor, fresh from excellent doubles victories, tails up and ready to go to
war. Unfortunately so were their’ s and it was a pretty straightforward
victory for Writtle 10-5, with their top seed dominating in a way that had
been snuffed out in the earlier doubles – perhaps a bit of tactical
complacency crept in when more concentration was required.

So the first ever defeat for this team after 2 ½ years, but some fantastic
spirit shown in the doubles – a long and hard evening’s work by everyone.
Onto the next match….

Scores:
Conor Hall lost to Bradley Hibbitt 4-1 2-4 9-11
Dan Atkinson bt Marcus Thornton 5-3 4-2
Owen Hind lost to Ben Reynolds 1-4 1-4
Annabel Stone lost to Josh Lapidus 1-4 5-4 4-10
Conor and Dan bt Bradley and Marcus 4-2 5-3
Owen and Annabel bt Ben & Joshua 4-1 5-4

Conor & Owen lost to Bradley and Ben 5-10
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