Hatfield v Moreton Morrell
Morton were at Hatfield for the first away fixture of the season with Norman Hyde taking to the court for Moreton in the first rubber against Adrian Akers. Hyde got off to a great start with some excellent play taking the fist set 3-6 before Akers found his form in the second set responding with a comfortable 6-2 win. The deciding short set was more evenly matched but went to the home side 6-4.
The second rubber saw Martin Hornby taking on Moreton’s John Franklin in a tight first set which went to the home player 6-5. Martin was able to complete the rubber with a simpler 6-3 win in the second set.
The third of five rubbers saw David Wood maintain the home sides form against Tony Branfield taking the first set 6-4. Branfield did show some signs of recovery in the first set having been 5-2 down but they were not on show for the early stages of the second set with Wood racing to a 3-0 lead and looking to complete the match win for Hatfield. But then Branfield began to read the court better keeping some of his shots off the penthouses and clawed his way back to 4-4 before taking the set 4-6. The final short set saw both players trade games with Wood successfully defending one match point against him to get to 5-5. In the deciding game Branfield introduced short chases into his game at 30-15 up setting 2 yards and 1 & 2 which Wood was unable to beat giving the rubber to Branfield and keeping Moreton in the match.
Mark Leefe now had the job of winning to keep Moreton in the match as several Moreton players were keen to point out to him as he made his way on court. Leefe seemed to thrive on the pressure with a comfortable win over Hatfield’s Don Fahrenheim 2-6, 1-6.
Having tied the match at two rubbers each the responsibility for deciding the fate of the match fell to James Richardson for Moreton and James Barlow for Hatfield. Richardson was able to maintain the Moreton momentum easily taking the first set 0-6. But then Barlow got to grips with his game improving his returns and starting to place his shots more accurately forcing more errors from Richardson. The turnaround was almost complete with the set going to Barlow 6-2. The final short set saw some fine forces for the dedans from Richardson matched by several forehand shots into the corner under the grille from Barlow. With games traded the rubber and match went into a deciding game.
Barlow served taking the lead before Richardson managed to retrieve a difficult short shot heading for the corner under the grille setting chase the door. Richardson then found the dedans off Barlow’s serve before Barlow took the next point and then found the corner under the grille again 30-30. Barlow found the tambour beating Richardson sending him to the service end to defend chase the door. A short return to the main wall sent Richardson scurrying for the back hand shot but it was a stretch too far with Richardson only able to find the net. Barlow took the rubber and Hatfield the match.