Moreton v Hatfield
Hatfield sent a 5 strong team to Moreton Morrell for the match on Saturday and got off to a good start with Martin Tate and his eclectic range of serves proving too much for David Aldwinckle with Martin taking the rubber 0-6, 2-6.
Next up were friends Tony Branfield and John Tacchi. Visitor John had embarked on his match plan the night before by encouraging Branfield to drink more red wine than was strictly good for him and it was a plan that provided early benefit with Tacchi taking the first set 1-6. The shock may have woken Branfield up who was able come back taking the second set 6-2. Branfield was able to carry his new-found form into the final set winning 6-4 and levelling the match at 1-1.
Tim Messer and Nick Pickard then played out another three set thriller with Moreton’s Messer taking the first set 6-3 before Pickard responded with a 6-2 set of his own. With the day’s games now running late lunch was served as the pair went into a final set. Your correspondent understands his priorities and is happy to report that the roast pork lunch was well received by the players from both teams and particular praise was lavished on the pear and chocolate crumble alongside the custard. It appears that while we were eating Messer was able to secure the final set 6-5 so it might have been quite exciting. With Messer and Pickard finally able to take their seats at the table and tuck into their reserved helpings the match stood at 2-1 to Moreton Morrell.
The unfortunate players forced to take to the court immediately after lunch were John Cook and James Barlow but this did not stop them from serving up another close rubber to a packed if somewhat sleepy dedans. The first set went down to the wire with Hatfield’s Barlow taking the deciding point at 5-5, 40 all before taking the second set 4-6 to win the rubber 2-0.
With the match tied it was down to the team captains to decide the outcome. Hatfield’s Richard Williams who had flown back to the UK from the Far East that morning lost the first set 6-3 to Moreton’s Bruce Paxton who also had the additional advantage of having skipped lunch. Unencumbered by jet-lag and crumble Paxton then fell 1-6 in the second set taking the rubber and the match into a final set. In another well fought third set Williams emerged triumphant 5-6 giving the honours for the day to Hatfield.