Today at the club we held the 1st leg of the second annual Winter Friendly against Caerleon. The match started in dry but quite cold weather until mid-morning the sun broke through when it warmed up considerably – at least for the time of year. The competition was played using the Cup for Clubs format but extended to 9 singles, 4 doubles and 3 triples. Using the C4C scoring system meant that there were 45 points on offer so 23 were needed for victory.
The singles got underway with Roger Griffin, Mike Jones, Roger Green, Gareth Spencer, Phil Roberts, Sean Smith, Michelle Spencer and Gill Greenwell playing in the open singles with Jayne Dunn filling the last spot in the Ladies singles. As the games progressed it looked as though Monkstone were building an early lead which they managed to maintain, winning 7 out of the 9 singles for a lead of 14 points to 4. Special mention should be made of Gill Greenwell who won her first ever singles game 13-9.
So it was onto the doubles with Roger Grif & Vickie Adshead forming the mixed pair with Sean Smith & Amanda Jenkins, Peter Kensett & Gill and Gareth & Jane McGirr forming the open pairs. It soon became obvious that this round was likely to be a lot closer than the singles with Monkstone up in 2 and down in 2. Roger & Vickie won quite convincingly by 13 -3 but the next 2 results went against Monkstone. The round was saved when the whistle blew with Gareth and Jane leading 8-4 for a second round draw of 6 points each and an overall score of 20 points to 10.
Being lunch time, this was an excellent time to have a break in play for hot soup, bread, cakes, mince pies etc which was very welcome as, despite the glorious sunshine, there was still a bit of a nip in the air. At the end of the break, President, Mike Jones, thanked everyone for coming to play and he also thanked Joy Griffin & Vickie for the hot soup and all those, including some from Caerleon, who had provided cakes and mince pies.
Resuming the match with triples, in which each encounter was worth 5 points, Monkstone only needed 1 win out of the 3 to reach the 23 points required for victory. Roger Green, Phil & Jayne formed the mixed triple whist the open triples were Bernard Adshead, Jane & Michelle and Peter, Amanda and Vickie. Could Monkstone secure the one win they needed. Things were looking good when the mixed team and B, J & M opened up leads over their opponents although they were behind in the other open triple. As we approached the 60 minute time limit P, A & V had gone down 13-4 and just before the time was up R, P & J recorded a 13-9 win. B, J and M had lead 10-3 at one point against Tansy Mayfield, Gemma & Sue Foster. A change in playing order by the Caerleon triple saw them come back to 10-8. Points went to both sides when, with Monkstone leading 12-10 and Caerleon holding 1 with a boule to come, the final whistle sounded – the last boule was thrown to try to secure a draw but it fell short and Monkstone held on for a 12-11 win.
So after this nail biting finish, Monkstone had won the 1st leg by 11 games to 5 and 30 points to 15, Well done to Monkstone especially our “new” ladies, Gill, Amanda & Jane – but it’s not over yet. It’s on to the 2nd leg at Caerleon scheduled for 12 January 2020.