Match 1: Rob Field def Al Warwick 6-3, 7-5
On a crisp February morning it was business as usual for Rob who had enjoyed a comprehensive victory over me last year (three sets and giving up just 6 games: my biggest loss).
It was tighter this time, my opponent busy adjusting to a new racquet and clearly experimenting with some slice and top-spin as well as setting up points at the net. If not for some uncharacteristic dumped volleys into the net, those forays forward would have resulted in a quicker outcome.
Whilst Rob was solid and spectacular throughout, I had my usual woes, the backhand was jittery and constantly reverting to slice whilst my general movement never really materialised. Both had to contend with an unkempt and ‘earthy’ hard-court but I definitely struggled more.
There were flashes of decent play from yours truly, the serve and forehand cross-court kept me involved and even saw me up 5-2 in the second set before Rob regained concentration.
There was little rallying unfortunately, such is the gulf in class, but some nice points here and there ensured it wasn’t a waste of time and effort.
For Rob, bigger challenges await, for me? well i’ll settle for a dry court next time.