Match 2: Sophie Dobinson and Al Warwick def Sherrie Pemberton and Mike Drain 6-4, 6-2
There’s much to be said about the consumption of sport and the subsequent effects on one’s own game and technique.
My long-suffering fiancée is clearly a case in point, as she has, over the years been made to watch copious amounts of the sport of kings both on the telly and live at Wimbledon , Roland Garros and the ATP Finals.
That and a fair bit of actual playing recently has seen great gains in her consistency and general technique. Both were evident last week as for much of our first match against regular foes she was the best player.
Our opponents; Mike and Sherrie are a good match in terms of overall skill, but had turned up late to the cold Colchester courts allowing me and Soph some valuable warm-up time.
It proved the difference as Sherrie needed time to get back into the swing (pun intended) after a long time away from the court. Mike had enjoyed a decent singles match the previous weekend and – as so many of us do – was perhaps guilty of expecting everything to click into place straightaway.
When things inevitably didn’t he will admit himself that his usually bulletproof consistency and composure was at times absent.
It didn’t help that Sophie was getting to everything he fired at her (mainly flat medium pace groundies) and wasn’t simply patting the ball back in play but dismissing it with short aggressive slices and decent cross-court angles.
Me? I tried to improve my game at the net and for the most part it worked, some stop volleys were a little too close to the lines for comfort but it proved a decisive factor which got team ‘Dobwick’ out of a few tight spots.
Although the scoreline suggested otherwise, Sherrie really found her form in the second set with several devastating overheads and an excellent first serve percentage but it was too late.
It was a result very much against the formbook, and I doubt things will play out similarly next time, hopefully in warmer climes.