SECF Level Play: Sussex A against Surbiton

The Sussex A team traveled to Surbiton on Wednesday 24th to play our final match of this year’s campaign.
In an effort to field a stronger team, Surbiton’s captain Gavin Taylor had made some changes from last year’s line-up. This included not playing himself and the return to the team of the very experienced Don Beck.

The Sussex players were:- 
Richard Brooks  -2 (capt.)
Morgan Case  -2
Liz Farrow  -1
Paul Castell  -1

Surbiton’s team was:-
Don Beck  -1
Andrew Wilson  0
Barry Holland  1
Martin Burger  3
Gavin Taylor (non playing capt.)

With a nine point handicap advantage we were considered to be the favourites, however what ensued was a very close match indeed.

On arrival we were rather taken aback by the state of the lawns. They must have suffered more than we did from the hot dry spell. Quite a lot of debris from a recent mowing was evident, particularly on lawn 2 where the doubles was played. It was also disappointing that their groundsman decided that he should remark the boundary lines whilst the match was in progress. 

Now I’ll stop wingeing and get to the match itself. Morgan and I struggled to adjust to the conditions and lost the doubles 2-1. The singles were one apiece at lunch with Liz winning hers and Paul losing his, the score line being 2-0 in each.
Going into the afternoon session we needed to win three of the four remaining matches to gain a victory. 
Conditions on lawn 2 were a little easier after the break, with the debris having by now been largely broken up and dispersed by the footfall of the players.
Morgan was first to finish, winning his singles against Andrew 2-0 and this was followed by Paul beating Martin 2-1.
Next to finish was myself and Don who I first played in a competitive match about fifteen years ago. It was the final of the SECF singles which was played annually at Compton. This competition is no longer in the calendar, replaced by the Southern Challenge, regrettably as far as I’m concerned. Don won on that occasion and also in this match 2-1 (I wonder if he remembers what happened to the claret jug?).
Now in their third game and unbeknown to Liz the the match result now hung on her tussle with Barry, which she won 2-1.
The final outcome was Sussex A  beat Surbiton  4-3

I would like to thank my team who saved the day for me in this match and also to thank Bob Clark who played for us in earlier matches. We wish him a swift recovery from his broken arm.

I apologise for this rather lengthy report. If you’re still reading it I can assure you that it will be my last as a SECF team captain. After two seasons and eight consecutive wins I’ve decided it’s time to hand over to someone else. I had informed my team members of this halfway through the year so it will no surprise to them.

Richard Brooks 

(The Webmaster would like to thank Richard for consistently providing match reports for the teams he has captained.)