On Sunday 25th June, Sutton’s Mighty 5ths played their first home tie of the season. It was also our first match on the freshly resurfaced top tier and a considerable shift from the very fast courts of our match away to Cheam Fields earlier in the month. Our porous acrylic is so slow that you can actually make tea in between the shots during a rally (plenty of milk and no sugar for me please).
The Mighty 5ths welcomed Chipstead’s 2nd team (against whom we’ve had some cracking matches in the past) and we looked forward to another in a similar vein. We also had a slight twist on our familiar lineup welcoming back Jake Fellows for his first match in a while and also welcoming Sean Channon in his debut match for us.
Given that Sean normally plays for our 6th team, we decided to pair him with our strongest player (Jason) and put David and Jake together in order to create two pretty even pairs. As things turned out, Sean produced such an assured performance that we could easily have paired him with anyone and he would have held his own quite comfortably.
First up, David and Jake opened against the opposition first pair. David and Jake have played together many times before and Jake has always been exceptional. Indeed, David has coasted off Jake’s considerable talent to such an extent that he really only needed to be there to make up the numbers. Today, Jake decided to give David a share of any glory to be had by (very selflessly) throwing in more double faults than he has probably ever served before in his life. Naturally, Jake remained pretty solid elsewhere (especially overhead) but he allowed his serve to go (very) AWOL so as to give David something to do. David actually served pretty well and so we ran out 7-5 7-6 winners. (Verdict: very well done).
Next up Jason and Sean opened their account by taking apart the opposing second pair 6-1 6-1. (Verdict: minute steak).
David and Jake then took on Chipstead’s second pair and, despite a few more double faults than we would normally be comfortable with, did the business 6-1 6-3. (Verdict: rare).
All that remained was for Jason and Sean to try to mop up Chipstead’s first pair for the whitewash. It was a tougher match than the scoreline suggested but in truth the visitors had already had their chips in this tie. They were fried, salted and served 6-2 6-3. All that was missing was ketchup. (Verdict: medium).
And so, with two matches played and two matches won, the table is tantalisingly poised. Both Sutton’s Mighty 5ths and Dulwich 3 have played two and won them both. Both teams have won 7 rubbers and lost 1. Both teams have won 15 sets and lost 2 and Dulwich sit above us by dint of a fractionally better win ratio of games. So be it. For now.
Today was useful. We learned that Sean is a fine player, very much at home in this division. We picked up valuable points against an old rival for whom we have much respect. We went most of the way towards reeling in Dulwich and our season is now finely poised. Perhaps we’ll even be headhunted by the club’s new caterers (if you haven’t yet sampled Gosto Fino’s menu, you really must but if it’s steak and Chips you’re after, ask for Sutton’s Mighty 5ths).
We thank Chipstead for a fine match and wish them all the best in their remaining fixtures.
Sutton’s Mighty 5ths will return on Sunday 30th July as they face Reedham Park 2 away.