Sutton’s Mighty 5ths were on the road again for their second match of the season as they travelled to Cheam Fields to face their second team. Sutton fielded an unchanged line-up from our first tie with David Lunn and Jason Smythe playing as first pair and Mike Eaton and Derick ‘The Terminator’ Human playing as second pair.
As you know, we have pretty slow courts at Sutton. Whether you prefer the artificial clay or the porous acrylic, you’re going to face a slow ball in our home ties. Cheam Fields, by contrast, have lightning fast AstroTurf courts and by the time you add a ‘winter sheen’ of moisture to that surface, you couldn’t really face an away tie more alien to us. It would pose quite a challenge to survive this one, never mind repeat the 4-0 score line we achieved in our first tie. Still, we are called the ‘Mighty 5ths’ for a reason so we were very up for seeing what we could do with this.
First up our first pair lined up against the opposition firsts. We won a highly convincing first set 6-2 and I must admit to having felt pretty confident at that point that this was going to be our day. The second set was a car crash from our perspective (the police were actually called) and we lost it 6-1. We would need a Champions’ Tie-Break to decide it and, given how the first set went, we’d feel pretty sick if we didn’t end up on top of it. As it is, 10-6 was enough to see us through.
Next, Mike and Derick faced off against Cheam’s second pair. Derick suffered a nasty fall early on and although his metal endoskeleton was undamaged, the living tissue which covers it was torn open and blood was drawn (he had a slight scratch but our readers do like a little drama). The decision was made to move to the next court as that one was deemed unsafe and Mike & Derick finished the job 6-3 6-1. As an aside, the 4 club players who then took to that court included a lady with a broken arm in a plaster cast so I really hoped she wouldn’t go on to fall and break the other arm (she didn’t while we were there).
David and Jason then played the Cheam second pair and, without playing particularly well, did the necessary 6-1 6-4.
The fourth and final rubber really should have been uneventful. True, it was our second pair against the opposition firsts but by now we had such a stranglehold on the tie that it should have been plain sailing. Sutton took the first set 6-4 and took a 5-3 lead in the second. They also had a match point. If at this point you blinked then what happened next would have been confusing to you. 5-3 match point became 6-6, tie-break. Now, on such a fast surface with four men’s serves, such a tie-break would be won by a narrow score. Bound to be. Except, Cheam won it 7-0.
Hmmm! OK. Champions’ Tie-Break it is then. Fresh start, put the last one behind you, four men’s serves and all that. Cheam ran up a 9-0 lead in nothing flat (that’s at least 16 straight points to Cheam and more if they won the 6-5 game). Sutton rallied back to 9-5 but that was where the resistance ended as Cheam secured the final rubber.
Let’s not kid ourselves here – I would always take a 3-1 win, especially away on a very different surface to the ones we are used to, but boy oh boy what happened there? I suppose it must have been either….
….E(a)ton mess or Human error (and probably both).
We march on with a 100% win record from our opening two ties. Next up, Spencer 2 at home.