Match report written by Bob Landberger
The friendly rivalry between Wingfields C and D goes back many years, back to the days when the teams were known as ECC, when Maureen Spry, Liz Newman and Jackie Whitehorn would regularly do battle against Derek Bishop, Mike Ware, Bob Landberger and Peter Holland. Whilst some of the cast have sadly departed, never to be forgotten, the rivalry today remains as friendly and intense as ever. Following last season’s unwelcome hiatus, the encounter this week, going 7-5 to the home team, firmly upheld that long tradition. It is great to be doing battle again.
On Thursday evening, Wingfield C hosted a fellow Wingfield team for the second time in a week, and, just as they had done previously against Wingfield B, blasted their way to a 5-1 lead. Sadly, their energy levels again began to dip, just as those of the D team ignited, and the distinct possibility loomed of another draw being snatched from the jaws of victory. Fortunately for the hosts, Louis Wilshire, who has moved up to join the ranks of the C team this season, took the plaudits with his second maxi of the season, ably supported by Bob Landberger, while Peter Holland suffered a rare and surprising off-night. Again, it was a match of two halves, the D team winning the second half of the match 4-2, but not quite able to bring the match back to level terms.
There was no sign of the eventual closeness of the match as the home team stormed the first five sets. Landberger resisted Chris Devlin’s fightback to notch up a rare victory against him in the fifth leg, and managed to restrict Neil Sear’s vicious forehand loop to shade it in four. Neil is another welcome name from the past who has once again picked up his bat, and is a very welcome addition to the D team. Wilshire and Holland won their opening singles matches against Sear and Whitehorn respectively, each in three straight, and then teamed up to take the doubles in four. With the match at 0-5, Devlin had other ideas, and not only demolished Holland’s unbeaten record, he hit him off the table to gain a rare win against Peter, as did Sear, despatching him in three with simply unstoppable looping. Jackie Whitehorn had suffered two straight-set defeats by the time she faced Landberger, but she played with precision and tenacity, and undid his defence with some well-placed defence of her own, along with her very selective but effective hitting.
While his team-mates were showing signs of faltering, Wilshire, under the weather all evening with a headache, was having none of it. Despite the continual administering of performance-diminishing drugs during the evening, he collected a very well-deserved maxi. In his final set against Devlin, he dropped the first leg, the only one he conceded all evening, but came back to win the next three without being overly troubled.
In the remaining doubles, Sear’s looping came into its own and neither of the home team’s pairings could do anything to counter it, thus enabling Neil to maintain his unbeaten doubles record.
So, by the end of the evening, another illustrious chapter in this long-standing rivalry had been written, this one going the way of the home team - just. The return, and next episode of the continuing saga, will doubtless be eagerly anticipated by both teams.