Match report written by Bob Landberger
It has generally been the case for the past six or seven seasons that Ottery B and Wingfield C have been close running mates in the league. Last season, unusual to say the least, saw the balance go heavily in favour of OSM, who collected a rare, if not unique 10-2 win on their table and completed the double with an 8-4 victory in Heavitree.
On Thursday evening, Wingfield went some way to redressing the balance as they crafted a well-deserved 7-5 victory on Ottery’s table. Once again, all the plaudits went to Louis Wilshire, who has settled into his new team with considerable aplomb, as he collected his third maximum of the season, arguably his best so far. He compounded the agony on the home team by teaming up with Bob Landberger and Peter Holland to win both his doubles, and so there can be no argument as to who was the player of the match.
Louis has mastered playing with pimples to such an extent that he is giving all sorts of players a very hard time as he continues to forge his way up the rankings. Not by any means that he had things all his own way, as he was taken the distance by both Mike Kavanagh and Guillaume Gaston. Chris Jones, on the other hand, offered token resistance in the third and final leg, but the tide was inevitably in Wilshire’s favour.
Out-of-sorts Peter Holland, still shaking off the effects of a heavy cold, took Chris Jones to four very long, hotly contested legs, but eventually lost out. The closeness of the match is reflected in the minimum margin in three of the legs, and it was only as Peter’s energy levels sapped in the fourth that any clear daylight appeared between the pair. Peter also took the first two legs from Guillaume Gaston, but the latter’s admirably consistent serving, returning and effective forehand eventually won the day. For the second consecutive match, Holland collected a solitary win, coming back from 1-2 down to take the decider against Mike Kavanagh.
When Bob Landberger faced Jones, he was like a rabbit trapped in the headlights, unable to do anything to stop a tide of blistering hitting, and succumbing all too quickly to an embarrassing thrashing. This was in stark contrast to the way he had consistently chiselled away at Mike Kavanagh’s left-handed backhand to fight his way back into contention, having gone two legs to one down, and emerged the victor 11-9 in the fifth. He also was within a whisker (or more precisely, an untimely net cord at 9-10) of taking the impressive Gaston to a decider.
Spare a thought for Mike Kavanagh. All three of his singles sets went the distance, and he ended up on the wrong side of all of them! He lost the final leg of each of his singles 9-11, 9-11 and 8-11 respectively. On another night, he could have emerged with a maximum, but this was destined to be Wingfield’s, and Louis Wilshire's night.