Sunday 23 September 2012

U25 Fives Nationals

This weekend was the Under 25s Fives Nationals, held at Highgate school in North London, and I was present!

I applied as a free agent of sorts and was paired up on the day with another player.

Fortunately, I was to play with a pretty good player called Joe Marks. Joe used to be a top player at Highgate school, and was fairly similar in standard to myself. This is important in fives, as a weaker player can definitely be taken advantage of in a competitive game.

This effect was actually observed in one of our group fixtures, where we faced off against one of the best players in the uk, paired with a good (but significantly less talented) player. By working on this weakness, we came out on top with some good play. Eventually winning our group.

I had been playing some fives earlier in the week (actually quite a lot  due to school training and then match practice with the brigands) and my shoulder was still in a bad way by the time I turned up on saturday morning. After the group stage, it was definitely starting to protest the continued usage.
Undeterred, I went to get lunch. While we were out, I picked up some painkillers and by the time we started again, they had begun to kick in. Unfortunately, I wasnt cutting with my usual power and spin, so we were rather less effective than usual when defending points.
I feel as though we would have done better if that was not the case, but we did fairly well given the circumstances.
The first game after the group stages were against some Welsh players, who were pretty decent players. Fortunately, they made more mistakes than us over the course of the game, and we accelerated away from them towards the end when we worked out how to best win points.

This put us through to the Semi Finals against a couple of my friends - the Bhattacharya brothers.
I have lost to Abs and Aroop before, but we were playing pretty well throughout the day, and despite my shoulder frustrations, I thought we had a good chance of making it to the final.
We lost the first game 12-9 due to some poor shot selection at the end of the game, but felt that we could win the following two if we put our minds to it.
The next game went much better, with a quick win 12-7.
Unfortunately it all went a bit pear shaped in the final game, with a lot of time spent swapping serves at 8-8. Finally Abs and Aroop won out with some quick points, to pull ahead and win the final set and proceed to the final.

I dont think it would have made a great deal of difference who would have made it to the final, as Laurie Brock and AJ were imperious in their tournament victory, winning easily in 3 games.

I expected my shoulder to feel horrendous this morning, but I think I must have looked after it well after I took the pain killers, because it actually feels less stiff now than it did on Saturday.

On an unrelated note
My hand still feels a bit crap after a climbing session at the start of next week, I havent climbed since about tuesday, so hopefully itll heal up soonish so I can get back to doing some training.

Cheers all.

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