Saturday 8 October 2011

Another week gone!

So here we are - another week has disappeared into the sands of time.

Since the last post I haven't done a great deal except play a single game of fives on Thursday evening.

I received a callup from Richard Black (whom I had never met) to play for the 'Lancing Fives Club' - Which is a rather grand name for the 4 old men that the team appears to be comprised of. I think someone mentioned to Richard that I was around in the area and keen for a game, and I am glad that they did because the game I played in was excellent. 

After turning up and playing a few points so they could gauge my ability, I was placed placed in first pair to play a best-of-five match against the top charterhouse pairing.
Naturally, as befits any game I have played in recently, the first thing we did was go behind by about 7 points and then struggle our way back into the game. Our opponents were very fast cutting, and made cunning use of the angle, such that I found myself pinned into the buttress a fair few times before finding some form.
Once I did however, we started to play some very good fives, with some long volleying rallies. One even got up to around 20 shots in length, which left me panting up against the wall.

One of the odd things about fives, and fives courts, is that each court seems to be a little bit different. 
Westway has nice even bouncing courts, fairly similar to Eton in size and shape.
Eton has very shiny courts which dont seem to allow for a great deal of spin
Cranleigh has fairly wide courts with grippy plaster on the walls
St John's is just awful.
And Charterhouse has slanty floors.

These slanty floors threw me off for ages during the match, until I worked out where I needed to stand to be in the right position for my favourite shot into the buttress. Unfortunately, because the ball takes a much narrower angle to the floor when it is slanted, it also meant that I was having to hit it much closer to the ground. Which resulted in my 'killer' shot, not only being telegraphed from the back of the court, but also going a great deal slower than usual.

Nevertheless, we pulled ourselves back into the first game and won in good fashion. The second game was equally close, before we finished them off comfortably in the final game.

Fortunately, next week isnt anywhere near as manic on the fives front, and hopefully I will be able to get my heels back to fighting fitness (they get bruised when I play for a long time) Perhaps I need new shoes.

In other news - I went climbing the other day, and since I have been taping my finger during sessions, my pulley has stopped protesting so much - and today it is even feeling good! I'm not sure how long there is till SIBL now, but I might put in a showing at the first round, just because I can. :-D


Wednesday 5 October 2011

Finger Woes

Good day to all,

Another long break since the last post, but no excuses for me except for laziness.

I have been very busy though - Having started my job, and successfully avoided being fired for 5(?) weeks - I can say that I really feel very happy with where I am at the moment.

I work in the chemistry department at Cranleigh school, which is the same place that I went to school. Fortunately for me though, they have built a shiny new centre for sciences and modern languages and this means that I do not have to work in the old, dingy, draughty and dusty department :-)

Added to that, is the fact that the girl I replaced has done a stirling job of setting up the department, such that my only real requirement is to keep things moving in the right direction. I haven't burnt down the department yet, but we have been exploding some hydrogen balloons to great effect.

I am also heavily involved with the sporting side of things - both on my own, and with the students.

A couple of weeks ago I was able to compete with my old fives partner, Phil Roper, in the U25 Fives Nationals. Despite having a 3 year hiatus from playing fives, Phil was still as good as he ever was and we settled into a groove by the end of the tournament that saw us walk out with the 'A plate'.

Phil and Myself with the overall winners trophy (there was no plate available for photos)

Phil, Myself and the Cambridge based Illingworth Brothers

I have to give full credit to the runners up, who were good sports throughout the match. We came very close to losing after we let a close first game slip away, and then proceeded to gift 6 points at the start of the second.
Fortunately after that I found the right state of mind for cut returning and our service games became very competitive. Eventually we came from behind to win another close game and go into the deciding game at 1-1.
My good form with returning continued and we really dominated the final game, running out 12-2 victors at the end.

I have also been playing a lot of fives with the school, as I am in charge of running two sessions on both Tuesday and Thursday with a single session on Wednesday for the new students at the school.
Last night was our first fixture of the season against a roving fives club made up of grey haired, cunning men. Overall, I think that our team looks quite strong at the moment, with potential for some real competition at the school nationals if I can convince them to come down for some training.

Climbing is still taking a bit of a backseat until my finger is where it needs to be for me to pull on it properly. I think this may mean that I will have to miss the first SIBL round to ensure that I can perform properly at the remaining rounds, but so be it.
I did manage to get out to Stone Farm during the recent spell of delightful weather we have been treated too. Unfortunately, the blazing sun also reduced friction horribly and I walked away from a 3 hour session having only achieved a  an obscenely hard '6b+' - difficult to tell given the conditions, but given that both myself and my mate (who has climbed multiple 7b problems) thought that it was nails, it perhaps needs looking at. Video to come.

Anyways, it is about time for lunch now - so toodleoo.