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London C vs Surrey C match report

Inter CountyLONDON C 22 – SURREY C 22

We ended the season with a real cracker of a game on Sunday, a match which swung one way and then the other (no jokes please) and finally ended in a draw. On paper this was probably a fair result although I think a few of us will be kicking ourselves for missed chances. There were a few games where we were on the black first and failed to finish, and there were also those games, mainly on JFK’s table of death, Table 8, where some outrageous luck went against us, and Danny, Will and Mark are among those who have every right to look to the heavens and wonder what is going on. But having said that these things tend to even themselves out and no doubt the Surrey boys are also focusing on missed chances in the games they lost, so let us all settle for an amicable draw. It does mean we don’t get to finish third, and it just about prevents us from having a balanced season in terms of wins and losses, but on the positive side it means we finish unbeaten during the home stretch of the season and look forward to starting 2010’s campaign with renewed vigour.

We started brilliantly against Surrey – we went 5-0 up thanks to Alex, Graham, Nigel, Mark and Akar (a famous five of an opening line-up), but I am told this was not the first time this season Surrey fell 0-5 in arrears and they quickly picked themselves up with a win over a totally unlucky Danny. This started a small comeback as defeats for Joe, William and Patrick pulled them to within a frame. John and Michael – handpicked by me as two outstanding back-order players – put us back on track. Michael was AWESOME, break-dishing with real style.

7-4 up but they started the next quarter better than us. Alex lost and Graham won, but defeats for Nigel (his first since returning to county), Mark and Akar brought things level. Danny and Joe then reversed their previous defeats to take us ahead, but William and Patrick both lost again to level it up, and when John lost we were behind for the first time. Mikey then played another blinder, dishing off his opponent’s break. In fact, he had already started his game and looked set to do that previously only to discover he had the wrong opponent. The game was re-started and he continued in the same vein! Patrick asked whether his game could be replayed as well in case he had played the wrong opponent. No, came the reply from Brian Petty, he just played the wrong shot.

So, even stevens at half-time, and time to regroup. But defeats for Alex and Graham meant we fell behind early in the third quarter, and were playing catch-up for much of it. Nigel and Mark both won, but Akar, Danny and Joe all lost. Team spirit really started to show through, though – we were now three frames in arrears but William, Patrick and John played solid games to level the match once again. Mikey lost the final game of the session, the only blip on his otherwise impressive day, so we were one behind going into the final stretch.

Then, when Alex and Graham both lost again, we were back to three behind and running out of games. Nigel’s win gave us some comfort but did not start a revival and defeats for Mark and Akar took us to four behind, the most we had been. Danny won but Joe lost so we remained four in arrears as William took to the table. We could not afford to lose a single other game, we were now playing for the draw and I hoped I had picked the right players to produce the goods when the pressure was on. William won. Then Patrick won, turning a game he was going to lose into a win thanks to a mistake by his opponent. Then within seconds John was finishing off his balls on the other table, and before we knew it, we were all looking at Mikey as he played the final frame against Surrey skipper Simon knowing a win would earn us the draw. Mikey thrives on the pressure – I’ve captained him at Yarmouth enough times to know he loves that stuff, and always pulls out the monster game when it is most needed. This was no exception. Simon had the advantage early on, and there was little Mikey could do as he lined up a clearance from his break, but he snookered himself and made a mess of the escape, letting our boy back in. Mikey composed himself and went about his business. It was a well-earned draw at the end of the day.

Graham ends up as the C team’s top player, having won more frames than anyone else. Things were tight between him and Mark for a while but Mark got pulled up to the Bs and lost ground. Those two guys have been awesome all season but then again, everyone has done their bit and there are no weak links in this team.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me through these first few games of my captaincy. I am still learning the ropes but I’ve had tremendous support and assistance, not least from vice-captain Mikey, also from ex-skipper Jeremy, and from Nigel who has come in for two of these last three matches at my request to lend his experience and help steady things up (and has done us proud with 7 from 8). Everyone in the team has chipped in and it has really felt like a team so I am looking forward to next season. There will be some team changes of course, but whatever comes, I am sure London C will be competitive again. I can feel it in my bones.

Best wishes to all

The Doctor


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