Match: Knutsford 1 Home to Alsager 1
Date: 3rd February 2011
The all swaggering alsagers swaggered onto the knutsford balcony
in a noisy trio. Our boys were already boasting and driving warming
up for the ensuing battle.
Raring to go our Chris Smith took on the tattoed mr Hammond and an
enthralling match began. Hammond was fast for his 48 years of age
and he picked up all of Chris's loose balls at the front of the
court. After losing the first to 3, Risley started to get changed
ready for a quick finish but some serious coaching took place with
Smith advising Smith to drive deep and wide with cross courts and
to stop those awful boasts when the oppo is on the tee. This began
to work and Chris took the second to 7. More of the same was needed
in the third, but the Smithster kept playing those boasts and found
himself 2-1 down. Now he was starting to look tired and spluttered
to a 1-3 defeat.
So on next was Risley vs Cole, a lean looking chatterbox. A close
match looked in prospect as Cole's retrieval was impressive. 9-6 up
in the first after a 15min game and Risley was confident. But a
loss of concentration and some weak drives saw Cole take a 1-2
lead. Some serious coaching was needed and worked. Risley drove
deep to the backhand and dropped short to draw it level at 2-2. The
match now approaching the hour and Risley took a 4-0 lead in the
final. But Cole dug deep and won the next 8 points after many
swings of service. Risley pulled it back to 7-8 and with both men
digging deep on their reserves it was tense. So match ball to Cole
and he served on the line, Risley stopped, referee Smith not
watching couldn't call and controversy!!! Smith looked worried,
Cole complained, Risley kept stum and justice prevailed. So one
match point saved.... and then another...but the third was too much
and Cole dropped to the forehand, blocking Risley but he was too
tired to call and a firm handshake saw both retire to the bar after
a 75 min match.
So Knutsford 0-2 down and needing some points up stepped our very
own Francis Rossi lookalikey Perry Russell against Mr Raftery. The
warm up told of things to come, with both men knocking the spots
off that rubber ball. The first wasn't close and looked like the
match was going Alsagers way. But Perry ain't no push over and got
a 7-0 lead in the second until his groin gave way. He dug deep and
eventually won it 9-7. But how was he going to manage? Our man is
made of stronger stuff and battered Raftery all around the court
with his imperious cross court drives and backhand kills to knick.
He took the next comfortably to win 3-1.
With it all to play for and with Smith and Burke yet to play it
was going to go down to the wire. Smith seniors last match for
knutsford and he went out in a blaze of glory. Never flustered he
took the game with some fabulous deep cross courts, tight and deep
driving followed by drops to knick. His oppo had a strong cross
court driving game and was quick but not good enough for our man.
He bowed out with a majestic performance and will be sorely
So all down to The Burkenator on court 1. Could he pull the win
out of the bag. A close first game saw John lose in a tie break.
After a flurry of points with some incredible pick ups at both the
fron and the back of the court our man took the next 9-6, closely
followed by the next to take a 2-1 advantage. All was looking good
and our man was ready for the kill but Alsager were not going down
easily. A tough 4th game saw some long rallies which started to
wear Burkey down. His steam ran out and went down 3-9, 2-9. So a
close match and Knutsford actually got more points than
Some soul searching required for the end of season run in.