Last night, had a match against a team who were joint 2nd in our league, 1 point behind my team, in 1st position. They played their team who as of yesterday:
Player 1: 91% average
Player 2: 86% average
Player 3: 47% average
If you've been reading my previous blogs, you'll know that I've been struggling with my match play recently. It really hit my confidence, and I just felt like I'd forgotten how to play TT properly and win! This match had a lot on it as whoever won would jump well clear of the other into 1st position in the league, and I had been nervous that I would just fall to pieces against these better players. Whilst I've still be clawing results out recently, I've not felt comfortable at all, and certainly haven't been playing TT as fluently as I can (even on a bad day)..
1st game on saw me play their Player 1. 1st end, I don't know what happened, I think I lost it 11-4, and it was really dreadful. I'd had a good knock before, but I kept missing every single shot, by no small exaggeration. I think the other player thought it was his lucky day. I was feeling pretty bad at this point, I felt like I was going down that hole again where I can't play! The guy had anti on his BH and inverted on FH, very consistent BH and blocking, and strong FH. Only his serves let down his general game IMO. I knew I had to play better to win, and I found myself 8-0 up in the 2nd! I think I won this end 11-3. So really, from here, it was back to square 1; best of 3. From here it was much tighter, and it ended up going to 5, and I won. I felt we were both evenly matched, but I played the better game and I had a few more attacking options, and I managed to hold back his attack. I even went back and lobbed a few which he hit off the end - a sure booster for me, and demoralization for my opponent! Really happy.
Next game was against their 3rd player, no problems here, reasonable player, but no threats to be worried about, 3-0.
My final game, against their 2nd player, whos also a guy I practice with at Draycott. He's beaten some of the top Draycott players, and is a very on/off player, with strong attack, serves, touch etc, but falls apart at time. In practice I'm 50/50 with him, and it showed here. We were both in each others slipstream throughout the match, but he took the 5th with which was, from my POV, some beautiful shots. I know where I went wrong, and how I could have played better etc, but this guy really outplayed me in the final end, the shots stunned me! I was playing well, and getting my openers on, but he was really on them, some of the touch shots he played off them were immense, and when I attacked, he went back, then countered brilliantly. This was what I was feeling at my end, anyway!
So yeah, we won 7-3. The guy I lost two beat one of our other players in 5 and lost to our other player in 5, IMO he was the best player of the night, producing some winning shots out of nowhere, very regularly! The win against their other good player gave me alot of confidence, and even my loss, I really feel like I'm back on track with my TT. Played more like how I feel I should play, but I still have alot of loose ends to tie up. Aside from my game, there was some really great TT played on the night, the best match for a spectator I've played in all season.
Weak points now: Shot choice (mainly on placement, not my position) and loose ends on attacking; missed a few that I know I should put away (need more composure in big rallies). Serves are always weak, got to sort that over summer!