Mens 1st v Oxshott 3s - MATCH DRAWN 2-2
Sat 03 Nov 2018
RLTC Mens 1st Team v Oxshott 3s
MATCH DRAWN 2-2
Thanks to Antoine de Cottignies, Cameron Kavanagh, Frank Malone and Iain Ure who braved an early start, Arctic conditions and possibly some after effects of the Teams' end of Summer season night out as they travelled out to Oxshott for the opening match of the Winter season.
Despite unwavering commitment and spells of quality, Richmond’s strengths were neutralised by the conditions as well as the opposition, and they could only manage to come away with a draw on the artificial clay of Oxshott.
Opening up the tie against Oxshott’s first pair, Antoine & Iain played patient and effective doubles. They gradually increased pressure on the solid opposition through high quality returning and by giving nothing away on serve. Breaks of serve duly came and the Richmond pair took the rubber confidently 6-3, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Frank & Cameron were unable to unlock Oxshott’s unusual second pairing, despite bodies being put on the line. Contending with zero pace and lobs or drop-shots from one opponent and heavily top-spun groundstrokes from the other, the Richmond pair battled ferociously – even to the extent of forward rolls and a nasty graze – but ultimately lost this clash on the clay 3-6, 2-6.
Antoine & Iain, keen to avenge the drawn Richmond blood, took tactical advice from Frank & Cameron before launching a passage of next level tennis to put the yin/yang Oxshott second pair to the sword – at least initially. In cruise control at 5-1 up in the first set, the Richmond first pair’s concentration seemed to waver: unforced errors flooded in and the initiative was gifted back to Oxshott, who creditably hauled themselves back into there set to force a tie-break. And it was a humdinger, with momentum swinging back and forth and set points coming left, right and centre; but the pivotal moment eventually came and a huge roar of “Allez!” from Iain signalled the taking of the tie-break (10-8) and – as it turned out – the match: Antoine & Iain raced away to take the second set without losing a game, winning the rubber 7-6, 6-0.
Frank & Cameron, still frustrated by their defeat in their first rubber, set about their second positively enough. However, despite adjusting to ‘normal’ tennis again they couldn't generate enough momentum to seize the initiative from the solid Oxshott first pair. Games were close and there were several net-cords and line-balls, but breaks always seemed to go to the home side and Oxshott slowly turned the screw to grind out the win.