October 2nd, 2013

New at New England in Newport, RI

   The first match up was Barney Tanfield (NY) against Tony Hollins (NE). Barney has been one of the most on form players in the National League for the last year, but Tony has also been improving and getting better results.

   The match started with Tony coming out very fast. Solid returning and few errors saw him take an early 2/0 lead. Barney fought back to 2/2 before Tony surged ahead again 4/2. Tony seemed to be in full control of the match, keeping Barney on the defensive on serves, and controlling the pace of the game. We all know in court tennis though, that things can change quickly, and that’s exactly what they did. Before Tony knew what had happened Barney had taken the first set 6/4. A few crucial errors from Tony had cost him the set.

   The second set saw more of the same. Great rallies generally being controlled by Tony, but Barney was starting to break him down. The frustration started to show in Tony’s game with a few more errors, and at 4/4 Barney took the lead and never looked back. He closed out the match with a final score of 6/4 6/4.

   Next up was James Stout (NY) against Rich Smith (NE). James came out ready to play, retrieving balls that seemed impossible, and finding the grille more often then not. Rich tried to stick to a game plan of railroad serves and shots to the backhand, but James seemed to always have an answer. Before long the first set was over 6/0 to Stout.

   The second set Rich came out more aggressive, trying to put a bit more pressure on James. It started to work, bringing out a few more errors from Stout. Rich found himself up 5/3 with Stout trying hard to fight back and end the match in straight sets. Rich held strong though, and took the set 6/4 with some great forcing in the final game of the set.

   The third and final set started at 3/3, which Rich may have thought was to his advantage. Stout thought otherwise though taking the first game to love, and putting all of the pressure on Rich. James went back to being very consistent, and forced errors from Rich early in the set. This proved to be the difference as the set went 6/3 to James, and that was the match 6/0 4/6 6/3.

   The final match of the night was the doubles. New England had already lost the night but knew that every point would be crucial to making the end of season finals. The teams were set, Tony and Rich (NE) against Barney and James (NY).  Tony and Rich came out firing, bringing as much pace as they could to show the NY team they meant business. It worked as they grabbed an early lead, and put all the pressure on New York. Barney and James did well to fight back, but having already dug a hole they just never seemed to get out of it. New England stayed ahead the whole time, always finding themselves on the right side of long rallies. There was some incredibly volleying, and some interesting shot selection at times, but eventually New England closed out the match 8/5.