The pairings of Callum and Steph, Rhian and Matt, and Mark and Terrie saw the mighty Mixed Heath C travel to the far reaches of Bridgend in a top of the table clash. Despite the gods throwing furious weather to discourage Heath C’s attendance and the wind howling like Jo missing an easy net-kill, all players were present and fired up for what promised to be a closely fought battle. Initial signs were good with even Matt Childs arriving early: the last time this happened was when Matt’s local pub were doing a buy-one-get-one-free offer on real ale and buxom wenches.
The bookies were giving evens on either side taking the victory and it was anticipated that the lead would change hands more times than Terrie changes the colour of her hair in a season.
In preparation for the match, Mark had began a heavy carb-loading programme in early November ’14, taken from the Rick Waller training regime. The government had stated that based on his Christmas calorie consumption, Mark was fast becoming an alternative sustainable energy source and he should burn until 2054.
The pre-match team talk was delivered by our gracious leader, Kingy, who is currently side-lined through a calf injury he sustained whilst shaving his legs. The team talk consisted of Kingy drinking shandy and staring glassy eyed into the middle distance, muttering something about playing Llantrisant A and “you don’t know man, you weren’t there.”
Heath C were ably supported by Alex as tactical consultant and official cheerleader, although the absence of a cheerleading outfit and a set of pompoms were noted by all.
Tricky playing conditions meant that all Heath pairs struggled with timing and there was a definite home advantage for the Bridgend side. Callum and Steph both hit form early, playing some exemplary badminton, taking the first game to give the Heath the upper hand. Callum’s performance was all the more impressive as, on arrival, he realised he’d forgotten his shorts. Despite cries for him to go old-school and play in his vest and pants, a pair of shorts were commandeered to avoid him having to expose his Bob the Builder Y-fronts.
To prove they are not only included in the Heath C side as eye candy, Matt’s positive mental attitude combined with Rhian’s determination meant a closely fought contest against the second pair but they were unfortunately pipped at the post.
Terrie and Mark’s performance in the first game brought into question whether the two had actually ever met before. To say they weren’t on the same page is somewhat of an understatement; they didn’t appear to be in the same library, let alone on the same page. As a result of a lack of court time for this new pairing, the game was lost despite it being surprisingly tight.
The score of 2-1 quickly turned to 3-1, with the threat of the match running away from the Heath faster than Andy going for a shower when exam desks need to be put out. The Heath upped the ante to DEFCON 5 and with Terrie and Mark finally getting their act together and another stellar performance from Callum and Steph, 3-1 became 4-3 to Bridgend.
Home advantage proved to be the deciding factor with Bridgend sneaking the remaining games, despite the final rubbers being fiercely contested and going to three. During these final games, it was felt that the opposition employed particularly unfair and un-sportsman-like tactics: this consisted of the disgraceful practice of the Bridgend team playing better than the Heath pairings and scoring more points than they did.
A stern team talk and a public flogging is expected from the Heath’s own Mr. Miyagi, aka Kingy. With the January transfer window still open and the threat of the mixed captain being called before the committee, the season is balanced on a knife-edge. Perhaps a few free Village Hotel spa passes and unlimited bar tab may prove influential to the committee’s decision and motivation of the players…?
Final score: 6-3 to Bridgend Phoenix.