Last season (20011-12) was one to forget for me. After half a season struggling in Division One, The Ashwells kindly persuaded the league to transfer me to Brian Lomas’s short-handed team in division three. Brian had shockingly lost the cheery Eric Williams, who had passed away around Christmas time.
In Division One I won just one match, beating Norman Hames, who later got his revenge. I did take games off Sean Ward, Jonathan Corry and other top players: good but no cigar. Captain Ryan Wadham and his team finished second from bottom but were spared relegation.
In Division Three I won most of my games, but only just. I could now relax as we settled in mid-table.
This season Dennis Burgoyne joined Brian Lomas and myself in D3 to form “Nemesis” (my name-suggestion). Dennis had not played for many years, so he made quite a gamble. Colin Tyas left us and joined Don Ellis’s team in D4.
Dennis loves to throw up a succession of high, swirling lobs. Every now and then he dashes in to play a blazing forehand kill. Dennis has a fine orthodox backhand but prefers to use that lob. He is quite a character and loves a can of Coke between games!
Captain Brian Lomas is a good, solid, all-round attacking player who would do fine in D2. Like me he plays with an economy of movement and a flashing backhand.
Most of the season we have been second in D3 behind “Urban Juice”: Leo Tsang, Billy Wong and Dave Hanks. In the New Year we were top by one point but they had two games in hand. In fact I only saw them twice fail to win 8-2 or better. We held them to 7-3. They look certainties to become champions. Their high energy attacking play is too much for most players at this level. (Ed - They Won It!).
Actually I “friended” Leo and Billy on Facebook this week. Happily most of the top Grimsby League players are my Facebook friends. Of these, Sean Ward is now the current Men’s Singles Champion. Sean and some other younger players have made a respectable debut this season in the National League. As Lincoln veteran Andy Wignall says, a useful “reality check” for some of our youngsters.
You can only progress as a player by matching yourself against superior opposition. For Sean and Jonathan that simply means taking on opponents from outside Grimsby. My former team-mate Jack Blyth looks well established in D1 now, with one of the leading sides.
Talking of ex team-mates: great to see my old buddy John Holmes is now regularly winning in D4. There was a time when he couldn’t buy a win, but he has completely turned the corner. People like John are what the game is all about.