Round Four: Air-IT Nottingham vs Birmingham University
It has been a frustrating start to the season for Air-IT Nottingham having lost two of their opening three matches. Tonight they faced Birmingham University a side that they have defeated at home in the past three seasons. On paper the night was always going to be close with both teams fielding nearly full strength.
1. Alan Clyne – Air-IT Nottingham (3) vs Peter Creed – Birmingham (0)
The next match up saw a contest between two National Champions. Alan Clyne the Scottish No.1 was playing for Air-IT Nottingham up against the Welsh No.1 Peter Creed for Birmingham. Both players are renowned for their dynamic movement and the first game did not disappoint with some fantastic retrieving from both players. Towards the end of the game Creed looked like the punishingly hard rallies were beginning to take their toll with the game going to Clyne 11/7. The Air-IT man kept the pressure and pace up right from the start of the second game taking it 11/4 before continuing straight into the third, taking it 11/2. 1-0 to Nottingham.
5. Hana Ramadan – Air-IT Nottingham (1) vs Sarah Jane Perry – Birmingham (3)
The first match on court saw Nottingham University No.1 Hana Ramadan up against Birmingham’s Sarah Jane Perry the current British National Champion. This was always going to be a tough night for the Air-IT player who is ranked at a career high of 82 in the world up against someone ranked just outside the world top 10.
The first game went the way of the way of the higher ranked Birmingham player only for Ramadan to fight back taking the second game 12/10 and an early lead in the second. Her chance came at 10/8 in the third game with two opportunities to claim the game and a 2-1 lead. Perry showed great composure at a critical time though and waited for Ramadan’s mistakes to come. In the end the pressure was just to much for the Nottingham girl with the game going the way of Birmingham on tie break 12-10. In the 4th game Perry maintained the momentum that she had taken at the end of the 3rd and came through with a comfortable 11/3. Team score level at 1-1.
3. Chris Fuller – Air-IT Nottingham (2) vs Joel Makin (3) – Birmingham
It was a slow start for Fuller losing the first game 11/5. In the 2nd however he began to find his feet. The rallies continued to get longer and longer with both players determined that the other would not pull away. After over 20 minutes Fuller finally closed out the 2nd game 11/9 before replicating his performance in the 3rd 11/9 and take a 2-1 lead. With the pace and length of the match taking its toll on both players the match was always going to hinge on who could hang on for the longest. The 4th game saw some desperate squash from both players, Makin was bleeding for the entire game but would not give up and continued to push through to take the game 11/7 and level the match at 2-2. After taking the important 4th game Makin continued to push on in the 5th game with the momentum all going his way he closed out the game 11/5 to give Birmingham a 2-1 lead.
2. Eddie Charlton – Air-IT Nottingham (0) vs Chris Ryder (3)
This was always going to be a tough match up for the Air-IT Nottingham man. Chris Ryder although retired from the professional tour did reach as high as 33 in the world and has been in form in Premier League so far this season. With both players having a similar style of controlled tactical play it was always going to be interesting to see if Charlton could put enough into Ryder’s legs to pull off a win. On the night though Ryder played well hitting accurate length and finding devastating winners to the front. After a tough start losing the first game 11/4 Charlton never really managed to get back with the 2nd and 3rd going Ryder’s way 11/8, 11/6. Birmingham 3-1.
4. Mark Fuller – Air-IT Nottingham (2) vs Jan Van Den Herrewegen (3)
The no.4 string match was another on paper match that could go either way. It was hard fought throughout going first the way of Van Den Herrewegen who took the first game 11/9 only to see Fuller fight back in the next two to take the games 11/7 and 11/4. The 4th was a close game all the way with Fuller taking an early lead to 7/4 only to see it evaporate to 7/7. From 7/7 it was point for point until Van Den Herrewegen pulled away at 9/9 to take the game 11/9 and set up a decider. After a tight start to the 5th it was the Birmingham man Van Den Herrewegen who managed to pull away in the end taking the game comfortably 11/4 and securing an important win for his team 4-1.
With a home defeat to close rivals Birmingham it will be a tough period for the Air-IT team who will have to find some form soon if they want to find a way back into the playoff race.