January Match Update

18 Jan

Katie Scott explores what the New Year has to offer for Wychelm BC

The 2016/17 season is now in full swing and has until April to run its course. This evening, we played in an away mixed combination game against Corinthians, based at Bower Park School. Always well-equipped in cake, quick shots and an undercurrent of rivalry, we were gearing up for an enjoyable evening of on-the-edge tension as the games see-sawed between victory and loss as we fended off smashes, drops and clears with a club we are extremely well-matched against.

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Club Notice: Last session of 2016

5 Dec

With Christmas coming up faster than you can say ‘advent calendar’, the last sessions of 2016 are now being played! Our last week before we break for Christmas is Monday 19th December 2016 and yes, we will be sticking to our usual tradition of bringing in a buffet of festive treats to share with everyone. It’s all fuel, right?!

So, if you plan on coming along on Monday 19th, please bring something with you, whether you grab a biscuit selection box, your favourite chocolates or maybe you get baking to bring something homemade; whatever you fancy just bring enough to share!

Weekly Match Update: November/December 2016

5 Dec

With the season slowly stumbling along, Katie Scott rounds up the action from last week

The 2016/17 season is finally gaining some traction as last week saw the conclusion of a further two matches from our fixtures roster. We kick started the week on Monday with a home combination league match against the troops from Emerson Eagles, who put forward their second team for the occasion. We then finished the week with a ladies pairs face off on Friday, over at the home ground of Epping. Here’s how we got on…

Combination League: 28th November 2016

Results:

  • Gary and Het: 16-21 / 20-21
  • Katie and Jess: 21-9 / 21-11
  • Gary and Jess: 21-14 / 21-19
  • Het and Katie: 21-14 / 21-12
  • Gary and Katie: 19-21 / 20-21
  • Het and Jess: 21-18 / 21-13

Exciting news from our second combination league match in that we actually won the evening 4 games to 2! However, Shuttle and RacketI wouldn’t say that all of the games were smooth running; as you can see from the score lines, some games were sorely contested with 20-20 occurrences frequenting too many of the matches for my liking! I would say that the games were a mixed bag though. Jess and I started off with our ladies game and if I’m honest, we got far too complacent which made us sloppy and that is always a dangerous place to be. I know we still won in two games, however it’s always nice to keep improving and ensure your game stays succinct. I found our match experience came in handy here, as I got the impression that the Eagles girls were fresh to the match field and may not have played together too much in the past. Obviously Jess and I have been sprinting laps around each other for years, so our teamwork element is particularly strong and worked very much in our favour. Where we got sloppy was when we were just placing shots in the middle of the court and not using the angles or net play I know we usually employ to great success. Granted, we managed to out-net our opponents which is a testament to the hard work we’ve put in over the years in mixed games, but on the whole, I would say our performance was smoother and more slick which contributed to the win. One of the ladies we faced was clearly a net-lover herself with some neat net play, whilst her partner had more force behind the shuttle for the power clears and drives from the back of the court.  Either way, it’s nice to get a win on the table early on.

In my next game, I played with Het for the mixed and on the whole I think this went well too. We managed to win in two games and I think this is down to our strategic front and back play, as well as our practice makes perfect policy. Het was tactically targeting our male opponent’s backhand whilst dishing out his trademark smash in generous doses, aiming in particular for that pesky middle ground that always sit appetisingly between front and back players. For my part, I attempted as much cross court confusion play as I could muster, as well as some net shots for some lengthy rallies there, managing to out manoeuver my counterpart. The second male of the Eagles squad also had a great smash so avoiding that is always a priority.

My last game was a bit of a disappointment for me as I was hoping for a clean sweep of wins, however I played appallingly and I have no excuses I’m afraid. Every lob and clear went flying past the back tramlines with uncharacteristic gusto and aplomb leaving me steaming out fudge words into Gary’s sympathetic ear. If I actually landed a shot on the court, then I am sure that was a great help. It’s a shame as I reckon if I had played at my usual standard, then we would have won but I threw too many points away with this random finishing dip. I did manage to polish off any high serve directed my way with an array of drops and smashes in single shot returns, which is always satisfying as for some reason guys assume that because I live happily at the net, I also can’t live happily at the back too. I may not be as strong there, but I can still make it count. Poor Gary was being run from pillar to post, however he was working on tactical shuttle placement that pushed our female opponent backwards and targeting the middle ground and backhands. Unfortunately we didn’t win but at least the last game went to 20 and you can’t ask more than that.p1040795

I must admit, the weird thing about playing Eagles is the random pep talks and coaching element. The very obvious pep rally talk before the matches began was either a normal Eagles activity or an off-putting tactic; and in between matches we were left standing on court getting cold while a watching coach picked apart our game and assembled it into an annihilation plan for the Eagles youngsters before the second games began. I appreciate this is all to better and improve their games but I think it does raise the eyebrows of competitiveness and sportsmanlike behaviour when we are twiddling our thumbs on court.

On the whole though, the matches were close, good fun and enjoyed by all I hope! I enjoy the league matches as it’s good to get more experience against a wide range of players as well as in match situations. It’s also refreshing to actually win for a change too! Hopefully more wins in the combination league to come (touch wood, cross fingers, etc).

Ladies Pairs: 2nd December 2016

Results:

  • Against Corinthians A: 19-21 / 11-21
  • Against Epping: 10-21 / 14-21
  • Against Corinthians B: 21-20 / 19-21 / 21-10

Jess and I were once again battling in division one of the ladies pairs last week, heading to Epping Sports Centre for the home fixture of this dominating club. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening; the games are always close with very narrow score lines and the rallies are certainly a mixed bag of fast and furious drives, smashes and sprints, juxtaposed with the net trickles, bounding lifts and hidden drop shots. Either way, ladies badminton is very exciting stuff and this division is really keeping us on our toes.Badminton-Flick-Serve-ov

Despite landing 19 points in our opening game, we did not start strong. Jess and I seemed to take it in turns to hit the shuttle anywhere but actually on the court which proved very frustrating and made the evening just as much about mental fitness as well as physical. I feel we could have done better in the first match of the evening against Corinthians A as we were getting decent scores, but I think it was taking us a bit too long to hit our stride. Epping pretty much out-class us, so it’s a case of just getting as many points on the board as possible, but I think our last match of the night was undoubtedly our best. Our play finally fell into place and our teamwork was able to come up trumps which was a welcome relief! Jess also really stepped up her game to retrieve shots I thought we’d lost and I think our shot placement here also really improved. This last game against Corinthians B is actually our first and so far only win of the season, so we are keeping everything crossed that it is the start of a turning tide! For us, it is always a pleasure to play Corinthians as we are very evenly matched to the majority of their female players and it makes the games such a fierce contest, adding so much more excitement and pace to the games. Where you never know which way the game will go, it is a fight for every point and for me, it provides an opportunity to up my game. Corinthians have a good mix of players who are strong at the net and then some who can deliver from the back of the court, so I find it is always a good test, especially as we have similar styles of play and tactics too so it really does come down to quality and who is better on the night.

A fun evening nonetheless and it was great to get a win chalked up!

Coming up…

The rest of the matches will be played in the New Year, so please prepare to cheer on your squad as 2017 arrives!

October Match Update

31 Oct

You may only catch us eating biscuits, but match nights are so much more than that. Katie Scott provides the lowdown of this month’s matches…

Ladies Pairs Division 1: Wednesday 19th October 2016

p1050284I love ladies season. With so many men at club night, ladies games are few and far between, and with the style of game completely different to mixed matches, it’s so refreshing to be able to get on court and strut my stuff at the back of court. Granted, I don’t admit to doing this brilliantly, but there is nothing so satisfying as the deathening thwack of a smash as it scuttles at someone’s feet, or the hum of a clear as it flies overhead. Ladies gives us girls the chance to showcase not only our net play, but also a bit more of our power shots too.

This season, I am back with my twinny twin twin Jess taking on three other duos in division one of the ladies pairs. We last played together competitively years ago, taking plenty of time to build our teamwork, so now, it feels like I’m putting on a favourite pair of underwear stepping back onto court with Jess in tow. We spent a few weeks previous to our first match practising as much as we could to fine tune the base work we’d done all that time ago, and thankfully, it was a lot easier than the first time! Muscle memory is a wonderful thing!

So, here’s how we got on…

Results:

  • Against Corinthians B: 19-21 / 18-21
  • Against Corinthians A: 21-15 / 16-21 / 16-21
  • Against Epping: 17-21 / 7-21

Breakdown:

I am pleased as punch with these results. On the face of it, our scores may not look that hot – I know we didn’t take home any overall wins but, compared to my form of seasons past, this is a brilliant start. Normally, us Wychelm girls take a good while to warm up. As in we lose everything until halfway through the season, a switch is suddenly turned on, we start winning but by then, it’s too late to make any real damage in the league standings. Although we didn’t take home an overall win, taking one game to a decider and then hitting such high scores (we’re ignoring the 7, please do likewise) for the other games, is such an encouraging and promising start, we couldn’t help but be buoyed and hopeful that maybe we can do alright this season. Granted, we have new girls Epping in our division this year, and if the annual tournament is anything to go by, this will never be a pretty match, however we have always been of an even keel against Corinthians, so with some more hard work, we can hopefully swing some games in our favour.

On the whole, I would say we played well. We made a few too many unforced errors and I think we both realise that our backhand clears need some serious work – even the shuttle itself seems to gaze longingly at the back tramlines before falling in a vertical line in a prime mid court position, an expression of ‘sorry’ etched on its flyaway feathers. On the other hand though, our forehand clears are a lot stronger, my sneaky high backhand serve is finally seeing improvement and our rotation and teamwork is still suitable to pass muster. Jess threw herself into the match and delivered some great drops and net play. For me, I would have liked to have taken a win as we came so tantalisingly close, but our performance is not one to be sniffed at, and I’ll certainly be patting us both on the back.

Combination League Division 2: Monday 31st October 2016

p1060032This season there is a new category to the league roster with the introduction of the combination league, comprising of teams of two men and two women who play two mixed games and a men’s/ladies game over the course of the evening. For those who have played in the challenge cup, the format is basically the same, but with only four team members instead of six.

For our first home fixture in this brand, spanking new division, we were due to take on the motley crew from Dagenham-based Hunters. Here’s how we got on…

Results:

  • Gary and Het (men’s): 18-21 / 19-21
  • Katie and Helen (ladies): 21-19 / 12-21 / 20-21
  • Gary and Helen (mixed): 13-21 / 20-21
  • Katie and Het (mixed): 16-21 / 21-13 / 21-10
  • Katie and Gary (mixed): 21-7 / 16-21 / 21-19
  • Helen and Het (mixed): 21-16 / 14-21 / 17-21

Breakdown:

We may have lost the evening 2-4 if you look in terms of games, however I couldn’t be prouder of how we played tonight. With four of the games pelting into deciding rounds and score lines hitting 20 all more than any of us wanted, it has been an absolutely exhilarating evening of badminton with rallies covering every inch of the court.

Wychelm and Hunters have always been very evenly matched and in a way, this increases the competitive fire of the games as there is that constant sniff of victory which you know is always going to be within reach…it’s just a case of whether you reach it first or they do. With the games able to go either way at a mere sneeze, every point is hard won, every loss taken hard and the games are uncomfortably close.p1040795

Weirdly, we even had a similar playing style to the Hunters lads and lasses. Personally, I’ve come across the lovely Lisa and Vicki numerous times in the ladies leagues, so we all know each other’s games rather well by now. I know Lisa’s short serve is pesky and Vicki has a clear that takes the shuttle to the moon and back. With regards to the mixed, we both utilise an attacking front and back formation, with our leggy strong smashers taking the rear and ninja style ducking and diving at the front of the court.

My main thought for the mixed matches tonight was interception. The more I intercepted, the more I caught our opponents off guard, so even though at times you can fear for your life as the feathers graze your parting, or brush the hairs on your arm, sometimes you just have to think jack-in-a-box. With this tactic though, it has to be constant. Sometimes I found myself leaving a few and then I’d mentally check myself, reminding my lax racket arm to get back into gear pronto. Winning both of my mixed matches left me on such a high, especially because they were such close contests. Sometimes it was tricky thinking what on earth to try next – our playing styles and shots were so similar that it was very often a case of who is going to do it best in this rally? Het let loose his formidable rocket-style smash which certainly picked up a few bonus points, while for me, Gary’s placement and movement was exceptional. He seemed to be all over the back of the court sending his counterpart across the court into an interesting array of splits and dives.

As well as the two mixed games, I also got to dip my toe into the water of ladies games, pairing up with reserve Helen. Taking it to a decider, the games were impeccably close yet again, a few silly errors here and there merely adding up to make the difference. I think at the end, they caught us out by running poor Helen ragged when I moved to the front, making my interception mission all the more vital if I was going to be a productive member of the team. I also believe I was quite aggressive at the front of the court in this match, which worked in our favour. Helen did some fantastic reaches to retrieve drop shots and also some cleverly placed clears to bamboozle.

Up next…

More combination league matches at home on 28th November.

 

Any volunteers?

Obviously, I am not a man (thanks for noticing), so I do not play in or attend the men’s games. If any of you lovely chaps who do, wish to write a blog article round up for me on your games, it would be great to present a fuller picture for our members who want to stay up to date with all of our league action. Talk to me peeps!

Club notice: Fees due

25 Sep

Hi Wychelm members!

As you know, September heralds the start of a new badminton season, and although this means plenty of awesome games for you to get your racket stuck in to, it also means it’s time to cough up your annual membership.

Membership can be paid as a lump sum, either by cheque or cash, to the sum of £130. Alternatively, you can do a split payment, where you pay £80 now and then the remaining £50 when we reconvene in January after the Christmas break.

All monies need to be paid to our treasurer, the very lovely Nick Lyne.

Thanks!

Event Review: Tough Mudder Half London South

25 Sep

When the going gets tough, the tough get muddy and Katie Scott gets muddier…

tough-mudder-093Over the years now I have attended numerous races and events that I have used to test my mettle. I still remember by first little 5km Race for Life event that I walked as I began my fitness journey; now you’ll see knocking our PB’s on a 10km or 15km course, with three half marathons under my belt and my fingers crossed for my first marathon ballot spot. I have now established that running is not only something I can do, but something I can do well as I work on my leg strength and stamina to see me tackle the longer distances in relative comfort, just building on the speed. With regards to team events, I’ve done one duathlon relay where I took on the opening 10km run, so again, same game, different purpose.

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Gym review: David Lloyd Gidea Park

15 Sep

Katie Scott takes a sneak peek behind membership doors

img_0631I still remember when this gym was being built. Granted, it was when I was a studious university pupil, trekking to the train station to commute into London about five or six years ago, however brick by brick, David Lloyd slowly began compiling their masterpiece on an open patch of greenery on Squirrels Heath Lane, a mere stone’s throw from my parents’ house in Ardleigh Green.

With a fancy barrier gate and sweeping curved driveway, it just seemed to scream ‘exclusive’ and ‘expensive’, so I never thought I would get the opportunity to have a nosey around the nearby venue, sticking instead to my cheap and cheerful Everyone Active back in Hornchurch. However, when my ex-ladies pairs partner asked whether I would like a go of her guest pass one Tuesday night, I was game to explore.

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