Sebastian Kay reports as Connaught suffers another loss in the AEGON National team tennis league
This week saw the start of the singles match ups with Connaught opting for a slightly different line up to usual. Despite the changes Connaught couldn’t replicate their previous week’s form.
Speaking after the match, Andrew Foster, captain of the Connaught team: “It’s a shame really, we came from a performance last week that was really impressive, to this week, where we lacked energy, intensity and any sort of motivation. Very disappointing turn out.”
On court first saw Sam Price play against the formerly world ranked Myles Orton. It was a questionable decision to select Price who had recently returned from a neck injury and still wasn’t 100% fit.
Unfortunately his lack of fitness showed as he couldn’t produce any real power in his serve, which allowed Orton to put real pressure on the service games of Price and a break in each set was enough to win 6-3 6-3.
Mikey Suleau came out at number two this week to face Matt Hough in the pair’s first encounter. As in many of Suleau’s matches, neither pair was able to steal the momentum in their returning games, and the first set went to a tiebreak, which Hough took 8-6.
In the second set, it seemed to be going in the same manner, but in a repeat of the previous weekend’s action, Suleau played one terrible service game and was broken to love, which let Hough serve out for the match, which he did 7-6 6-4.
Glimmer of hope
In the third game there was a glimmer of hope for the Connaught Club, as Julian Belair came up against Ben Smith. Belair immediately took advantage of the carpeted surface giving Smith no rhythm or time to settle.
Belair rushed into the net on both serves and returns causing real problems for his opponent, forcing a bad game in each and winning Connaught’s only rubber of the afternoon 6-4 6-3.
Patrick Eichler’s last time before he heads back to his hometown in Germany was one he probably wants to forget as he was run around the court by Jeremy Cowley of the David Lloyd Ipswich team. Cowley, a left hander, proved that his slice serve to Eichler’s one handed backhand was too tricky for the UEL tennis scholar to handle.
As soon as his serve was broken, Eichler looked deflated and didn’t know how to combat the tactical play of Cowley. A further two breaks meant that there wasn’t a winning end to Eichler’s season at Connaught as he succumbed 6-3 6-2.
With Ipswich going into the doubles with a 3-1 lead, they only required one of the doubles rubbers. Connaught decided to play two pairings that they thought had the best chance of winning both rubbers and forcing the shootout.
A strong Belair teamed up with the weaker Price to take on the paring of Orton and Smith. With all the weight on Belair to bring success to the pairing, it was just too much pressure and they lost the first set 6-2.
But the Connaught were far from over and showed resilience as they battled from a break down to bring the match back to 5-5, but then the serve of Price was broken and Orton closed the match out and the tie, 6-2 7-5.
During the match the UEL duo of Eichler and Suleau played at number two against Cowley and Hough.
On carpet again, Suleau’s serve was just too strong to be put under any pressure and was the same for the Ipswich team as well. But, Eichler seemed to be struggling on serve all day and was constantly under pressure. He was the only player to be broken in both sets, which proved to be enough for Ipswich to take a clean sweep of the doubles 6-3 6-4 and also the tie 10-2.