On Saturday 5th March, Alex, Adam and Ben played in the fourth (and last) round of National Junior League, at Nishkam School, Birmingham.
The boys were in first place in Division 3, having had a successful Day 3. Another excellent performance was required if we were to keep Lillington in second place.
Round 1 was against Cheslyn Hay Tigers, and we ran out 5-1 winners. Cheslyn's stand-out player was Callum Randell. He beat Ben in 5 (having been 2-0 down), but Alex played a superb match to edge Callum out 12-10 in the deciding end. The other matches were won in three ends, with Adam untroubled.
Round 2 opponents were Birmingham 4. A really close match, which ended in a 3-3 draw. Ben's double was the highlight, especially the 15-13 fifth-end win against Roan Paul, whom he'd lost to in Day 3. For Birmingham, Jayden Baker showed good improvement to beat Adam and Alex in close games. Alex was unlucky to draw a blank.
Round 3 opponents were Colebrige C. Another very close match (with 4 five-set matches) ending in a 3-3 draw. Adam was unlucky not to bag a double, losing his second five-ender of the match 21-19! All players won one match, and the result could have gone either way, so a draw was probably fair on both teams.
In Round 4 we faced Birmingham 3. Ben was back to his best with a double, ably supported by Alex and Adam, bagging one win each for a much needed 4-2 win.
Our last round was against the giants of Lillington (and I mean giants. One of the players was 6 foot 4!). Lillington had had an excellent day, and were now a couple of points ahead of us. A 5-1 or 6-0 win was required to win the league. It was not to be as Lillington ran out 4-2 winners. Alex's 11-9 fifth-end win (yes, another five-ender) was the stand-out performance of this match. Well played Alex.
Finishing runners-up was a great achievement, and I'm proud of the players performances during the season. We've shown consistent improvement over the season, and the boys can pleased with their efforts.
A special mention to Gabriela, who came along to support the team, and help with umpiring and filling in score sheets. Certainly made my job easier!
I look forward to doing it again next season.