This year, the Over 50s played their annual Masters ICC weekend on 12th/13th January at Coventry Sports Centre, the same venue as the Over 40s, which made a welcome change as we were able to support each other.
Our team for this year was Angela Sharman, Di Baker, Xin Cheng, Helen Taylor (making her County Over 50s debut), Martin Smith, Martyn Clark, John Harvey, and John Pickering, and we were pleased to note that there was only one knee support in evidence among us, unlike our younger colleagues who appeared to be sponsored by Neoprene Ltd!
Our first match kicked off at 11.30 against Derbyshire, unfortunately the late start time was the only leisurely aspect of it. Derbyshire won the match 3-1, beating Angela and Di in the ladies doubles, Martin and Martyn in mens doubles, and Helen and John P in the 1st mixed. Well done to Xin and John H, who took a very close 2nd mixed 21-19, 23-21.
Next up were Leicestershire, and we showed remarkable consistency by again winning the 2nd mixed and nothing else, This time the honours went to Di and Martyn, while the losing pairs were Helen/Xin, JP/JH, and Angela/Martin.
We finished Day 1 with our match against Cumbria, this time being on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat. Despite that scoreline, the individual games were the closest of the day, with our losing game scores being 18, 12, 16, 17, 19, 19, 17 and 20. Pairs were Di/Angela, Martyn/JH, Helen/JP, and Xin/Martin.
And so we retired to the hotel for the evening's dinner and disco. All the tables had a plentiful supply of party poppers, balloons, and pea shooters with polystyrene ball ammunition, so everyone could target whichever opponents (or indeed, team mates) they wanted to. Shot of the night was by Over 40s captain Nick Pratt, who managed to land his long distance shot straight into JP's shirt pocket. After that came the disco, our team showing their younger counterparts the way forward by taking to the dance floor early and staying there for the duration, leaving the 40s to relax in the bar area.
Day 2 got off to a dismal, frosty and foggy start - or so our Over 40s colleagues told us later, our first game of the day being at 12.00 so it was bright and sunny by the time we surfaced. First up was Nottinghamshire, who again consigned us to a 4-0 defeat, our pairings were Helen/Xin, JP/Martin, Martyn/Di, and JH/Angela.
Our final match of the day was against Shropshire, and turned out to be our most enjoyable game of the weekend. Alright, we still lost 3-1, but we had some really competitive close games, so much so that we overran our time slot. Kings of the castle this time were Martin and Di, while the dirty rascals were Angela/Helen, JP/Martyn, and JH/Xin.
So, our final result for the weekend was: Played - 5, Lost - 5, Laughs - well into the 100s, and a brilliant debut by Helen, who fitted straight in like she'd been with us for years and not just 2 days. Player of the weekend, on results achieved, was Di, with 2 victories in Mixed games.
Match report by John Pickering.