THE UK BEATS PORTUGAL !!!
It wasn´t exactly a day in Paradise, as Phil Collins likes to sing, but a fantastic day in Melilla.This sunny, cool Thursday morning the junior UK team got up at 8.15 a.m. , had breakfast and then took the bus to the “Fuerte” padel club . Last night´s basketball game had the effect of an energy boost in the boys and they were psyched up to give it a good fight today. Everyone had that feeling that it would turn out to be a special one. Also coach German was longing for his first team victory . Today they actually had that chance .But would their wishes come true ?
At 9:30 am the bus dropped the team off at the “Fuerte Club” and everyone was looking forward to the match at 10:45am which Frankie Batt and Alex Saenz were going to play ,the quarterfinals of the “under 14´s category of the Open competition. Their opponents would be yet another Spanish team, Manuel Rocafort y José Carlos Gaspar both known for their great padel skills. As it turned out Frankie and Alex seemed already pretty intimidated by their rivals early on in the knock up and, unfortunately, never really got a chance to get into the game. They lost the first set 6/0 and managed to get one game in the second set. Manu and José Carlos were just way too strong for our boys . With this loss everyone from the UK team was eliminated from Open competition.
Once the match was over the team went over to the center court with German to watch an outstanding match played by the no.1 under 18 couple of Spain Alex Ruiz and his team mate Matías against 2 Argentineans. Somehow both the Spaniards as well as the Argentineans seem to have been born with a padel raquets in their hands. All four players let the game look so smooth and easy and their techniques were just one of its kind. The match was such a pleasure to watch . Everyone enjoyed it tremendously and surely learned a lot from it . As it turned out this match had motivated our boys enormously and they wanted nothing more than bring home a victory today !
After having great chicken, French fries and a fresh mixed salad for lunch at the players canteen, the boys relaxed , played some fun games with team members and various lovely and pretty girls from other countries ( especially our two Frankies always love that time out when they are surrounded by girls !!! ) and got mentally prepared for the afternoon matches. They were going to play a team which was actually “beatable”, the Portuguese.
Finally, after a long time of hanging around the club, the team was called up to go on court to play . All 3 matches went on a the same time which proved to be quite a challenge for coach German as he had planned to be able to advise each pair on their tactics and strategy.
Andy Lynk and Danny Bristow had an easy match . They played Joaquim Campos and Joao Fernandez. The UK boys were in good form right from the beginning and did not leave the Portuguese a chance to get into the game. They dominated the scene from A to Z and the final result reflected just that . After 45 minutes the match was already over and Andy and Danny left the court with a huge smile on their faces. They had beaten the Portuguese 6/0 6/1 . Well done guys ! You can be really proud of yourselves !
On the next court Alex Tom and Tom Lynk had a way tougher match in the “under 14´s category”. Their opponents were Xavier Fernandez and Joao Sousa. Both Alex and Tom played a fantastic first set, with long points and great rallies. They were concentrated and confident but had to really fight to win it in the tie break. In the second set the Portuguese played stronger and, just like in the previous set , it came to a dramatic tie break which the Portuguese won after a very crucial bad call by them at 6:6 … Pressure was on both sides in the third set and Tom and Alex played out of their minds. They were extremely nervous and the adrenalin level was higher than ever. Unfortunately the Portuguese managed to pull the match around to win it 6/7 , 7/6, 6/2. Alex and Tom were more than exhausted and disappointed when they lost but had played surely better than ever.( By the way… Alex´s mother Camilla lost her flight back to Malaga that afternoon because she would not have missed that amazing match for her life…and she did not regret it ! )
The third match was the “ under 18´s “ on center court . It was Franky Langan and Charly Ferguson taking on Joao Ferreira y Dario Peno. In the warm up the Portuguese did not seem very strong and everyone assumed that it would be a quite easy match for the UK boys. Well, they were all proven wrong as the Portuguese turned out to be like a rubber wall. Their technique and tactics were nothing special but they surely knew how to return EVERY ball hit to them. It was unbelievable how few mistakes they made ! 90% they played to Charly and he probably hit more than 300 overheads in that match. It was not until the middle of the 2nd set that Franky and Charly managed to actually find the winning remedy. They started putting more pressure on the Portuguese and started actually making the points . It was an exciting match in which the UK team showed good skills, patience , clever moves and a real fighting spirit. They deserved their win . The final score was 3/6 6/4 6/3. Great job Charly and Franky !!!!
Now the UK had won 2 out of 3 matches that afternoon which meant that they had won that round against the Portuguese ! Their wishes had come true and they really deserved ! Everyone was so happy. What a good day it had been ! As a treat German took his team out for a Burger King dinner which was a real treat. Back at the “residence” they all only had one thing on their mind : sleep, sleep, sleep….It had been a long day for all, physically and emotionally . Sweet dreams guys ! You are real champs and we are soooooooooo proud of you !