05 Feb Premier British League Fusion vs Drumchapel – 13th January 2018
An ascendant Drumchapel flew down this Saturday afternoon to take on Fusion’s top team. As the players lined up and the names were called out, it became apparent the extent of the mismatch. Drumchapel’s Simon Berglund and David McBeath are both ranked comfortably within the top 300 in the world and their professionalism had clearly rubbed off on their teammates. Struggling in the relegation zone, we were in for a tough evening.
Drumchapel’s talent was first to go on display as Berglund started against Kazeem Adeleke while McBeath played Niall Cameron. The left-handed Berglund’s viciously spinny reverse pendulum serve and follow up third ball to the wide forehand proved too much for Adeleke, who succumbed quickly 3 – 0. The tall swede wouldn’t drop a game all evening. Cameron faired a little better. In the first game, his serves kept the proceedings cagy but after a big counter top spin rally towards the end of the game the England no. 4 showed his quality. After that, Cameron couldn’t handle McBeath’s over the table backhand receive which undermined any attempts he had to make a clean open up. Another 3 – 0.
The next two matches were hotly contested tit for tat 5 setters. Yaser Razouk took on Emran Hussain and Joseph Hee played Craig Howieson. Hussain showed his intelligence with some breathtaking backhand blocking combinations but Razouk’s big forehands and hard work won the day.
Hee, the best young chopper in England, was always most likely to cause the weaker Drumchapel players trouble. Hee didn’t disappoint, and took a fairly comfortable first set, displaying greater resilience than Howieson expected. But after the interlude, Howieson got his service tactics right and levelled. The fifth set was thrilling. Hee had the home crowd whooping at every point and Howieson had found the full might of his forehand, pulling Hee out wide on the open up and then smashing the easier ball into the middle. Hee was leading in the 5th but Howieson pulled it back to 9 – 9, when a risky attempt at a counter topspin left the door open for Howieson, who showed his maturity taking the match.
Adeleke against McBeath also looked like a foregone conclusion – as of the new year’s rankings McBeath sits at 183 in the world. Things didn’t start well for Adeleke. Again McBeath’s backhand receive was crucial, too much quality for the Nigerian to handle, who was quickly two games down. Adeleke rallied with a smart change of service, switching from pendulum to backhand to give him more time and McBeath took a while to adjust. The match then took on an added intensity and at 10-6 during a big counter topping rally a fierce forehand loop from Adeleke splintered the ball for a let. He took the set making the score 2-1 to Drumchapel. Was an upset on the cards? The new backhand serves were still paying off and Adeleke lead in the fourth racing to 9, but some smart serving from an increasingly calm McBeath let him equalise and he took the match.
After another loss from Cameron, Fusion’s total stood at 7. Hee was our last hope to salvage some honour, and fortunately for the home crowd it looked likely after the first set against Razouk. Razouk had no answers for Hee’s backspin and was unsettled by his long pimples backhand flick. Shaking his head incredulously and remonstrating with his equipment, Razouk had the precise attitude a chopper likes to take advantage of. It was 3 – 0 and it should have been more comfortable had Hee not wobbled a bit when he sought the offensive. But Fusion didn’t mind: we were simply overjoyed for the junior’s win, and the match ended 7-1.