19 Sep Silver Lining in Tough Start to British Premier League for Fusion
Fusion vs. Ormeau – British Premier League, 15th September 2018
Fusion’s team of Kazeem Adeleke, Lorestas Trumpauskas and Joseph Hee played Ormeau in the first game of the British Premier League season. Ormeau’s team was led by Oriol Monzo (former world ranking of 292) and supported by Gavin Maguire and Matthew Ware. Last year Fusion had managed to escape last place in the division, coming 7th, while the Northern Irish team had come away with a respectable 4th. The odds were stacked in Ormeau’s favour again, not least because of the new format. All eyes were on the new rules for the season, where teams of just three play five matches – one doubles match and four singles. Due to the changes, the top seeds in each team play two of the singles matches, so teams which invest in this spot are best placed to reap the benefits.
In the doubles game, Ormeau’s Maguire and Ware played Hee and Trumpauskus. The visitor’s strength and consistency proved too much for the unorthodox combo despite some smart play, and the match ended 3-1 in Ormeau’s favour. The trend was to continue into the singles. Hee could not match Ware’s power or craft on the forehand side, struggling throughout in another 3-0 loss.
Before Hee’s loss, Fusion’s no.1 Adeleke had faced off against Ormeau’s Monzo, a decisive match under the new format. Adeleke lost the first set frustratingly after uncharacteristically faulting twice and he couldn’t settle his nerves after that. The match ended 3-0 in the Catalonian’s favour.
One match later it was Adeleke’s chance to rebound against Maguire. The Fusion player quickly took the first set 7-11, the more solid of the two in the backhand engagements. But then Maguire began to find his rhythm, lasting longer in the rallies, phishing and heaping pressure on his opponent with some truly spectacular play. Fusion had raised their game, but it was to be Maguire’s day when he took the final set.
In the final match of the day, Trumpauskas played Monzo. In their previous encounter, Trumpauskas had delivered a 3-0 win and Fusion’s lively supporters were eager for their first victory of the day. Monzo was out for revenge but lacked the lefty edge he’d taken advantage of against Adeleke, and he contested the match more fiercely than he had in his previous encounter with Trumpauskas. In the fourth game, Trumpauskas managed to convert after a crucial time-out and the scores were levelled at 2-2. In the final set, Trumpauskas scored a decisive psychological victory after winning a big counter-looping rally against the agile Catalonian, and managed to grind out the win buoyed by the Fusion supporters.
4-1 to Ormeau but a silver lining at the end for Fusion, and with the early season jitters out the way, the glimmer of success for the future.