Following our Cardiff fixture, we got ourselves on the road in a hurry, which was becoming the norm, back to the Richardson's in Basingstoke. We left Wales around 09:00, needing a quick turnaround at Joe's home to pack kit for the next leg of the tour to the Isle of Wight, Middleton, Guernsey and Jersey. Having not written down the exact address but having directions out of the Richardson's home to Cardiff on a sheet of paper, we thought we would be able to navigate our way straight back to the house by following the directions in reverse, the Knights being smart university students and all. We couldn't and soon our hunches led us astray to the point of panic as we had a ferry to catch at 13:30. Upon pure guesswork, a bit of luck and a good few sets of directions from various locals, we stumbled upon Joe's driveway. Success.
We wasted no time in packing the bare essentials so we could all squeeze into the peaugot once again and save a bit on fuel. Our washing had miraculously been done by Maggie and had managed to dry in time.
Some 'aggressive' driving by our designated driver, Stef, saw us boarding the ferry within seconds of the gate closing behind us. We were glad to be on the slow yet comfortable 1 hour ferry to the Isle of Wight as we could catch up on admin, get a meal in and relax for a while.
After we arrived at East Cowes on the island, we caught a bus and taxi to get to the courts. Note to readers, it's cheaper to just take your car across for about £50 and use it. If you leave it behind you'll have to pay for parking and bus tickets anyways.
We got to the courts with about 2 and a half hours to kill and after the late night we had, we used the time to sleep after a very understanding club secretary saw how tired we were. Mike knocked around with 2 young siblings, Ben and Emily, as their father watched on. Emily in particular looked really impressive for such a young player, watch that space!
Martin Phillips, who organised the fixture, arrived at the courts and we introduced ourselves. The club had put a flyer advertising the fixture on their noticeboard and a few people had come to watch, which we really enjoy! Martin announced our matches for the night before Mike and Dan got to work on the two glass back courts in front of a good audience. They both won their matches at 4 and 5 and Charl and Kyle went on after. Charl played 2 and was unlucky to take no games. Kyle played a tricky left hander and had won a vital 5 setter 11-9 in the deciding game which won us the match. We had a bit of a scare when Stef tweaked his leg playing against the number 1 as we have no reserves and the better part of the tour ahead of us.
We had a great supper of rice and chilli con carne with pita bread and sour cream and there was enough for seconds too which we gladly tucked into. We went to Wetherspoons with Martin, Callum (no2) and Jamie (no4) on a quiet night on the island which suited us well. We tried a local ale named the 'Wight Christmas' but by now have realized we're all strongly in favour of lager!
Callum hosted his opponent Charl, Jamie hosted Mike while Stef, Kyle and Dan went out to Martin's lovely home where he and his wife had just moved into less than 2 weeks previously. Brave move and much appreciated! We got a rare full night's sleep and were treated to a full breakfast spread at the Phillips's home, courtesy of Martin and Sue. Martin then led us on a short but steep hike straight up the hill behind their home, we weren't sure whether this was a tactical move to tire us out as we were playing his nephew's side in Middleton that evening or if it was revenge after our win the previous night. Either way it was beautiful up there, see the pictures for yourself!
Callum did Mike a huge favour when he restrung his racquet at his house early in the morning, which benefitted the whole team as Dan and Stef would need to use it after going through 3 of their own racquets in less than 2 weeks of touring!
Thanks for a great fixture Isle of Wight!
Knights Won 3-2
|Knights||v||Isle of Wight|
5-11 13-15 9-11
9-11 7-11 10-12
7-11 11-7 10-12 11-1 11-9
11-7 11-2 11-5
11-8 11-7 11-7