The team awoke in the Sumner's home and Lisa Sumner brought us back to Fort Stamford for breakfast where we met back up with Kyle and Charl who had stayed at Duncan's house. We used the gym's spa facilities to freshen up once again before our longest trip on the road so far, from Plymouth to Conwy in North Wales on New Years Eve.
Mike and Dan missed a turn on the gps which actually shortened the length of their trip substantially, as they were on the motorway for longer. They got to Whitehall BnB and checked the team in. The next task was to find a nice place to eat and find somewhere festive for the countdown to 2015. We all met up at an American style restaurant called Hickories for some delicious burgers and ribs and were told that the restaurant was probably our best bet for a new years party as no one knew of anywhere else and the place was supposed to fill up closer to midnight... We took the staff's word for it but headed back to the BnB for an exclusive team fines meeting. The fines came thick and fast for us and Dan and Kyle soon had to down 3 man cans each out of the cans which would prove to make both of them sick in the days to come, after 3 consecutive rough nights out. By now there is no shortage of fines to be handed out...
Once we got back to the restaurant, we had 10 minutes until midnight and just enough time to get a round to say cheers to 2014 and howzit to 2015! We made mates with a bunch of the staff, and everyone not working there on the night did actually work there anyways as we found when we started chatting... It wasn't a huge night but it was spent with great people, which made it a memorable one.
We headed home at about 3 am, to finish off our last case of beer with some of the friends we had made at Hickories. Duane and Schalla had a physical encounter outside Whitehall and Schalla did well not to put his squash bag through the massive bedroom window when Bakkies joined in.
We got up very reluctantly to go and play our 11am fixture the day after new years. Let it be known that we had no say in our schedule and think the organizers must have had a good chuckle scheduling our earliest match yet on January 1st! Either way the playing fields would probably be level with whoever we play against also going through the same thing...
We met Rob Ford outside a chilly and rainy Le Sport club. Evidently our opponents had had a big night too and we were told that our start time would be delayed slightly. One player was fresh however and that was Emily Whitlock, who was playing number one against the very unfortunate Charl who had drawn the short straw in playing up the order that day. While the guys took what supplements and energy boosters they could, Charl battled to save face against a world top 30 player. The lengthy match eventually came down to the 5th, where Charl found himself match ball to 9 down and staring a loss in the face as Emily controlled proceedings without a flinch.. After a tough rally where Charl did most of the work, Emily played a shot which had Charl scrambling from the front of the court to the back. Facing the back wall, he hit a backhand frame that miraculously landed in the front backhand nick and could not have been hit better if he tried!!! That drew the score to 10-10 and more importantly had Emily in a seriously pissed off mood. Charl took the next 2 points and the match, and was definitely the most relieved man in Wales that day....
The rest of the matches were played against guys who seemed to be suffering from the previous nights effects more than we were and all of us were able to win without too many hassles. We were relieved and surprised to walk away with a 5-0 victory!
Rob and the team took us to a local pub for a non alcoholic (bless them) drink and some snacks. We then went to Robs house and relaxed a bit before our hosts arrived to take us to where we would be staying that night. Mike and Kyle stayed on at Robs home, Charl went off on his own and Dan and Stef went to local member, David. The latter were very pleased to hear that David was having a big new years family supper so the guys would not go hungry!
The Knights all seemed to get the much needed rest they required and the next day we headed off to Chorley near Manchester to face our toughest opponents yet...
Knights Won 5-0
8-11 11-3 11-9 6-11 12-10
11-8 7-11 12-10 11-9
11-5 11-4 11-9
11-7 11-3 11-3
11-3 11-6 11-2