Northants 3 travelled to Dallington this week to play Club Diana 5 in the final of the Division 4 cup. First on was Barrie at no 5 playing a lad who we decided was approximately a quarter of his age! Would guile and experience win out over youthful enthusiasm and legs? It looked that way to start with Barrie taking the first game 15-7. He lost the second game and the 3rd could have gone either way, ending 15-17 with Barrie unfortunately just on the losing end. In the fourth Barrie upset the rhythm of his young opponent and his head went down as Barrie took that game but encouraging words from dad urged him on to win the last game and take the match 3-2. On the other court Kean was having a marathon against the wily Barry Wakley. Kean lost the first, looking not to have settled into his stride and rushing some of his shots. The games went back and forth from there with Barry amazingly proving a match for Kean in terms of ability to get from the furthest corners of the court to reach seemingly winning balls. But ultimately Kean's legendary perseverance paid off and his opponent did begin to tire a little and make mistakes, enabling Kean to come out a 3-2 winner. So with two very tight matches at the 4th and 5th strings we knew the final was going to be close fought. Andy Seaward at no 3 faced an opponent with a slightly awkward style of play who made it difficult for Andy to find his rhythm. Andy went down the first two games but then seemed to find his length and get the measure of his opponent, winning the 3rd game in convincing style. Unfortunately this didn't continue and Andy lost 3-1. Meanwhile Kev Loomes was playing with impressive style and control at no 2 gaining the most straightforward win of the evening and leaving Tim Arthur at no 1 with the deciding match to play. Having been threatened with walking home from Northampton, Tim took his responsibilities seriously and played with unaccustomed focus to win the first two games against Phil Drage, who was gradually losing the will to live as Tim returned all his best shots. For a while at the beginning of the 3rd game it looked as if Tim would return to his more usual approach of casually keeping the rallies going and waiting for his opponent to make an error or die of exhaustion, but Phil was beginning to lose his touch as tiredness set in and Tim put him out of his misery and chalked up a 3-0 win to make Market Harborough winners of the cup for the second year running. This time we hope we will be able to keep it !- I'm absolutely sure I haven't contravened any of the rules!! Thanks to all who have played for the 3rds this season and made it a great season and a lot of fun.