Wood & Scoones Win Five Game Thriller
06/07/21: The second semi-final of the 2021 Ladies Championships in association with Advanta Wealth took place at Eton on Sunday and produced an enthralling and topsy-turvy match which eventually saw Emily Scoones & Rachel Wood defeat Dominique Redmond & Elana Osen 15-10 in the fifth.
E.Scoones & R.Wood (3) beat D.Redmond & E.Osen (2) 3-2 (9-12, 15-12, 14-11, 1-12, 15-10)
With defending champions Karen Hird & Charlotta Cooley already through to the final, the battle was on to see who would make it through from the other half of the draw. Three of these players were involved in an epic semi-final last year, which finished 14-13 in the fifth game; the change this year saw the fast-improving but inexperienced Rachel Wood take the place of Ashley Lumbard, currently on maternity leave. Rachel & Emily were up against Dom Redmond & Elana Osen and a tight match seemed in prospect with the early exchanges taking the score to 7-7.
At this point, the whole dynamic of the encounter of the match changed as Elana suffered a nasty tumble at the back of the court, going over on her ankle. A lengthy time-out ensued and it seemed unlikely that she would be able to continue. Those who know Elana are well aware, however, that she is made of pretty stern stuff and plenty of ice and some serious strapping later she was back on court, clearly inconvenienced but determined to give it a go.
Elana's lack of movement created a whole new set of problems for Emily & Rachel to deal with: Dom was forced into a more attacking role, taking as many shots as possible and proved extremely effective. When Rachel & Emily did get the ball past her, Elana was still able to get a decent number of balls back and if it was "in the slot" was even able to pull out a few spectacular back court winners. When Emily & Rachel got it right, of course, it was tough for Dom to cover as much of the court as she needed to and for Elana to be able to move to hit balls hit hard and deep or with angles that involved any sort of change of direction.
Dom & Elana were able to win the first game to give themselves hope and although they lost the next two, they were both extremely close and there was more than enough encouragement for them to keep going and try to achieve an unlikely victory. Elana continued to be hampered but her range of movement did improve as the match went on and she came to terms with what she was and wasn't capable of doing. With Dom providing a consistent attacking threat, it was never easy for Rachel & Emily to take control, although they were able to keep their focus impressively at the business end of the second and third games, winning the third from 7-11 down.
With the pair containing the injured player 2-1 down, there was always a chance that the fourth game would be one-sided. Indeed it was, but not in the way most people expected as some sloppy errors from Emily & Rachel, some inspired and sustained attacking play from Dom and some heroic back court covering from Elana produced a remarkable 12-1 scoreline to take things into a fifth and final game.
The decider reverted to the cat and mouse style of the second and third games with Emily & Rachel never quite able to shake off their resilient and resourceful opponents until the elastic finally snapped at 10-10 as Emily dug deep to produce her best spell of play in the entire match. Finally Dom & Elana couldn't quite find the answers and it was Emily & Rachel who clinched the final game 15-10 to win a quite remarkable match and make it through to the final.
Emily & Rachel will take on Karen & Charlotta in the final at Eton on Saturday 10th July at 2:30pm in a match which will hopefully be live streamed via the EFA's Facebook group.