Away to Wigan
Last night Warrington travelled a lively Wigan. There was a packed house - if there could have been twice as much room Wigan would easily have filled it, with the crowd excited to see two of the best players in the World go head-to-head.
The highly ranked pair of Adrian Waller and Emily Whitlock kicked off the evening for Warrington. Every time possible, Adrian (above) always seems to play Wigan club coach, Julian Tomlinson, much to Julian's despair. Again, it was not a successful night for Julian, but as ever, he tries his heart out running for every possible shot, but Adrian is just too accurate and Julian struggles to read the left-hander's swing. This was another 3-0 for the tall southerner.
Emily was playing Mike McDonald, and Mike started well drawing Em into some long rallies and working her into all four corners. He held game balls at 10-8 in the first game. Alas, this was the strongest hold he ever had on the match as he saw Emily come back to win that first game, and then dominate the rest of the match. Emily always plays so well for Warrington, she's pretty awesome at number 4 each week.
Two fairly quick matches followed with Whippy (above) and Carlton coming out 3-0 winners against Paul Mac and Matt Turner.
Now on to the main event, Joel Makin vs Pat Rooney. Every game was epic. It was a warm bouncy court and both players controlled the ball marvellously, moving each other around the court constantly. The quality was so high with ebbs and flows in dominance. When we came to the third game not many people would back anyone to make a comeback from 2-0 down against The Golden Machine, Joel Makin, but Pat was willing to defy the odds. There were signs Joel was beginning to look tired (I know that sounds ridiculous!) as Rooney was always getting on the volley and using his deft touch to stretch Joel in every rally.
On to the fourth game and half-way through, Patrick was still looking slightly fresher, but Makin is so very tough he managed to push himself to a level that Pat, all of a sudden, had to step off the pace just enough for Joel to move in and reach the finishing line. This was a great match and both players were superb to watch, and equally as good ambassadors for their clubs and for the sport as a whole.
So, tough night for Wigan and another 5-0 win for Warrington. The crowd left feeling delighted they had gone to watch such a great spectacle. Warrington host 2nd place Liverpool next Tuesday in a top-of-the-table clash with Adrian Waller and Portuguese No.1, Rui Soares playing for the hosts.
Written by Andy Whipp
Photos Richard Bradbury