A GOOD crowd was in attendance at the Snake Pit for the winter season grand final on Monday night.
Vipers (Steve Robinson, Derek James and Rob Copping) and Mambas (Ian Russell, Steve Bourne and Tom Randall) had thoroughly earned the right to contest "the big one" and an entertaining contest was eagerly anticipated. To the tables, and that cunning Viper Robinson unleashed all his guile on Bourne, essentially spinning him off his game. Victory to Robbo 8, 2, 4. James overpowered the plucky Randall, securing a solid 0, 6, 6 win and getting Vipers off to a dream start.
Copping, one of the surprise packets of the season, gave Mambas' skipper Russell all sorts of strife as they took turns to win sets. Russell got the nod, eventually, 5, -5, 1, -9, 9. Robinson/James and Russell/Bourne are both outstanding doubles combos, but Robbo and his sidekick played convincingly to win 4, 8, 6 and give Vipers a solid 3-1 lead at the first change.
"Cruncher" Copping was highly fancied against opposite number three Randall, but it was Randall who ground out a commendable (and much needed by his team) 10, -7, 5, 9 win - arguably one of his best of the season. The encounter between the number ones was a contest of guile (Robinson) vs orthodoxy and consistency (Russell). Robbo snatched the first two sets, but Russell fought back strongly to take the third before Robbo took it out 9, 11, -14, 6. James and Bourne took centre stage next, and fought out a similar battle - two sets to James, a fightback by Bourne - and a similar outcome. The win went to James 6, 8, -9, 6, and the writing was on the proverbial wall.
The Robinson/Copping and Russell/Randall combinations shaped up well on paper, but the Vipers combo brushed the two Rs aside with an emphatic 5, 6, 9 win, and an imposing 6-2 lead at the "pause for breath" break. And the next match - Robinson vs Randall - decided the final.
It took Robbo four sets to do it, but do it he did to secure the win 7, -7, 2, 4 and a sweet 7-2 premiership victory for Vipers.
All in all a great grand final, and the culmination of a terrific season, but don't expect to see the Robinson/James/Copping team competing any time soon.
Competition equalisation is well and truly alive at the Snake Pit (which will shortly be renamed). Congratulations to all teams who made the finals, and we'll do it all again starting September 16.
New players are always welcome, so if any casual reader of this column is interested please contact Kevan Addicott (8762 3152) or Daryl Smith (8762 1973). You might not regret it.