Aegon 9u County Cup 2016
Team: Tom Matcham (Newport Pagnell), Oliver Connor (Chesham 1879/Great Missenden), Henry Bennie (Chesham 1879), Kyla Garner (Newport Pagnell), Shaina Nathwani (Chesham Bois), Phelix Butler (Gerrards Cross Bull Lane)
Captain: Tom Edis
13th August 2016
Gosling was once again the venue for the Aegon 9u County Cup for Bucks. The team had 2 mini orange debutants this year, with Henry Bennie and Phelix Butler coming into the team. Bucks had a really tough start to the day with early tournament favourites Herts the opponents. Early anxiety seemed to take hold of the players as the confident Herts team took control, gaining a complete clean sweep in the singles, and all doubles rubbers. Kyla and Tom’s blossoming partnership in the mixed being the only bright spot here, as they came close to taking at least a set off Jack Groves and Hephzibah Oluwadare.
However, after that rather harsh collective lesson, Bucks bounced back strongly with an extremely competitive match-up against Oxfordshire, who were able to play the impressive Veal twins Jack and Oliver as their #1 and #2 seeds in the boys. Unfortunately Tom and Ollie found their singles rubbers against these two pretty heavy going, with both going down in straight sets. Even so, Henry then managed to turn over #3 John Cairns 3-7 7-4 7-5, and Kyla levelled the tie with an impressive win over girls #1 Iris Saville 7-4 7-2. Defeats for Shaina and Phelix to #2 Darcey Trotman and #3 Kitty Spurgeon respectively, meant Bucks had it all to do going into the doubles.
This is where the team really raised their level, where in all 3 rubbers Bucks turned things around, with inspired performances from everyone; Henry and Ollie arguably produced the performance of the day against the Veal brothers, winning 7-4 5-7 10-8, Kyla and Tom defeated John and Iris 2-7 7-2 9-7, and to complete a remarkable comeback Phelix and Shaina battled past Kitty and Darcey 7-3 5-7 8-6, saving 3 match points in the process!
After that massive confidence booster, Bucks then took on Essex after lunch, who had earlier managed to dispatch mighty Herts. Their class was obvious from the start, as the Bucks boys struggled to contain the heavy hitting of their opponents. Henry was the stand-out performer here, as he played in a highly watchable match versus #3 Flynn Godfrey before ultimately coming off 2nd best 7-3 2-7 7-3. #1 James Stanley and #2 Otto Friedlein were outstanding against Tom and Ollie however, with the Bucks boys both losing in straight sets.
In the girls, Kyla led the way with her own display of the day with a 7-2 7-4 win over #1 Sophie Thompson. Shaina and Phelix continued to fight hard, but their opponents, Vanessa Mueller and Shamiso Ndoro, were too strong.
The doubles again proved a source of hope for Bucks as partnerships were starting to flourish. Yet despite both Henry and Ollie, and Phelix and Shaina gaining set points against Flynn and James and Vanessa and Shamiso respectively, neither Bucks pair could see it through with both matches ending in 8-6 7-2 defeats. Kyla and Tom struggled to find any rhythm against Otto and Sophie, and also lost in straight sets 7-4 7-2.
The final match of the day was against Berkshire. This produced some of the most entertaining tennis of the event as each rubber was closely contested; Tom rued several missed chances in losing out to #1 Ander Smith 3-7 8-6 10-8, Ollie ground out a fantastic win versus #2 Oliver Dickason 8-6 2-7 7-2 and Henry Bennie was outstanding in his 7-3 8-6 reverse against Joseph Brittain.
Kyla’s momentum was sadly halted by #1 Steffi Swanson 9-7 7-4, Shaina went toe to toe with #2 Dina Lipovski before losing 7-3 7-3 and Phelix played a great attacking game in her narrow 7-4 7-5 loss to Sarah Vickers.
Once more, the doubles were even closer than the singles. Henry and Ollie seemed to have victory in their sights against Joseph and Tom, and played a brilliant net game before they frustratingly lost 4-7 7-3 7-2. Phelix and Shaina had set points against Lizzy and Steffi in their own 7-3 9-7 defeat, and then finally Kyla and Tom gave the team something to cheer at the very end, as they powered through Oliver and Dina 7-2 5-7 7-4, in what proved to be the last match of the day to come off court.
So 4th place overall for Bucks. With focus for many of the Bucks players now going towards playing green ball competition from now on, the team can look back, both individually and collectively, at orange ball-level competition of this standard as a significant and successful stage in their development as tennis players. This event went a long way to contributing to their progress, and reminded them of the standards they need to reach when inter-county competition returns for them next year.