WINTER COUNTY CUP: LADIES DIV 2B:
NEWPORT TENNIS CENTRE, SOUTH WALES
FRI 22 – SUN 24 NOV 2013
JEMIMA KING (né Hayward)
ALISON LONGFIELD (non playing captain)
CLAIRE WEBB (né Hamilton)
FRI v CHESHIRE
Having crossed the border into a cold and frosty Wales, we knew relatively little about the calibre of the teams awaiting. Would we be aiming to avoid relegation, or to fight for promotion?
First up on Friday was Cheshire. Helen Adams and Alice Patch played at No.6 and No. 5 respectively against young but talented opposition. Helen managed to resist both nerves and unforced errors to pull out a 6-3, 6-0 win, whilst Alice, after a slow first set, battled back to 4-1 in the second before her opponent’s persistent back-court game wore her down in a tense tie-break. At No.4, in her first ever WCC, Georgie Sanders had a game of three halves. After a controlled first set, wining 6-3, she suddenly found herself 1-5 down in the second. However, with great mental strength, she gradually shifted the momentum away from her opponent taking six games in a row to seal the win. At No. 3 Claire Webb lost just three games in a measured performance against an inferior opponent, whilst Laura Deigman never really had to shift her fluid game into top gear to dispatch the Cheshire No.1. At No. 2 Jemima King knew her cold might impede her normal style of attrition so went for big shots against a feisty player and never really allowed her a look in, winning 6-2, 6-3.
So with a comfortable lead heading into the doubles, Georgie and Emily Quin at No. 3 pair adopted a net-rushing strategy that paid dividends against a pair that could have caused them problems. Jemima and Alice at No. 2, and Laura and Claire and No. 1 displayed their finely honed doubles skills to effect two rapid wins with the loss of just five games between them. An early finish, an 8-1 victory in the bag, and a pub dinner meant we went to bed pretty happy.
SAT v SOUTH WALES
An altogether tougher prospect than yesterday, South Wales fielded a mixed team of youth and experience. Their No. 6 showed greater consistency than Bucks WCC debutant, Hannah Russell and Helen at No. 5 couldn’t quite make the few extra points needed, losing both sets by one break of serve. Alice wore her opponent’s game down with her consistent backcourt game to win 6-4 6-4 at No. 4, whilst Georgie at No. 3 ran her heart out and made ours flutter as she almost pulled off a three-set, 2.5 hour thriller. Jemima, cold still not much improved, resurrected her attacking strategy from the previous day, her opponent only managing two games as she watched balls fly past her. Finally, Laura at No.1 calmly dispatched her tenacious opponent, even if her rather quick loss of the second set worried the viewers more than her.
All-square at three rubbers apiece after singles, there was everything to play for. At No. 3 doubles, Helen and Emily quickly went 0-6, 0-2 down and the outlook was bleak. However, the confidence of winning a couple of games motivated the Bucks pair to keep level in the second set and see off a match point to take the second set tie-break. The championship tie-break proved equally close, the Bucks pair finally securing the 11-9 win to much delight and relief. Tension was rising as it all came down to the last two matches with neither proving straightforward; Jemima and Alice at No.2 pair played solidly against a resilient duo and after ebbs and flows that resulted in a nail-biting deciding tie-break, they sealed the championship tie-break with some great volleys. Laura & Georgie, playing at the same time, so under equal pressure to win the crucial 5th rubber couldn’t quite emulate the same result, staging a rousing comeback in the championship tie-break but losing 8-10. So, a 5-4 victory left us is a strong position heading into the ‘promotion’ head to head against Kent in the morning…
SUN v KENT
Helen Adams at no 6 and Emily Quin at no 5, started Bucks off. Both players couldn’t quite make it across the finishing line, but in her defence, Helen did draw tough opposition in Nell Miller, one of the top U14 players in the country and Emily battled hard for 1.5 hrs. Alice at No 4 stepped up and ground out a 6-2, 6-3 win, whilst Georgie “Let’s stay on court for as long as possible” Sanders took 2hrs 46 mins to wear her opponent down in a monumental 3 setter! Jemima’s cold finally caught up with her and despite a valiant 4-6 effort in the 2nd set, she couldn’t quite clinch the match. Meanwhile Laura, playing Holly Richards, who had previously played professionally, had to work hard for her 7-6, 6-2 win.
So yet again, the afternoon session started at 3-3… All to play for… Very tight! Very nervous watching! Helen & Emily teamed up again to play doubles at no 3. They took the first set 6-4, just missed out on the second and found themselves in a nervy & crucial championship tie break. Great hands and net play saw them battle away but eventually Kent took the tie break 10-6 after 2hrs. Jemima & Alice on the next door court, under pressure to keep the match alive, pulled out all the stops and took a 6-3, 6-3 win leaving the match finely poised at 4-4 with the no 1 doubles in full flow… With both teams, cheering for their players from the balcony, the scene was set for a show down! Laura & Georgie put everything they could into the match, even serving for the 2nd set, but eventually the Kent No 1 pair proved too strong and Bucks went down 1-6, 6-7.
So we just lost 4-5 on the final day but we held our heads high and came a strong 2nd in the group.
- SOUTH WALES
A great team effort and team spirit… Well done!
Alison Longfield & Helen Adams