Bucks U10 boys finished their County Cup weekend off in style by beating Hertfordshire in a packed dome at RAF Halton LTC. The Team of Ben Smith, Matt Blood, Dylan Smith and Edward Crowston battled hard through a tough weekend to book their place at the National Finals in the Bolton Arena.
The weekend started off under rain leaden skies and a strong wind, but this did not deter Bucks in their first Rubber against Middlesex. Dylan Smith was first out the traps for Bucks but ultimately his opponent Brendan Emmanuel proved too strong for him, inflicting a 4-0,4-1 defeat on the Bucks no3. Next up was Matthew Blood who was pitched against Harry Saunders. Some great aggressive tennis occurred with Matt really taking the game to his opponent leading to a comfortable 4-1,4-2 victory. Having seen his twin brother beaten by Matt, Alexander Saunders came out to face the Bucks no1 Ben Smith. And yet again Bucks proved too strong and came out with a comfortable 4-1,4-0 victory.
As the day went on the weather improved and with that so did the attitude and the performance of the Bucks players. Their next match was against Oxfordshire and was kicked off with a tough match for Edward Crowston. Despite battling hard and proving tough to break down Edward lost to the Oxford no3 in straight sets. Both Bucks no1 and no2 were then put out on court proving a tough challenge for James Goodchild their captain to keep an eye on both rubbers on different sides of the Halton site. However both boys did a great job of knuckling down and playing their game. Despite a second set wobble by Matt he proved too much for his opponent George Slater inflicting a 4-1, 4-2 defeat. Ben Smith meanwhile put in a classy performance dispatching his opponent 4-0,4-0.
The format of the tournament then lead to Bucks playing two doubles matches against their singles opponents. The rubbers still hung in the balance, but ultimately the Bucks pair of Matt and Ben put on a doubles Master-class beating both Middlesex and Oxfordshire with only the loss of 4 games in the Oxford second set. This normally would have signalled the end of play, but as the sun finally came out and thoughts turned to the impending rain forecast for tomorrow, it was decided that Bucks would play their singles against Gloustershire.
And so once again Dylan took the court against the Gloucs no3. He proceeded to play a great game of tennis and really made his opponent cover every part of the Halton jungle courts. This proved too much to deal with for the Gloucs player and Dylan was victorious with a 4-1,4-1 score line. Matt and Ben then came on straight from the doubles matches and despite some tired legs both won comfortably 4-1,4-2 and 4-2, 4-1 respectively with Ben digging in deep to break a resilient opponent with some great angled forehands. This bought an end to day 1 with the Bucks boys in pole position to qualify but with the toughest match to come the next day against Hertfordshire.
Day 2 started with weather worse than day 1. However thanks to the staff at Halton the matches were able to be played indoors in the dome. The Bucks boys’ first assignment of the day was a date with the other fancied team in the competition Hertfordshire. Ben Smith took the court against a very well know to him opponent in David Latter. In the past these boys have had very close battles but Ben really bough his A-game and coolly beat him 4-1, 4-2. This put Bucks in a great place going into the last two singles. Matt then took the court against Joe Collins and despite not playing his best tennis Matt dug in a grinded out a straight sets 4-2,4-2 victory against a plucky opponent. Bucks were almost over the finish line as Dylan started his match. He then proceeded to take them over that line in some style with the best performance of the weekend beating Elias Grehbru 4-2,4-1. He played some great attacking tennis never letting his opponent have an easy ball in the point. After he had won the match point he was embraced by his other onrushing players- Bucks were going to Bolton!!
This however was not the end of the weekend, as Bucks had to play two doubles matches against Herts and Glos. Ben and Edward came on court and dispatched Gloucestershire 4-1,4-1. This was followed by a professional performance by Matt and Dylan who played some great doubles and beat a tough Herts team in straight sets. This bought and end of the event with Bucks beating Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire 8-0 and Oxfordshire and Middlesex 6-2.
The boys all put in a great performance and were professional throughout. Thanks must also go to Sarah Tricks for organising the tournament and the player’s parents for their constant support and encouragement throughout the whole event.
It was a pleasure to Captain this team and I would like to thanks the boys for their professionalism and great team sprit that they have shown throughout training and the weekend. It was a great experience for me and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the Nationals!!
Winning Bucks Team-
Edward Crowston, Ben Smith, James Goodchild (captain) Matt Blood and Dylan Smith
Come on Bucks!!
Report by: James Goodchild