Bucks U12 boys county cup report – Nigel Willard
Bucks U12 boys had a very tough but enjoyable weekend at Halton Tennis centre as they played Middx, Herts, Oxon and Glous in qualification for the national finals. Played outdoors with a howling wind we hoped home turf (well, home tarmac) would give us the edge. Our team was Theo Kontos, Tom Townsend, and Daniel Dean all from Halton plus late call up Zak Macqueen from SSTC.
First up for the boys were Middlesex. They had 3 players in the top 10 in the country……..and we didn’t. So despite the best efforts of the lads……we slipped to an inevitable heavy defeat. The boys were not happy bunnies. The court was too slippery, the wind was too strong, Venus was not aligned with Jupiter…..I heard my players cry! Maybe they were better than you I replied apologetically. Anyway onto Oxfordshire for our afternoon matches.
We had some experience against their guys as we had a spy in their camp. Not a Russian spy but the names Townsend, Tom Townsend (Bucks No 2) who played in Oxford the week before. ‘Don’t worry they are no good’ was Tom’s response when I asked about the opposition. Managing expectation was the order of the day but Theo and Tom both lost leaving Bucks needing Daniel Dean to do the business at number 3. Daniel had one of his infamous Tim Henman type, nail biting matches, to secure a valuable point. To the doubles with Bucks needing to win the rubber and the resulting shootout to take the points. Theo and Daniel were selected but during the warm up Daniel smashed his partner on the elbow and Theo had to be replaced at the last minute by Tom. Daniel and Tom duly delivered the doubles win but could not go the extra yard and succumbed to a shootout loss. So after day 1 it was played 2 lost 2.
Onto the Sunday.
Gloucs were first up in the morning session and after some soul searching, we set new objectives, targets and expectations.
Theo reported fit to play despite foot, knee, ankle, the elbow injury inflicted by Daniel and curiously a sore eye lid to play at no 1 with Zak replacing Tom at 2 and the dependable Daniel at 3. Although a much more spirited performance it was only Daniel who came up with a win. Theo just lost on the deciding tie break and Zak was overwhelmed. Following a solid doubles win by Theo and Daniel, a nervy shoot out decided the match with the Bucks boys proving the stronger doubles pairing to secure a valuable win. With confidence high, our final matches against Herts were a pleasure to watch. Long, grafting rallies of high intensity with again Daniel winning his match at 3 and Theo again just losing his deciding tie break. The doubles was a match too far and although the boys threw everything at Herts, it wasn’t to be and the match was lost 3-1.
So overall, The Bucks team finished 4th out of 5 which was about right. All had great fun, played hard and I think learned some important lessons.
A huge thanks to all the players, supporters, parents together with Phil Hill and Jemima Hayward who stayed and watched our boys from Bucks. We played hard, laughed hard, cried hard and learnt hard.
Team Captain - Nigel Willard