Boys Under 18 County Cup 2015 at Gosling Tennis Centre Group 2a
Team: 1. Barnaby Smith (Reid School, Gt Missenden) 2. Michael Shaw (Milton Keynes) 3. Jack Molloy (Reid School, Gerrards Cross) 4. Thomas Schmidt (Halton) 5. Oliver Levi (Halton, Stoke Poges) 6. Jake Williams (Halton) 7. Jack Clark (Halton) 8.Lee Tribe (Milton Keynes) Reserve: Oscar Glenister (Halton) Manager / Coach Andy Scholfield (GXLTC)
Andy’s Quote: ‘We had yet another thrilling event with all players putting in maximum effort and support for each other. The boys acted very professionally on and off court. Our opposition were very strong; counties steeped in impressive tennis playing history’
SUMMARY REPORT: We lost first day to Middlesex who were the favourites for promotion 4-5. Great displays at singles by Jack Molloy and Barney Smith. Doubles pairs Levi/Schmidt and Smith/Tribe won but Molloy/Shaw were trounced.
All players gave their all in each of the matches, supported each other superbly and behaved impeccably on all occasions.
We lost an even tighter match on the second day 4-5 to Dorset the highlights being Tom Schmidt losing a 3 hour high energy match; Barney Smith blowing his opponent off the court; Jack Molloy displaying total belief and Michael Shaw turning his performance level on its head to win two matches.
We won gloriously on the 3rd day 5-2 against TOWIE Essex showing Bucks is the new way! Highlights: Lee Tribe cruising to a confidence-gained 6-1 6-1; Jake Williams making his debut in a fine display just losing in three sets; a stunning comeback by Tom was equally marred by the strength of his opponent in the 3rd set; Jack Molloys’ professionalism in overcoming his opponent tactically and mentally; Michael Shaw continued great form against a very good player and to the best player out of all of the teams Barney Smith battering his opposition into submission with unbelievable attacking play.
MAIN REPORT for tennis geeks : Opposing teams were Middlesex, Dorset, Essex.
Format: each match consists of six singles matches followed by three doubles. Like the Davis Cup, the captain was allowed on court to speak to the players at the change of ends.
The venue provided excellent facilities which were used to the maximum by all the managers / coaches and team mates. Each tie ran from 9am to 5pm each day with teams warming up and preparing for their matches from 8am.
The six pre event training sessions proved vital for team bonding. All players showed great enthusiasm at all times and were always desperate to get onto court even when we only had one court for eight players. However our players lived dangerously with Jack having car accident before first training session and Lee involved in another on our last on our day of departure to Gosling. Jack Molloy and Barney Smith even travelled to Norway to get extra practice in. It was great to see Michael Shaw get a day off from tournament play to attend our final two practices where he helped fine tune Captain Tom’s match tightness.
Day 1 opponents Middlesex.
As always we had our team-talk in the salubrious surroundings of our Rabbits Mini Bus; of course followed up by Barney and captain Tom. Our team selection for the top six singles was more straight-forward than in previous years; with Lee, despite his 6.1 rating compared to others rated at least 3.2 playing at number 6. Lee got off to a nervous start and went 4-1 down before breaking back but lost first set 7-5; he saved four match points in the 2nd set and another in the third set before forcing a tie-break. He suddenly found himself 4-1 up (ahead in the match for the first time); he had a great opportunity on the next point but his opponent started playing inspired tennis again and won the final six points to take the match. So how many times can Captain Andy receive warnings before being sent off? Hmmm.. ‘90 seconds only at change-overs’ came the cry from our ITF Referee. Oli Levi was playing so tentatively and passively so unlike his play in training. He lost 3-6 1-6. However Captain Tom was fighting back in the second set, finally leading 6-5. His opponent Rohan Sikka upped his play hitting more lines and closed out the match 7-6 (7-1). 3-0 DOWN BUT OUR BIG GUNS TO COME. Jack Molloy s opponent Jack McFarlane tried hard to distract him but Molloy hit blistering groundstrokes and showed great maturity to win 6-4 6-2. Unfortunately Michael Shaw had a dismal match, under-performing to lose 3-6 5-7. Barney absolutely stormed through his match against a previous National U16 Champion 6-0 6-2 despite his opponent ‘squaring up’ to him and then picking on me which ironically went unnoticed by the referee. 4-2 down but three doubles to play: Tom and Oli won playing effective doubles tactics 6-4 6-3. Barney and Lee got off to a slow start but then exterminated the hopes of Middx 2nd pair 5-7 6-2 10-1. However Jack and Michael were thrashed by great play from Enrique and Jack.
So ….. we just lost on the first day 4-5 against the favourites ! We still thought promotion possible, but one step at a time, as we headed off to meet the girls team in Ask restaurant curtesy of JJ’s sat-nav skills.
Day 2 new opponents Dorset
So after a mainly great performance we kept the same team but were off to a tough start with our opponents numbers 5 and 6 proving very challenging for Lee and Oli who both lost in two sets. Tom Schmidt was involved in a scintillating match against Finley Bygrave. He lost the first set on a disappointing tie-break but turned the match around to win 6-4 in 2nd set. So again our supporters were roaring their support. In a pulsating third set Tom nosed ahead again and again before a deciding tie-break; he lead 4-3 but went for just too much and lost patience to lose 7-4. His effort and physicality was awesome. 3-0 down but Bucks came roaring back through our totally committed players: Jack Molloy’s belief is second to none. He was 4-1 40-15 down against a younger opponent but improved his court position and dictated on return of serve to win 6-4 6-3.Michael played so much better – his serve penetrating his opponents defences and his depth on groundstrokes nullifying his opponents aspirations 6-4 6-0. On to court stepped the destroyer in the shape of hyper-motivated Barney Smith. He did not disappoint serving at 115mph and drilling his forehand at every opportunity. Mark his opponent realised he had no chance staying on the baseline so serve/volleyed to win four games. 3-3, however we were soon in trouble with our second and third pair falling to slightly stronger opponents (sudden death at deuce proved decisive in Oli and Tom’s doubles – they lost six in a row). However Jack and Michael played very well to win as first pair. So we lost our remaining chance of promotion by 4-5 and now faced a relegation play-off against another big-gun Essex. Team stretching ended our long day and the knowledge we had to play well the next day. Dominoes pizza preceded a short team tactics discussion and our decision to change our doubles pairings .
Day 3 Relegation prevention ?
Oli Levi maturely asked to step down from the singles so a big decision Jake or Jack to play? How do we get a win at the bottom of the order – in stepped the new Mr consistent ground-stroker Lee he swept to victory at number 6 with great determination 6-1 6-1. What a debut from Jake. After a nervous start he fought valiantly despite dubious line calling but after 2 hours lost 2-6 6-3 3-6. He has the opportunity to play a much bigger role next year. Captain Tom was again involved in a huge match. Feeling jaded (not surprisingly) from the previous day, he ate bananas and psyched himself up using great tactics to draw level at 5-7 6-0. However his opponent Caddies struck back with big serving and huge ground-strokes; Tom disappointingly went down 3-6. So 2-1 down; our top players to come. Jack Molloy was involved in a heated match with Jared Linzell who was feeding off Jacks’ wide serve and groundstrokes. Jack simply neutralised his opponent by giving him no angle and waited patiently to club his huge forehand. Our support matched everything Essex supporters could throw at us. Jared became frustrated and had a code violation for walking away from my friend the referee. Jack bossed the court completely to surge through 3-6 6-3 6-0. At the same time Michael was on court against Tom Pudney – a very good player. However Michael continued with his stunning form from the previous day using great serving and tactics to scrape through 6-4 7-5 to the delight of the ‘Swans’ support. Up stepped the 6’1’’ Barney powering down his serves and cracking his huge forehands to all areas of the court. However he was matched by an inspired Sam Bayda the Middx no 1. However Barneys un-paralleled self-belief and self-pumping vigour eventually destroyed Sam’s composure. Barney was canning his second serve but this provided for the loss of the second set through double faults. Barney as he danced off the chair at change of ends stated ‘I want this more than him’ (and oh how he does!) He extinguished his opponent, who was blown off the court in an unbelievable 3rd set 6-1. At 4-2 up we needed one more rubber and this was provided by another great last-day doubles display from Lee Tribe and the in-form Michael Shaw. They volleyed sublimely to take the match 6-3 6-3 and the tie 5-2 and sustain Bucks Swans in division 2 and dump Essex into division 3.
An unbelievable experience of beating the mighty Essex to stay in division 2 for the first time in years left the team exhilarated and exhausted. We celebrated with a McDonalds at the Motorway services, listened to Heart FM and looked forward to next year’s big push for promotion.
See Twitter @andytennace for the last days stunning victory in pictures
Thanks goes to the whole team squad and reserves, Venetia Cosier for excellent admin and support, Bucks Indoor for training sessions and players parents in particular the Schmidts, Smiths, Shaws and Molloys who came to watch the awesome displays and LTA Rep Andrew Petherick who is also Bucks LTA Chairman. Special mention to Jack Clark who designed and printed special T shirts and our Captain Tom Schmidt who lead from the front and prepared the Mini Bus music.
Andy Scholfield Bucks U18 County Cup Captain Boys
Team l to r Jack Molloy, Jack Clark, Jake Williams, Lee Tribe, Barney Smith, Captain Tom Schmidt, Oli Levi, Michael Shaw, kneeling Andy Scholfield
Deciding doubles match v Essex Michael Shaw serving with partner Lee Tribe