Bucks 14U Girls win County Cup qualifying

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
14 Girls County Cup team 2014

Congratulations to Bucks 14U Girls on qualifying for the Aegon 14U County Cup Event Finals which will take place at Nottingham City Tennis Centre Friday 16 to Sunday 18 May 2014. 

For those of you on twitter we had a fantastic twitter feed and photos throughout the qualifying weekend and our 14U Girls Captain John Cavill full report below:

Stealing Victory from the Jaws of Defeat!

Bucks 14&U Girls County Cup Qualifying Report by John Cavill

We were 2 points from losing the first match and very unlikely to qualify for the national finals BUT we did it!!!

What a great weekend for the 14&U Bucks Girls as they travelled to Stourbridge Tennis Club in the West Midlands to compete in the County Cup qualifying event from Saturday 3rd to Monday 5th May. The team of Lauren Armstrong, Emily Honor, Amelia Barton, Izzy Marshall, Lauren McKinlay and Poppy King were amazing! Team spirit was at an ultimate high and all the girls gelled with each other, which was highly evident for all the other teams to see and was probably our advantage over everyone.

Girls ready for the early morning jog

On day 1 we had a big schedule ahead of us but after the early morning jog before breakfast, we got to the club and on with business. The first opponents were Derbyshire and our number 4, Izzy, got off to a great start but understandably nerves set in as she lost the first set 7-5. She then showed great character and focus to play her game and took the next two sets 6-3, 7-5 in a 2h 45min match. Our number 3, Amelia, also started well but again, the occasion got to her and unfortunately she wasn’t able to keep on top of her game which resulted in a 6-4, 6-0 loss. This was a meaningful result to her and the one match that she learned the most from all weekend as she came back much stronger. Our number 2, Emily, came across a very consistent player and she fought well but didn’t have enough consistency to turn the game around which resulted in a 6-3, 6-0 defeat. Our number 1, Lauren Armstrong, stepped out against another national player and found herself 4-1 down in the first set. As Lauren does, she kept cool and closed the gap to 4-3 and then her opponent retired with a back injury to hand Bucks the victory. At 2 rubbers each Izzy and Amelia took to the court in the first doubles. They were working well at 4-3 up but the other team worked together better and took the first set 6-4 and the second set 6-2. In the other doubles match, Lauren and Emily started slow but when they got going they cruised to victory 6-4, 6-1. At 3 rubbers all, the match would be decided on a Match Tiebreaker!! All the girls rallied round their team as Lauren and Emily went out to represent. The points started very close with both teams staying level and eventually Derbyshire built an 8-6 lead. Big players play the big points well and Lauren stepped up to hit an ace to get it back to 8-7. At that point, the moment was firmly in our favour as they won the next 2 points and eventually Emily hit a terrific first serve at 9-8 up which set the girls up to win the tiebreak 10-8 and the first match!

We didn’t have that long to reflect on the victory before having to play another round of doubles against South Wales due to the schedule of the weekend. Izzy had an ankle injury a week before the event and after her tough singles then the doubles, I decided to sub her for Poppy King and put on some fresh legs. Poppy and Amelia did fantastic as their friendship and energy on the court helped them to win the first set 6-0. The second set was a bit trickier as their opponents played a bit smarter but the pair kept strong and took the second set 6-4. Lauren and Emily went back out at 6pm after being at the club since 9.30am to play their doubles. Both girls looked pretty tired and lost the first set 6-4. They then dug deep, got some nutrition on board and started to come alive again as they took the second set 6-2 and the match tiebreak 10-5.

After a very long first day we were 1 match up and 2-0 up. It had been a great display by everyone and good to know that there was only one round of singles the next day.

On Day 2 the matches started at 9.30am and there were some aching muscles but with a good warm up and a few laughs, Izzy played very cool with lots of variety and took the match 6-2, 6-3. She had grown massively from her experience the day before and was shining as the strongest number 4 in the event. After the previous day’s singles defeat, Amelia had something to prove to herself. She has a massive forehand and a big first serve but the first set slipped away with inconsistency and frustration. The next two sets were unrecognisable as the determination and fight channelled into a focussed performance. Her consistency increased and the other girl made more errors as Amelia chose when to unleash the winners when she was in a better position. She took the next two sets 6-3, 6-2 it a gutsy display and the smile afterwards said it all. This victory guaranteed us place in the final as we were 4-0 up in rubbers. Emily went out with no pressure to get a result and she took the first set 6-4. Signs of frustration crept in during the second set which made her lose focus and the set 7-5, but this was regained in the third as she played some beautiful tennis to win the final set 6-0. While Emily was playing, Lauren was on and off court in no time! She went out in true warrior fashion and smacked her opponent off the court 6-0, 6-0. Great display and good that she was on and off quick to save energy for the next day. With all matches over by 2pm, it was time to get away from the club and hit the local swimming pool to help those aching muscles with a bit of fun on the water slides and in the rapids!

After the birthday breakfast for Lauren McKinlay on Day 3 it was the final against the East of Scotland, who were going to be no push over with a solid number one and two playing for them. Izzy stepped on court first and showed how much confidence she had gained from the weekend with a clean display of consistency and calmness to win 6-1, 6-0 and put us 1-0 up. At the same time Amelia was in another heated battle against a dangerous opponent. She carried on from where she left off the day before with consistent play and calculated risks which earned her the first set 6-2. In the second set the Scottish girl took it to Amelia by asserting herself in the match. This frustrated Amelia but once she refocused and asserted herself, she rose to the occasion and fought for the victory by winning the second set 7-5. Emily was going to have to do something special to get a result against her opponent who was very consistent and knew when to finish the point. She kept very calm and played some very good points but eventually lost 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour. Lauren also had a tough battle against the twin sister of Emily’s opponent but she got off to a great start by winning the first set 6-1 with aggressive tennis. The second set was a different story as her opponent looked to dictate play and force Lauren to play defensively which won her the second set 6-2. Lauren went out in the third set looking for the win by taking the ball early and attacking anything short. It was a fine display and she took the set 6-1 to put Bucks 3-1 up after the singles. We could smell victory going into the doubles but you must never count your chickens before they hatch and this was nearly the case as Amelia and Izzy came close to being the victims of an upset. The pair started the match very well and play dominant tennis that didn’t give their opponents a look in. After taking the first set 6-1, they took their feet off the pedal as nerves and frustrations set in. All of a sudden they were 5-2 down and staring a match tiebreak in the eyes! After a good team talk on the change of ends the girls revived their form to take the set into a tiebreak which they managed to finish off 7-5 and secure our place as one of 8 counties in the National Finals!

It was a great display from all of the girls over the weekend and with one dead rubber in the doubles to play we were able to give Lauren McKinley a well deserved match with Emily Honor after she had been so supportive all weekend…and that it was her birthday made it even more fitting!

I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of results when going into the weekend but one thing I did know is that the team spirit was the 5th performance factor that has earned our place in the finals and I can’t wait to do it all again very soon!




Bucks Indoor Tennis Centre
Holmers Lane
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire HP12 4QA
01494 471238