Cambridgeshire Girls U12 team fifth in National Finals

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cambridgeshire girls team of Megan Carmichael, Sama Malik and Laurie Cruikshank travelled to Bolton Arena for the Aegon County Cup Finals on 10th to 12th July to play with the elite 7 other counties who had qualified for the finals. There were some strong Counties in the event and Cambridgeshire were in a group with Wiltshire, Surrey and Warwickshire. The other group comprising of Lancashire, Hertfordshire, East of Scotland and Staffordshire.

Each County played each of the other Counties in their group with one match on Friday, two matches on Saturday and then play offs against the other group on the Sunday. All matches were the best of three short sets with the third set as a match tiebreak and the doubles sudden death at deuce.

On the Friday the girls played against a strong Wiltshire team. It was the first time that two of the team had really played at this level so expectations were not hugely high. Each match is just played on one court starting with the number three players, then number two, then number one and followed by the doubles.

First up was Laurie Cruikshank against Ellen Jones and despite being a little nervous Laurie played quite a good game but lost 1/4, 2/4 and nearly got back into the match in the second set. Next up was Sama Malik against Jessica Doerr who was a very strong hitter and rated in above Sama. Sama lost the first set easily, 0/4 but had a really good fight in the second and even had a game point to take the set to 4 games all but narrowly lost this 3/5. At 2 matches down Megan was against the very solid, hard hitting Amelia Bissett and again a great effort from Megan but she went down 1/4, 2/4.

The girls, Megan and Sama played much better doubles and beat Jessica Doerr and Beatrice Watts 4/0, 4/0 to give Wiltshie an overall 3-1 win.

On the Saturday the girls played a very strong Surrey team and although they all performed better than on the Friday the opposition were too strong for them. Laurie lost 0/4, 2/4 to Hattie Vanneman; Sama lost 0/4, 2/4 to Mj Changwereza but Megan came out fighting and had a great match with Sally Pethybridge a 5.1. Megan lost the first set 1/4 , but stormed back to take the second 4/1 but then Sally raised her game and took the match tiebreak 10 points to 4. Sama and Megan then lostt the doubles to Sally and Mj 1/4, 1/4. Although Surrey won 4-0 the girls had played much better.

After this the team got the bit between their teeth and then played a good match against Warwickshire. First up was Laurie and she beat Courtnie Tia Burton 4/2, 4/0 with some good solid groundstokes. Sama then had a tough match and lost against Roksana Piotroska 2/4, 1/4 making a few too many errors. Megan then beat Grace Gamble 4/2, 4/0 showing great determination and mental toughness. The match was then all down to the doubles with Megan and Sama against Sophia Mezzone and Mia Faulkner who played good doubles. Megan and Sama lost a tight first set 5-7 in the tie break but then played very well to win the second 4/2 and then took the match tie break 10-4 to finish the day off with a good win 3-1.

This meant Cambridgeshire were third in their group and played off against the East of Scotland on the Sunday to see who finished 5th and who finished 6th.

After their win on Saturday the girls were in a much more positive mood and all performed very well on the Sunday.

Laurie beat Ama Nisbet 4/1, 5/3 and showed some exciting action from the net. Sama then won her first singles against Lucia Rizza 4/0, 4/0 with some positive, hard hitting groundstrokes and won the second set with dropping a point! Next up Megan against Mazzie Wood. This was a tough match and Megan did very well to win it 5/4, 4/1 having saved a set point in the first set. In the final doubles Laurie and Sama narrowly lost 9-11 in the match tiebreak but Cambridgeshire had already won the match.

Sue Rich team captain said:

‘Overall two matches lost and 2 won so great team effort from the girls in the National Finals and they should all feel very proud of themselves and hopefully use the experience to take their tennis to new heights.’



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