14U Girls Qualify for National Finals!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Cambridgeshire Girls Under 14 team completed a remarkable victory in the County Cup to qualify for the national finals, as one of 8 teams to win their group around the country. Not only was the Cambridgeshire team the smallest squad, the team were unable to field any reserves, they were also the youngest team out of the 8 in their group, with an average player age of just 12.

Day 1 saw the team up against Leicestershire, with Ellie Coleman, our youngest team member, narrowly losing out to a girl 2 and a half years older and a foot taller than her. The team soon got back on level terms with Lauren Watson Steele producing a powerful display to come through 6-2, 6-2. This was soon followed by two more singles victories with similar conviction from Anna Loughlan and Lizzie Pam, meaning the team were 3-1 up going into the doubles matches. Watson Steele and Coleman produced what would be the first of a number of comebacks, recovering from a set down to win in a deciding set shoot out and clinch the tie for Cambridgeshire. Pam and Loughlan then teamed up to win the final rubber as the team registered a 5-1 win.

Day 2 proved to be the toughest match for the squad, against the much larger county, Essex. Coleman put in another spirited display but was unable to win the opening rubber and Watson Steele found herself a set and 4-0 down. However, with the help of the other squad members, notably Coleman, Watson Steele manged to galvanize herself and produced a stunning comeback to win 6-0 in the third, saving three match points in the process. Loughlan, who would win all her matches over the weekend, dug in to win a tough three set match against an older, taller opponent. Pam then found the going tough against a very strong Essex number one and the tie was level going into the doubles. The doubles proved to be full of high drama, with Watson Steele and Coleman losing out in the deciding set shoot out, missing out on a match point by the width of a hair. This meant Pam and Loughlan had to win in order to take tie into a shoot out. They duly obliged, amongst huge support from the rest of the squad and then went on to win the deciding rubbers shoot out 10-6 to move into the finals. 

The final against Befordshire saw the first of the Bank Holiday rain to hit and with Coleman and Watson Steele both a set up, play was abandoned until the rain eased. The girls had to wait three hours to get back on court and, with the doubles being cancelled, they knew their singles matches were even more important. Coleman's determination saw her register her first singles win and this laid the foundation for the rest of the team, with Watson Steele, Loughlan and Pam producing fantastic tennis in difficult conditions to win their singles matches and defeat Bedfordshire 5-1.

'The team can be extremely proud of their efforts this weekend. They've shown great team spirit and determination to get themselves to the national finals. Let's hope they can continue this winning mentality when they play at Nottingham.' said team captain, Chris Hirst.



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