Cambridgeshire 10 and under girls just miss out on Finals

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cambridgeshire’s team of Marennah Prempeh, Isabelle Harvard, Sophie Tjurina and Gabriella Zailer-Fletcher played very well over the weekend to finish second to Hertfordshire in the Aegon 10 and under County Cup at Woodbridge.

The girls played in a group of 6 Counties where there were two boxes of three teams. They played their box matches on the Saturday and if the team finished first or second then they contested the semi-finals and finals on the Sunday.

Cambridgeshire were in a group with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire on the Saturday and were without their top player Marennah Prempeh who had a prior commitment. The girls had to play a very strong Hertfordshire team in their first match which was always going to be a daunting prospect. Each match consisted of three singles and one doubles rubber.

Isabelle had to play at number one and although she battled very hard against Hannah Read she lost 1/4, 1/4. Sophie then played at number two against the talented Mafalda Almela Lozano and lost 0/4, 1/4 and then Gabriella at number three lost to Erin Pearce 0/4, 1/4. In the doubles Sophie paired up with Gabriella and narrowly lost to Hannah Read and Erin Pearce 2/4, 4/0 and 4-10 in the match tie break.

This meant that the team had to beat Bedfordshire to progress to the semi-finals on Sunday. The girls responded very positively after the ‘pep’ talk and came out firing for the second match!

Isabelle beat Megan Brook 4/0, 4/1 and then Sophie beat Maddie Whitley 4/1, 4/1 and finally Gabriella beat Megan Howlett 4/0, 4/0. In the doubles Sophie and Isabelle beat Brook and Howlett 4/1, 4/1 to win overall 4 matches to 0.

This meant Cambridgeshire had to play the winner of the other box, which was Essex in the semi-finals on Sunday. The team was strengthened by the inclusion of Marennah and the match against Essex was a great spectacle and extremely close.

Marennah played Ellie Blackford in the top singles; Isabelle played Selena Brathwaite in the second singles and Sophie played Sophie Thompson in the third singles. All three matches were played at the same time and Cambs got off to a good start in all the matches Marennah winning the first set 4/1; Izzy winning the first set 4/2 and Sophie having a marathon to win her first set 5/4. However the matches were extremely tight and Essex fought back strongly – it was very nerve wracking! Marennah lost the second set 0/4 and then the match tie break 6-10 to give Essex a 1-0 lead but played some very good tennis. Isabelle lost the second set 4/5 and went 5-8 down in the match tie break but fought back to take the tie break 10-8 so the matches were level. Meanwhile Sophie was still battling away and went 5/4, 3/0 up but then Essex pulled back and the set went into another toebreak which Sophie won 10-8.

Cambs were 2 matches to 1 up after the singles with everything then resting on the doubles.

Marennah and Sophie played Ellie and Selena in a very tense and exciting doubles. Cambs went 3-1 up before being pulled back and the first set went into a tie break which the girls won 7-5. The second set followed a similar pattern and again went into a tie break which Cambs won 7/4. Overall they won 5/4, 5/4.

This meant they were into the final to play Herts again! The girls had given everything in the semi-finals and all played very well.

In the final Herts again proved too strong Hannah Read was too powerful for Marennah winning 4/1, 4/0. Isabelle gave Mafalda Almela Lozano a good game at number two losing 3/5, 1/4 and Gabriella had her chances against Erin Pearce and was leading 5-1 in the first set tiebreak before an interruption distracted her and she lost the tiebreak 8-10 and then lost the second set 4/1. Hertfordshire were deserved winners overall but it was a great effort from the Cambridgeshire girls to finish second and an excellent result over Essex.

Captain Sue Rich was very pleased with the team spirit and the effort and competitiveness of the girls especially against Essex.



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