On Saturday 13th August, Hampshire and IOW 9U County Cup team were participating in Group I at Oxstalls Tennis Centre in Gloucestershire.
We had a strong team including:
William Addleton, Arthur Attrill, Sam Cawood, Connor Guest, Lily Bebbington, Jasmine Casella, Darcey Clarke, Evangeline Howard
The other counties in the group were: Avon, Gloucestershire, South Wales and Wiltshire
Our first opponents of the day were the home team Gloucestershire who had a strong team. It's always really important to have a strong start in the first match to settle the players’ nerves and feel good for the rest of the day. We won four out of the six singles rubbers which was fantastic with some long matches. We won two out of three doubles to give us a 6-3 win.
Next we were up against Avon who won last year’s event and always have a strong team. After the boys and girls singles we were 4-2 down after some close battles. Our team put in some good training sessions with our doubles play, but we just came short and lost 2 out of the 3 doubles to lose overall.
South Wales were our next opponents who were probably favourites to win the event this year. The boys gave us a 3-0 winning start which was a great effort and gave us the platform to possibly giving us a shock win.The South Wales girls, who were all Orange 1*, then took control of the match with 3 wins in the singles and then 3 wins in the doubles. Hampshire and IOW tried really hard and unfortunately lost 6-3.
In our last match of the day was against Wiltshire who didn't win a match all day, however the Hampshire and IOW team knew they would want to leave the event on a high. The boys went out first and appeared to be comfortable being a set up and match point up however a spirited Wiltshire team won 2 out of 3 singles. Wiltshire had a strong girls team which they won 2 out of 3 singles as well, with Darcey Clarke playing a great match at number 2 to give us a valuable point. We needed to win the last 3 doubles matches to win overall. The boys did a great job to put the singles matches behind them and won in 3 sets. Another long battle in the mixed doubles gave us a win in 3 sets and then it all came down to the last match in the building. Winner takes all. Darcey, still on a high from her singles, and Lily, who was rested from the singles, came on and won a long 3 set match to give Hampshire and IOW a 5-4 win. The team showed amazing team spirit and determination to win and come third overall.
It was another great event and even without an overall win, the experience gained will be invaluable for all the players on the team to use next year if they play in the 9Us or 10Us team. Credit goes to Arthur Attrill who is the first player to play in the under 9U County team from the Isle of Wight in recent years. The whole team were really well behaved and showed they all have a bright future in County Cup tennis and beyond.
Sam Cummings, Team Captain