The AEGON Winter County Cup event took place this weekend at 18 different indoor venues across the country with Hertfordshire Men & Ladies taking home the silverware on Sunday evening.
The men, led by Jeff Wayne, have now won the men’s event for a record five years running and this, coupled with their dominance of the Summer County Cup event, means that Hertfordshire Men have won seven senior County Cup events running.
Jeff Wayne said; ‘It has been an extreme privilege to captain the Herts Men’s team for the last 21 years and that it was an immensely proud moment to have now won seven (CC Event) titles in five years. The support has been tremendous and everyone has contributed to the success of the team. I'm now looking forward to the Summer CC Event and defending the title!’
"Herts Ladies started the weekend with a solid win against a slightly weakened Lancashire side, 7-2.
Great performances from all players, including the 2 newcomers to the Herts Ladies squad, Katherine Whiteaway and Jennifer Brown.
The next two days were going to be tougher so we had to raise our game against Middlesex on Saturday. Although we fought hard we found ourselves at 0-3 after the first group of singles.
But, nobody's head went down and we battled through, point by point, match by match, to claw back to 3-3 after singles. The momentum was with us and we were more than ready for the challenge of winning 2/3 doubles. Our 3rd pair fought well but succumbed to a strong Middx pair, leaving us at 3-4 and needing to win the last two matches. In true County Cup style both matches went to the wire and a 3rd set championship tie break. Our 2nd pair, of Amanda Elliott and Katy Dunne, found some great strength after a slow second set to force through a 10-8 win. Great. 4-4!! All eyes then went to Alissa Ayling and Katharine Baker for their championship tie break which saw them face two match points against them. Some great serving by Kat and a super reaction volley from Alissa got them back in the game and a match point of their own. Which they won and gained us a crucial 5-4 victory against a strong Middx side. It was a breathtaking watch, literally!
This not only meant that we'd ensured a place in the top two and would be back in group 1 next year, but that we were able to compete for the title on the last day against Yorkshire who also had two winning days.
The last day against Yorkshire was, quite astonishingly, a near blueprint of what had happened the day before. We found ourselves at 0-3 down. Came back to 3-3 with some very experienced tennis from our seasoned players. The entire Championship then hung on us being able to win 2/3 doubles. Again, the 3rd pair fought well but fell to their counterparts, leaving us a 3-4. At which point we were set down in both remaining matches. We'd learnt from the previous day, that our girls were not going to stop until they'd given it everything they had. Both pairs fought back tremendously to draw even. Once again we faced two agonising championship tie breaks. Alissa Ayling and Katharine Baker again called on their wisdom and experience to quash the Middx 2nd pair and get off court to cheer on our remaining pair, Claire Ricketts and Amanda Elliott. A nerve wracking 10 mins later, they'd battled their way to a match point for which Claire cleverly chose a well timed (and deserved) dribble net cord to finish and give us the title. Amazing!
I'm not sure words can describe the phenomenal achievement that every one of our girls accomplished, from a very tough position. But I can imagine that both Yorkshire and Middlesex were blindsided by the sheer heart and determination that our girls displayed. Well done to the whole team. National Winter Champions for the 3rd time. And sharing it with our unstoppable Herts men is simply the icing on the cake.
So many noteworthy performances across the weekend, I am unable to list them all. You know who you are. Thanks girls and well done.
Alissa Ayling, Katharine Baker, Jennifer Brown, Katy Dunne, Amanda Elliott, Claire Ricketts, Katherine Whiteaway, Sammie Williams."