The Lancashire 12&U boy’s teams arrived at Bolton arena on Friday with a real sense of enthusiasm after reaching the finals. Our draw for the weekend was to compete on Friday against a very strong Avon team, followed on Saturday by two tough ties’ against Warwickshire and Essex with the deciding position being played for on the Sunday.
Friday 8th vs Avon
Up first for Lancs was Tomas Alam who played at one against a good national level player in James Vincent. Tomas lost his match 4-0,4-0 and although the scoreline doesn’t suggest, he competed really well in many points. Reuben Warwick then stepped in and had a great battle in his match which sadly he just fell short going down 4-2, 5-4.
With the tie 2-0 down, Raza ghaus played at three and under immense pressure managed to win a tight three set match winning 4-2, 1-4, 10-2! This certainly inspired the team heading into the doubles and both Tomas and Jack played a strong match which sadly we lost 4-2, 5-4. A tough loss which could have gone either way against a very strong team who eventually played in the final!
Lancashire 1 Avon 3
Saturday 9th vs Warwickshire & Essex
After a tough day 1, the Lancs boys were determined to ensure they continued to compete in their group with our first contestants being Warwickshire. Tomas Alam got the team off to a great start winning 4-0,4-1 which inspired Reuben and Raza to follow the momentum winning 4-1,4-1 and 4-2 4-1. With the tie completed with Lancashire 3-0 up, Matthew Gordon and Jack McDermott contested the doubles tie winning 10-7 in a 3rd set tie break. A fantastic response from the team winning every match in the tie.
Lancashire 4 Wawrickshire 0
Up next was a very dangerous team in Essex, who had just lost in an extremely intense shootout to Avon, meaning the Lancashire & Essex tie was to compete to play for 3rd & 4th place finish on Sunday.
Tomas Alam came out first with a great fight against Adam Groves which he lost in three tight sets. This meant Reuben stepped up and completely inspired all by winning his match in two straight sets. Jack McDermott was chosen to contest the third singles match against a feisty Anthony Wright who won 5-3, 0-4.
With the tie 2-1 to Essex with only a doubles to go, there was a long delay on the decisions of who would step up for the doubles rubber, whereby the team realized that a win for Lancashire would ensure 3rd or 4th spot regardless of the overall tie score.
Up stepped Raza Ghaus and Reuben Wawrick, who were perhaps not seen as the first initial selection. The team lost the first set 4-2 and where 2-1 down, all seemed lost and then…. Raza and Reuben stepped up their levels to grab the match by the scruff of the neck to come back from 2-1 down in the second to win in three sets… this result ensured Lancashire where competing for 3rd or 4th place…. A monumental performance by both boys and a credit to the team for their efforts in digging out a massive win!... for sure the match of the event so far! In addition to this, the team found out that they had reached the play off sport by ONE set on the table, which just shows how every set counted over the two days!
With the play-off spot secure, Tomas and Raza contested the shoot-out but fell short loosing 10-6.
Lancashire 2 Essex 3
Sunday 10th vs South Wales
With the fixture determining the finish spot in the finals, all was to play for on the final day of the event. Lancashire were up against an extremely strong South Wales team, who had a national standard player in Hugo Cochlin.
Tomas Alam stepped in first against a good number one player in Shay Ryan which Tomas completely swarmed winning the match 4-1, 4-0. A massive start for the team. This meant Reuben Wawrick had an enormous task ahead against the very highly rated Hugo who had recently reached the semi-finals of a grade 1 Tennis Europe event and, had beaten the number 1 player for Surrey earlier on in the event.
Reuben started off slowly slightly overwhelmed going down 4-1, he then stepped up and matched his opponent with some stunning shot making and decision making winning the second set 4-2.. all was to play for in the 3rd set which he won 11-9! An extremely brave and courageous result for Reuben who put the team 2-0 up in the tie.
Raza Ghaus then arrived on court determined to finish the job against a very temperamental and feisty Rufus Plane. Raza started off immensely well taking the first set 4-2, with everything under control, the tie then started to change, Rufus came back to take the second 4-2 and in the third and final set, after each having match points, referee warning the opposition, mishits, lines calls, emotions, Rufus managed to sneak through winning the match 12-10 in the 3rd and final set! This was for sure an extremely good match from Raza who was a credit to the county for his efforts who played and an outcome with such small margins!
With the score at 2-1 to Lancs, the tie then sadly reversed with South Wales coming out extremely resilient and strong to win both the doubles and shootout. The final result being Lancashire 2 South Wales 3.
An extremely tough result on the day for the team to take, especially with two extremely big results individually for Tomas and Reuben, with Raza also close, this result showed the team just how close the margins where at this level and most importantly, showed everyone that Lancashire would compete and fight right through til the end.
Lancashire finished the event in 4th position which, out of the 48 teams who contested in the qualifying rounds and the 8 teams in the finals, to finish in 4th spot was an EXTREMELY REWARDING FINAL POSITION.
As a last note, I would like to thank the two assistant coaches, Joe & Cerys who supported the team throughout the qualifying and the finals, all of the parents for their support and commitments, and lastly…… to the five players who certainly inspired all and represented themselves, their family and coaches but most importantly their County extremely well.
12&U Boys Lancashire County Cup Captain 2016