After a successful promotion to division 2 in the Summer, Notts Ladies travelled to Taunton to try and emulate the same performance and do all we could to ensure Nottinghamshire climbed as high as possible in the county cup leadership race. Travelling with a young team, backed up with the experience of Emily Crowe (who flew back from Amsterdam), Sarah Wright, Lucy Gill and Captain Sarah Usher we knew we had the capability to deliver some good wins.
The first day saw us face our favourite rivals Avon. Millie-Mae Matthews got our first win on the board in her ladies singles debut with a good win against a GB Over 35’S Player 6-4 6-2. Higher up the order some tough singles were battled with Lucy Gill battling valiantly against a Venezuelan former No 710 in the world and Anna Buckley and Emily Crowe delivering gritty performances against some tough opponents. Trailing 3-1 in the singles Sarah Wright and Millie Rajecki secured 2 comfortable wins making it all square after the singles rubbers with everything to play for in the doubles. Millie-Mae and Anna put in a really mature performance to take their match against 2 experienced doubles players, Lucy and Emily fought hard against the Venezuelan and her hard hitting partner so it was all down to Sarah and Millie to do the honours winning comprehensively to give us a 5-4 win.
Day 2 saw us face Norfolk, notoriously difficult opponents and very strong doubles pairings who had lost to Dorset the day before. Ellie Fitzsimmons made her senior debut at number 6 performed excellently to take her first win 6-4 6-3 with some amazing flair, getting Notts on the board. Lucy followed up with another great performance 6-2 6-3 and things were looking good. Anna and Emily faced some very good and tough opponents meaning making us level at 2-2 but Sarah and Millie made short work of their matches dropping only 6 games between. Skip Sarah Usher decided to mix up the pairings to test the hard hitting youngsters with the experienced doubles 'oldies'. The idea proved very successful with Millie-Mae and Lucy, Emily and Ellie and Sarah and Millie all securing great wind and an overall 7-2 victory.
Sunday saw us playing for promotion against a slightly strengthened Dorset side and with the group tightly poised any 3 of the opposing teams were fighting against relegation so we knew we had a battle on our hands. Reverting back to the starting line up on Friday we came out of the blocks quick with Millie-Mae and Lucy producing some great tennis to take an early 2-0 lead. Emily battled a marathon to take a 3 set win at number 3 and Sarah and Millie produced some more great tennis dropping only a further 3 games each to give us well deserved promotion after the singles. Due to the closeness of the group we had to play all the rubbers with the young/experience pairings staying solid to take all 3 wins and secure an 8-1 victory.
These strong doubles performances have given us great belief and hope for next years summer competition and an eye on Division 1 in the future and confirms the great depth and upcoming talent Nottinghamshire has.
I am so proud of each and every member of the team who stepped up and played with heart and passion for Nottinghamshire and supported each player through every point and match. That is what makes county tennis special, a desire to win for each other and as team captain I am hugely optimistic for what the ladies can achieve over the coming years.
A special mention of thanks to the county for the team t-shirts and our sponsors Brenntag for our tracksuits. We not only played the part but looked the part too!
Here’s to another successful run in 2020.
Millie-Mae Matthews, Lucy Gill, Anna Buckley, Emily Crowe, Sarah Wright, Millie Rajecki, Ellie Fitzsimmons, Sarah Usher (c)