This year, the Nottinghamshire Men’s team was back in North Oxford to compete in Division Five. Throughout the week we had different personnel due to other commitments that meant a total of ten players were part of this year’s team.
Day One vs. Durham & Cleveland (Mactaggart/West, Praditgnam/Luiggi, Chivers/Peters)
After the first round, Notts were 2-1 down. Jamie and Pierre started off with a quick-fire win whilst the others lost tight three set battles. From there after, a massive effort from our top two pairs gives Notts a 5-4 win! This was our first summer win since 2012!
Day Two vs. Devon (Mactaggart/West, Praditgnam/Luiggi, Barton/Peters)
After Monday, spirits were high and with the bonus of Dave Barton coming in for two days, the boys were pumped ready for the day. Again after the first round we found ourselves 2-1 down, which could have been worse but for a mammoth 7/6 third set win for Ben and Dom. Then came the second round of matches which at one point we were up in all three matches but in the space of 30 minutes, we went from a probable 4-2 advantage to a 5-1 deficit. Knowing how important rubbers are throughout the week, we fought back to finish the day 5-4 down. Today was Dom and Phil’s last day so changes were to come for the rest of the week but a special mention goes out to Dom, who at only 16 played like he had been doing it for years and played some exceptional tennis. A massive loss to the team for the rest of the week.
Day Three vs. Gloucestershire (Mactaggart/Barton, Praditgnam/Luiggi, Chivers/Defusto)
Going in to today, we knew how big this day was. We were desperate for a win to all but guarantee us safety but it wasn’t to be. Pierre and Jamie endured a tough 6 in the third loss and credit to the Gloucs team, they were playing some very good tennis to get them the 6-3 win.
Day Four vs. Dorset (Praditgnam/Luiggi, Higham/Defusto, Chivers/Smith)
Dorset were on course for promotion and we knew how tough today might be so the primary concern was to get as many rubbers as we could knowing how tight the table would be at the end of the week. In the end, we managed to get two rubbers against the best team in the division. It could have been three with Notts having a match point in the last rubber of the day but going down in three sets. With the results ending the way they did, at the end of today Notts were in the relegation zone by one rubber. We had to get on court on Friday, but the weather forecast was horrific.
Day Five vs. Warwickshire
From the moment our morning alarms went off, the rain was pouring down. The referee called and said not to come down before 11:30am, and eventually a decision was to be made at 1pm with regards to if any play is possible. After a trip to the driving range to pass the time, we went to the club and sure enough at 1pm, the decision came that there would be no play possible and that the division standings would remain meaning Notts were relegated by ONE RUBBER! To say that we were gutted would be an understatement. We were on the wrong side of eight three set matches throughout the week and an incredible momentum swing on Tuesday, which ultimately put us where we are.
Despite relegation, the boys gave it everything. Its important to understand that we are a team in transition having lost our top 5/6 players at one time, so a lot of the players in this team are still learning (average age 21) but will continue to learn and improve and we all look forward to a big promotion push next year!
Nottinghamshire Men’s Captain
Top: Pierre Luiggi, Dave Barton, Callum Chivers, Ben Mactaggart, Jamie Praditgnam.
Bottom: Jonny Higham, James Defusto, Luke Smith.
Not Pictured: Dominic West, Philip Peters