AEGON Mens Summer County Cup 2017
Nottinghamshire’s county teams are sponsored by Brenntag
Team:- Callum Chivers (Capt); Ben Dunbar; Patrick Foley; Pierre Luiggi; Jamie Praditngam; Phillip Peters; Dominic West
We were playing in Felixstowe for the second year in a row to compete in Division 5 after winning promotion last year. We were blessed to have many of those promoted last year back to represent us again this year. We also had Patrick Foley coming in for his summer county cup debut, and we were glad to welcome back Ben Dunbar for the first time in over five years. Ben had flown over from Albuquerque in the US especially to play for the first three days of the event before continuing on to Germany for work commitments. A big thank you to Ben for doing this and adding great value and experience to the team.
The initial weather forecast for Monday wasn’t good, and it proved to be true. No play whatsoever meant that Tuesday was going to be a hectic day! We ended up playing five rounds of matches, three rounds against Durham and Cleveland, whom we beat 6-3 and then two rounds against Warwickshire leaving us 4-2 overnight.
On Wednesday, still trying to catch up for losing Monday to rain, we were having to play four rounds of matches. We were unable to turn around the deficit from the previous day against Warwickshire and lost that 6-3, so we then took on West of Scotland. This proved to be one of the more frustrating days as even though we lost the day 6-3, we lost four matches in match tie-breaks, it was incredibly competitive.
Back to normal schedule now on Thursday, we were against local rivals, Leicestershire. We knew that this was always going to be a difficult day and that every match was so important. The way this division was turning out meant that every day was winnable, as everyone was beating everyone! True to form, there were some big moments throughout the day. Dominic West and Pierre Luiggi came through a three-hour marathon having squandered match points in the second set to win 7-5 6-7 7-6 which was huge for what was to happen. Jamie Praditgnam and Marcus Walters dominated their first two matches, with Patrick and Phil Peters losing two tough matches leaving us 4-2 up going into the final round. The other matches had all gone back to their hotels finished by the time we had even started the final round, proving how long these matches have been. With Patrick/Phil and Dom/Pierre losing, it left it to Marcus and Jamie to get us the win and they did so in a very tight match.
So on the final day, with the way that results had gone throughout the week, it all came down to who won between us and Gloucestershire to avoid relegation back to Division 6 where we both came from the previous year. Patrick and Phil were soundly beaten by one of the best pairs in the division, but Dom/Pierre and Marcus/Jamie won well to give us the edge at 2-1. On to the next round, Dom and Pierre lost, Jamie and Marcus won easily leaving it 3-2 with Patrick and Phil still on court. After two hours and not much in it, unfortunately the boys lost out 6-4 in the final set to leave it 3-3. It couldn’t be tighter! With all things considered, I felt that we needed to make a change to get the overall win and keep us up, so I decided to sub myself in in place of Patrick for the final round. Dom and Pierre played with incredible intensity to get us the early advantage. Jamie and Marcus were in the toughest match of their week, and were beaten by a better pair on this occasion leaving it 4-4, so whoever wins the final match keeps their county in the division. Phil and I had an excellent start, winning the first set 6-2 but like any good players do, they come back stronger and took the second set by the same score. One set shootout! After some good play and with the team supporting us from the sidelines, we got the early break in the third set and managed to get to 5-3 15-40…2 match points. The first was well saved by the opposition and the second was a rough bounce, but on the third match point the return was made and the volley floated long meaning we had won the match, we avoided relegation, and celebrations began!
It was an incredibly tough week with every day being so competitive, but the way that the team all played and contributed on and off the court was a credit to our county. This is a group of players who have the potential to carry this county forward for many years to come. It is an absolute pleasure to be the captain of this team, and I thank them for their commitment throughout.
Nottinghamshire Men’s Captain