L2R Simon Ashmore (Capt), Ross Lory, Pierre Luiggi, Marcus Walters, Donavon Cellupica-Towers, Jacob Clarke, James Defusto, Eban Straker-Meads (being held), Alexander Buckley, Jonathon Burke & Vice Captain Callum Chivers
Day 1 v Northumberland:
It was so nice to get back to Graves Tennis Centre as this is one of the very best county cup venues in the calendar. All teams apart from Northumberland looked very close in age and ratings with Leicestershire looking slight favorites over ourselves. The first 3 matches went on with Jonathon Burke at 6; Jacob Clarke at 5 and Donovan Cellupica-Towers at 4. We had a great start to the day by taking the 1st sets in all 3 matches, Donovan managed to win in two set 7/5 6/3 but the other boys got taken to 3 sets with Jonny winning 6/2 1/6 6/4 in a match that lasted over the 2 hour mark, but it was a great match to win as Jonny was 4/1 down in the 3rd set and you could feel this was a massive win for us as Jacob had just lost 6/4 4/6 0/6.
We could take a deep breath, playing at 3 James Defusto, 2 Marcus Walters and 1 Pierre Luiggi.
Our top order looked very strong with all 3 players winning, James won 6/3 6/2 Marcus was looking fantastic winning 6/3 6/1 and Pierre playing the best match I’ve ever seen him play 7/6(4) 6/3.
With the day won 5-1 in matches it was time for the doubles, Northumberland looked like they had spent a long time on there doubles practice and they really did dominate us in all 3 matches, but I must say we did play poor which helped them to win all 3 matches. Pair 3 James and Jonny lost 3/6 4/6 pair 2 Donovan and Marcus lost 6/7, 7/6 5/10, pair 1 Alexander Buckley and Jacob lost a good match 4/6 4/6.
Day 2 v South Wales:
With Wales only losing 4/5 versus Leicestershire it shows they are a good team and they needed to win today to stop possible relegation from division 3 this year. After good performances in the singles yesterday I kept the same line up for day 2. We had a good start to the first 3 matches of the day, with Jacob playing at 5, won v a good solid player 6/4 7/5, and Donovan playing in top gear winning 6/4 6/3, Jonny was up against an opponent in great form who hit winners off everything, unfortunately losing 4/6 7/5.
Looking at the line up now, we have a 2-1 lead and would be happy to take 3-3 after the first 6 singles matches.
Marcus went on and looked every bit the fine/ Rolls Royce tennis player that he has become, winning with great poise and execution 6/2 6/3, James playing at 3 and Pierre at 1, lost to very good players 3/6 2/6 2/6 1/6 meaning 3-3 was a good result after the singles.
After a poor day one of doubles, all the players knew what I was expecting from today’s matches and had a real focus for these. I had changed the pairs around to balance them, with Donovan and Alex B playing at 3, winning in style 6/3 6/1 so we only need one more win to take the day. Playing at 1 was Marcus and Pierre losing 6/3 6/4, so it’s all down to the last match, James and Jonny and after a bad first days match, I was hoping for better today and I’m happy to say they played as I knew they could and cruised to the win with smiles on their faces winning 6/0 6/1.
Day 3 v Leicestershire:
The final day shoot out, who would come out on top?!!! After a great performance yesterday and also by myself beating all the boys at ten pin bowling the night before (with ease), I was looking for a 3 all after the singles as Leicestershire had beat Northumberland 7 rubbers to 2 yesterday but lost 2 doubles matches, they must be strong in the singles so bring it on..
We had a change to the line up with Alex playing his first ever singles match at county cup age 18, we must be mad but it was a great shout by my vice captain Callum, as Alex played a great powerful match winning in 3 sets 6/7(4) 6/4 6/3, Jacob lost a close long 3 setter 2/6 6/3 2/6, Donovan was looking for his hat trick of wins in his singles, and he didn’t let himself or the team down, winning and putting us 2-1 up 6/3 6/4 and he didn’t drop a set. WELL DONE DON. James and Pierre yet again had difficult matches losing 4/6 4/6 3/6 4/6 so its down to Marcus to get us to 3-3, and yet again just like Donovan, Marcus won all 3 singles matches in just 2 sets WELL DONE MARCUS winning 7/6(5) 6/3, our success all being down to the doubles!!!
After yesterday's result we had the same line up for the doubles. Pair 3 Donovan and Alex B found it hard going versus some great serves and volleys, losing 1/6 4/6, we must win the last two matches, but I am sad to say, we just fell short at pair 1 Marcus and Pierre having 5 match points but losing 6/3 2/6 (13-15) the day has gone!!! Pair 2 James and Jonny lost a close winnable match 3/6 4/6.
Overall the team did really well, and I know we will return stronger next year, having a huge opportunity to move up divisions. The boys are a credit to Nottinghamshire performance tennis.
With thanks to James Defusto for playing county cup over the past 4 years, and being a real driving force not just on the court, but with the banter, everyday he played on the county cup, and the passion and support he had for the event and all his team mates…… who will be the new James!!!!
Simon Ashmore (Capt)
Nottingham V Northumberland / Nottinghamshire won 5/4
Nottinghamshire v South Wales / Nottinghamshire won 5/4
Nottinghamshire v Leicestershire / Leicestershire won 6/3