Team: Jack Stamp, Samuel Evans, Hugo Dunn, Jasper Riley
The team arrived early for a good warm-up and to find their rhythm before the referees briefing at 10.30am. There was some nervous excitement in the air, but all the boys were up for what turned into a long day on court!
First up for Notts was Leicestershire, who we knew would be a strong team, and this was proven with some fantastic tennis played across all four rubbers.
Spearheading the team at No. 1, Jack got off to a great start, breaking in the first game, and playing a high level of tennis against a tough opponent. Unfortunately he went on to lose 4-2 4-1. The score not reflecting how close the match really was.
Playing at No. 2, Sam took a while to find his game, and lost out 4-1 4-1 against a consistent opponent who put a lot of balls in court.
Hugo and Jasper, still officially Orange players till April and playing at No. 3 & 4 respectively, went into their matches positive that Notts could still get something out of the tie. Hugo started solidly whilst Jasper went 2-0 up in a flash but unfortunately both went on to lose the first set. Digging deep, both levelled their matches at one set all and we were into our first, of many, match tiebreaks of the day. After some good tennis, Hugo just lost out (5-3 3-5 10-5) however Jasper played some inspired shots not allowing his opponent any margin for error and managed to get our first win on the board with a 2-4 5-4 10-6 comeback.
The final score was a 3-1 win for Leicestershire. A tough first tie, but some real positives to draw on for the rest of the day.
The second tie for Team Notts was against Hereford & Worcestershire. So long were both Hugo & Jasper’s first matches, against Leics, that Jack had to start before they had finished!
Playing a talented left hander, it seemed to throw him off his game a little as he lost the first set 4-1. However with the full team back supporting on the sidelines, he started to find his range and fought back to win both the 2nd set and match tiebreak, recording a 1-4 5-4 10-6 victory. Brilliant!
Sam, playing much more confidently, stepped up the court for his second match dictating play with his forehand and stringing together some great play. This being said, it was his single handed backhand that produced possibly the shot of the day. At the end of a fairly lengthy rally, he chased down a drop shop and flicked the ball back crosscourt for a winner, Federer-esque, from the tramlines of the next court. Incredible scenes!! He went on to take a good win 4-2 1-4 10-1.
Having refuelled and recovered from his 3 setter, we all realised early on Hugo was in for another long one against a very solid opponent. Exchanging breaks, Hugo was constructing some good points, looking to get into the net as often as possible. Unfortunately he just missed out on the first set in a tiebreak, but came back strongly to take the second 5-3. Into another match tiebreak we went! Slipping to a 5-1 and then 8-5 deficit, it was looking like Hugo was going to suffer another agonising loss but he fought for every point and eventually won 11-9 (4-5 5-3 11-9), saving match point at 8-9. Great stuff!
Jasper built on his confidence from his first match, and never gave his opponent a look in taking the win 4-1 4-0. A dominant display.
A fantastic result for Notts, winning the tie 4-0 whilst demonstrating some real fighting spirit to take all three match tiebreaks!
Going into the final round of the day, it was all to play for against Bedfordshire. If we took the victory and Leicestershire lost, we could still top the day on matches/sets won.
Jack, up against an opponent almost as tall as the spectators on the sidelines, had a real roller-coaster of a match. With rallies rarely going beyond the first two or three shots, before he knew it the first set had gone, 4-0. Just as quickly as the first, the second was the same, but 4-0 in his favour. All to play for in the tiebreak, and what a tiebreak it was. An epic, Jack just lost out 15-13. A cracking effort from him to finish the day.
Sam, still flying high after his win in the previous round, raced away with his first set winning it 4-1. Sadly, battling 3-1 down in the second, Sam’s day came to a premature end when he had to retire with a groin strain. I hope he has a speedy recovery, and is back on court soon.
After cruising to his second win of the day, Jasper continued to play ruthlessly recording a 4-0 4-0 victory, taking him to 3 wins for the day. A great set of results.
The final rubber of the day to get underway was Hugo. Losing out on another tight first set, it definitely had the feel of déjà vu, and yes you’ve guessed correctly, he came back to win the second set in a tiebreak. In a moment of confusion, not surprisingly after hours spent on court, Hugo lost track of the score in the tiebreak but still managed to go onto win it. So, with the clock showing 4.45pm, we were into yet another and final match tiebreak of the day. It would’ve felt wrong if Hugo hadn’t played another one!! With some long gritty rallies and some great net play, he took the win (3-5 5-4 10-7) for Team Notts. Well done Hugo ‘The Match Tiebreak’ Dunn!
Wins for Hugo and Jasper tied us up at two rubbers each, resulting in a well-earned draw against Bedfordshire and some tense moments waiting to find out where that placed us for the day.
Once the scores had been totted up and the maths completed, it left the Notts 10U Boys in a close and well deserved 2nd place!!
The boys put in some great performances throughout the day. It was fantastic to see them all leave everything out on the court, in their matches, and support each other so well as a team from the sidelines. My thanks also to the parents for their support and chauffeur services on the day!!