14U Boys County Cup at Carlisle

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Group C


3/4/5 May 2014


Chatsworth Tennis Club Carlisle

Team (l to r)

Joel Hemmings, Daniel Blackburn, James Wood, Luke Ince, Harry Harrold-Vaux

Match results

 Notts v West of Scotland 0-6
  Notts v Cumbria 5-1
  Notts v Durham and Cleveland. 1-5


Captain's report:

Some bizarre arrangements with the minibus meant we were able to get an early departure to Carlisle. Four hours door to door with coffee stops but we arrived in plenty of time to get a practice court.It became clear that West of Scotland could be as strong on court as they were on paper. They were ebullient after a win against Cumbria, the third team in our group, with the loss of only two games in the singles and four games in the doubles.

Our doubles against them were good strong matches and some tactical manoeuvring gave us a chance of taking one rubber but we had to settle for equaling Cumbria's game count but no matches. A reprimand for an illegal t-shirt and free sweet kebabs rounded up the activities nicely


Quietly confident of a good round of singles against them now that the big names had been seen to be as fallible as the rest, we retired to our quarters. At dinner, hats were awarded for Shot of the day, Faux-pas du jour, Sportsmanship, Most Games and Effort. Over the next few days, some players seemed to be modeling their play on which hat suited them best.

Singles on day 2 were very tough against an in-form West of Scotland. Some courageous fighting ensued and we boosted our game tally to 14 but we were unable to take a rubber. Energising toasties gave the  necessary boost and singles v Cumbria was a clean sweep for Notts. Joel staged a renaissance at 5-2 down in the first to convert on court 4. James had waged a powerful and gritty campaign on Court 2 for the loss of very few games. Harry, in common with everyone else, rode out a tight beginning to set 2 to take court 3. Daniel had every one on site watching his nail biter on court one. Not enough that we had to watch the first 2 sets see-saw but he made us watch breathless as, at 5-4 up in the 3rd he wrestled with 12 (some say more) deuces and 2 or 3 match points before winning 6-2 3-6 6-4 in two and a half hours. Marvellous composure from all players (Luke played an exhibition match against Cheshire) in the face of some testing gamesmanship. Dubs were played intensely despite being dead rubbers and our 1st pair won a hard fought tag event 12-10 in the 3rd set tiebreak. 5-7 2-6 in the second doubles rubber

We progress into Day 3 for the 3/4 place play offs against Durham and Cleveland. West of Scotland, very strong contenders on finals day in Nottingham, will play Cheshire.

Can we get a wildcard for Nottm?

Day three, Chatsworth Tennis Club.  We chose not to change a winning formula as the pre-breakfast run had stood us in good stead yesterday (and got retweeted by Martin Weston). Today's route circumnavigated Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United.

Before start of play, Mark the asst ref, led a minutes silence for Elena Baltacha who had sadly passed away the previous day.

Buoyed by the performance against Cumbria we hit the ground running against Durham and Cleveland to contest 3rd place which was surely deserved and earned. Daniel and James set the tone with courageous effort at 1 & 2 but without a win, leaving Joel and Harry to take at least one win to make the doubles live. Harry lost his first set and Joel won his. Second sets went against the first so both matches were a set all. Harry totally reversed the flow of his match and his body language and aggressive passing shots resulted in his winning the 3rd set to 2 and taking the rubber.  Joel similarly looked strong to the end but could not claim the rubber. This left Daniel and James, and, Harry and Luke needing to win both doubles rubbers to force a shoot out. Dan and James won the first set comfortably and started the second strongly, however, Durham & Cleveland managed to shift momentum and the boys conceded the 2nd set. Again, Daniel played to a packed house as he and James battled a 10 point match tie-break. No shortage of drama as they went neck and neck to 10-10 but sadly lost 10-12 leaving Harry and Luke's match a well fought  consolation and Notts took fourth place over weekend.

I recommend anyone to watch the finals in Nottingham to see the level of competition these boys were in. They were magnificent in courtesy, competitiveness and camaraderie and were complemented on such by officials, coaches and hotel staff. They made my inaugural captaincy a pleasure and Maria and I were proud to be associated with them as I'm sure Notts LTA are.

Ps. Brunton Park hasn't given Carlisle United much luck either, they're below Notts County and in the relegation zone. 

Tass Towers



Notts LTA
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