Nottinghamshire Ladies travelled to Sunderland looking strong on paper, but knowing that many of the players prefer doubles to singles and others hadn’t set foot on a singles court for many years.
But the knowledge that we had Joss Rae for the first 2 days gave the team inner confidence, and with the return of Natasha Marks from the USA and a senior debut for Livvy Tomkins we were hopeful that maybe we could pull off the first day against the East of Scotland who we haven’t beaten for many years.
After the singles we were leading 4-2 with wins from Joss, Emily Crowe, Livvy and Sarah Wright. Natasha and Nina Luiggi both lost in tough 3 set battles. In the doubles Stephanie Barling teamed with Nina to take the 3rd pair tie and Sarah and Joss teamed up at first losing only 1 game.
Saturday saw us against the losers of the other tie from Friday – Durham and Cleveland. With the loss of Nina who had left to celebrate her 18th in London with family, Stephanie Barling came in at No 6 and fought hard before losing the first match. Sarah Wright brought in a 6-0, 6-0 victory over a junior that could not work out how to play against Sarah’s clever shots. The performance of the day went to Livvy who was up against Jo Cunliffe, a very experienced county player, but she pulled out a tactical mature game to beat her 6-3, 6-4. With a win from Joss again this left us 4-2 after the singles. Steph and Natasha teamed up at 3rd pair to win easily and Joss and Sarah won again with the loss of 1 game.
So with 2 wins and knowing we were likely to lose Jocelyn we were delighted when she changed her plans and said she would like to stay and play on Sunday. This made a huge difference going in to play Hampshire who had beaten Durham on day 1. After the singles we lead 5-1 so promotion was ours with yet another 6-0, 6-0 victory for Sarah Wright. After the doubles Nottinghamshire ran out 6-3 again so very consistent throughout the weekend.
Captains Sarah and Sarah were delighted with the team performance with absolutely everyone giving their all during the 3 days. Special mention to Joss – just for her amazing talent and ability to make everyone laugh and providing the new mascot for the weekend, Nina for coming all the way just for 1 day and to Livvy – who won all of her singles on her senior county debut.
As always it is a privilege to play for the County and it is good to see younger and older players enjoying our team events. The County Ladies will now play in Division Two next winter.
Team left to right : Emily Crowe, Laura Cooper, Stephanie Barling, Sarah Wright, Natasha Marks, Sarah Usher, Livvy Tomkins and Jocelyn Rae. Not photographed - Nina Luiggi and Pinky