The inter-county champs were an unparalleled success for the Notts Ladies Over 35 team this year. Having suffered from disappointment and demotion over the previous 2 years, the team of Nadja Oliveira (nee Birch-von Richter), Maia Dunn, Caroline Milns, Aldona Greenwood (captain) and Lisa Knowles were very motivated to make sure Notts wouldn’t spend more than 1 year in division 6. As usual, the weather threatened to spoil the weekend’s tennis but the sun came out each day to ensure we could complete a whitewash of all the teams in the group. There was also a new member of the squad this year in Maia Dunn who kept her team mates energised with vast amounts of fruit pastilles (only the green, yellow and orange ones were offered out!) and who also played 3 great singles matches over the weekend (maybe the boiled egg white breakfasts and trays of Marks and Spencer salmon had something to do with it?!).
The first day of the competition saw us face Northamptonshire which gave us a 5-0 victory and a very satisfying end to the first day’s play. On day 2, Notts kept Pippa and her excellent physios fully occupied for much of the day with injuries ranging from blisters to ligament tears needing treatment. Despite the injuries, the team managed a 5-0 demolition of Cumbria to put Notts in the strongest position of all the teams going into day 3. There was much calculating and deliberation on the Saturday night about the possible outcome of the group if Notts were to lose on Sunday, or if (more likely), rain was to prevent any play. In the end there was disagreement on the maths, so it was unanimously agreed that another 5-0 win would be the best plan!
Unfortunately, the plan didn’t quite work out as the heaviest rain of the weekend arrived on Sunday morning, which delayed the start of play until midday. However, Notts managed another 3-0 win before North Wales conceded as it was late in the day and there were some long journeys ahead.
It was a fantastic effort by all of the Notts team. The only sullen note all weekend was the announcement that the existing format of the competition may be altered, combined with the over 40s and played over several weekends.
Thanks must go also to Janine and Tony, owners of the regular team bed and breakfast,17, Wilmington Square which has become a familiar base for the team and whose dog Turkish was as usual always there to greet us after matches. Furthermore, we were lucky to have a large group of supporters, some of whom hadn’t seen each other for 20 years!
(Over 35 Notts Ladies Captain)