Nottinghamshire Ladies Summer County Cup
This year saw us travelling to Cheltenham, one of our favourite venues, for another year in Division 3 and facing many of our East Midlands rivals.
The team had experienced a number of injuries throughout the previous weeks and also, as we have now come to expect, we had to make some incredibly last minute changes due to unforeseen circumstances.
Day 1 saw us against Northumberland but with last year’s top performers of Sarah Wright and Rebecca (Bec) Wood being on the aforementioned injury list (a broken wrist for Sarah and a trapped and damaged shoulder nerve for Bec) we were unable to get the early win we were looking for with Sarah and Bec winning 1 rubber and Emily Crowe and Livvy Tomkins – (who had also had several months with little play while revising for exams) picking up 2, we finished that day on a 6-3 loss.
Lincolnshire were our next opponents with the very experienced pairings of Jade and Charlie Windley and Yasmine Clarke and Leanne Tapson proving too strong for our pairs. We did however manage to pick up 3 wins against their 3rd pair.
So going in to Wednesday against top the unbeaten Northumberland we decided to ‘shake things up’ a little!! Sarah teamed up with Livvy, Emily with Nina Luiggi who was showing a lot of confidence and producing a much improved performance after her return from Bryant University in the USA and Bec teaming up with Ellie Horton. Sarah and Livvy won their first match putting us 2-1 down after round 1. In round 2 another win for Sarah and Livvy and a fabulous performance from Emily and Nina meant we’d managed to level at 3-3. So with all to play for, we decided to put in the very experienced and ‘fresh’ Steph Barling to team up with Rebecca Wood. The match went to 4-4 with Steph and Bec tying at 1 set all !! And experience managed to pull out an epic 3 set win to give us the really unexpected victory.
On Thursday, we were playing Essex, who were looking very strong with an unbeaten 1st pair consisting of 2 full time players. Wins from Sarah and Livvy and Emily and Laura Cooper meant we lost the match 7-2 but not without Sarah and Livvy providing a hell of a shock for the Essex Number 1s by leading 6-4 and 1-1 when the heavens opened and a rain break of 45 minutes ensued. Returning on the astro rather than grass our pair were clearly at a disadvantage and didn’t manage to stop the Essex pair gaining entry to the prestigious 15/15 club.
So all to play for on the Friday as it was not cut and dry who was going to be promoted and who would be relegated. Playing against Leicester who had defeated us the previous year we managed to pull of a 6-3 win which left us just in the relegation zone.
In previous years 2 wins would be enough to stay in the division but sadly this year it was not to be and with many of our girls choosing to remain in the US over the summer it’s always quite hard to field a team.
But we take away many positives from this year. 17 year old Livvy was superb and a real asset to the team even with her enforced revision break. And she’s hoping to study at a University in the UK so we hope she will be a major part of the team for many years to come. Nina Luiggi was the most improved performer in the squad and hopefully she can consolidate this progress in her next year at Bryant. And Bec and Sarah are now injury free as we look forward to Winter County Cup in November.
Sarah Usher, Sarah Wright (Co-Captains), Emily Crowe, Livvy Tomkins, Bec Wood, Nina Luiggi, Ellie Horton, Steph Barling, Laura Cooper and Amelia Rajecki who was non travelling reserve)