Ladies Over 40 County Tennis Report 2018
Notts LTA County teams are sponsored by Brenntag
Nottinghamshire 40+ womens’ county team had a very tough task this year, having been promoted back into division 1 after a very successful season in 2017. Unfortunately due to a combination of illness, injury and personal commitments, the team was often below full strength during the 2018 season. The first match in May was at home against familiar neighbours Lincolnshire, who dauntingly had 2 players in Jane Hunter and Lianne Tapson who have subsequently been selected for the Great Britain 50 and over team. Jo Higham very kindly joined the team at the last minute on the morning of the match due to the unexpectedness illness of one of the regular 40s players and put up a great fight in the no 2 singles against Lianne, losing 6-2 6-3. Jackie Thomson and Gina Ofield saved the team from a bagel shaped loss by valiantly winning the first doubles match, to leave the final result at 4-1 to Lincs.
The next match caused excitement amongst the team as they travelled to play Leicestershire at the fantastic indoor facilities at Loughborough University. The team was again unfortunately a man down due to the captain being injured from over exertions in a tournament in Malta. Elaine Masters came in from the 50s county team to play the second doubles match and volleyed with her usual brilliance alongside Gina to almost take a set off the tough Leics no 1 Kerry Pollard (nee Hughes) and her partner Anne Meredith. Despite the strength of the Leicestershire singles players Kerry Pollard and Anne Meredith, which resulted in 2 easy singles wins for the opposition, Notts won 2 of the 3 doubles matches with great consistent play from Lisa Knowles/ Gina Ofield and Caroline Milns /Jackie Thomson. The final result was a narrow 3-2 win for Leicestershire.
On a scorching hot day in July, Notts faced the unenviable task of playing in a stifling indoor bubble in Crawley in 30 degrees Celsius; fortunately there were some free outdoor courts that saved both Notts and Sussex from cooking in the indoor bubble. Again the Sussex team were very strong, with former tour player Julie Hanger on the team as well as tennis coach Helen Mitchell. After the first 5-bagel loss of the season, Notts were consoled by the best ever tasting British strawberries.
The fourth match of the season was at home against Yorkshire; yet again, the captain was injured and unable to play and two other 40s team members were unavailable due to the match being in the middle of the August holiday season; Kathryn Hales was thankfully able to step in from the 50s county team at the last minute. As with the other teams in division 1, Yorkshire were very strong and despite a courageous effort by the whole team and home advantage, the final result was unfortunately another 5-0 loss.
By the last match of the season in September, the team morale was pretty low due to a run of 4 losses. The venue, Reed’s School in Cobham, Surrey and the weather however, were both inspiring and Notts put up a very good fight against Surrey to go down 3-2. The singles players Gill Thompson and Surrey Captain Chrissie Runnicles were again very strong and scored two easy wins whilst Lisa and Jackie won a marathon 3 set doubles match; Caroline and Maia Dunn also won their doubles match, leaving the team feeling more positive after a tough season.
Although the season was disappointing compared to 2017, the result has to be kept in perspective; the competition was very strong in division 1, with many of the opposition playing in GB age group teams in addition to regular Notts 40s players being unavailable through injury and family commitments.
Thanks to regular 40s players Lisa Knowles, Caroline Milns, Jackie Thomson, Gina Ofield and Maia Dunn as well as to 50s players Jo Higham, Elaine Masters and Kathryn Hales for their great contributions and commitment this season.
2019 will see a return to division 2 and with new players being eligible for the 40s, the team will once more be aiming for success!
Aldona Greenwood (Captain).