Aegon Under 18 Boys County Cup

Team: 1. Jack Molloy (Reid School, Gerrards Cross) 2. Jake Williams (Halton, Gosling) 3.  Michael Shaw (Milton Keynes, Gosling) 4. Oscar Glenister (Halton) 5. Ben Smith (Eton) 6. Dan Dean (Halton) 7. Sergio Lee-Guttierez (Gosling) 8. Dylan Smith (Milton Keynes)     Manager / Coach Andy Scholfield (GXLTC) Assistant Darren Emery (Westway)

Andy’s Quote:  ‘We had yet another thrilling event with all players putting in maximum effort and support for each other. The boys acted very professionally on and off court. Our opposition were very strong.’

REPORT:

The five pre event training sessions were poorly attended because the players were competing all the time at various events.

Format: each match consists of six singles matches followed by three doubles. Like the Davis Cup, the captain was allowed on court to assist the players at the change of ends. Very disappointingly from our point of view three courts were user for each tie which took away some of the drama and tension.              The venue provided excellent facilities which were used to the maximum by all the managers / coaches and team mates. Each tie ran from 9am to 5pm each day with teams warming up and preparing for their matches from 8am.

Bucks under 18 boys team were disappointingly relegated from division 2a of the National Aegon County Cup 2017 played at Redbridge Tennis Centre,  from 24th to 26th February.

Unfortunately Barnaby Smith (Gosling) was playing ITF grade 2 event in Lithuania; he made the final there. As our number two player he would have won all his matches giving us a great opportunity for promotion!

On day 1 we played West of Scotland; Jack Molloy had an exam in the morning and arrived by taxi up at 12.15pm. Their Captain (Gary Smith, Leon’s brother) kindly agreed to a late start for his match and it was worth waiting for; he crushed Aidan McHugh (no 1 under 16 in GB) 7-6 6-1. However, we lost the match 7-2; Jack winning his doubles with Michael Shaw. Notable debutant Dan Dean played a three-hour match losing to the heavy serving and hitting of James Shemilt 2-6 7-6 (7) 3-6. Debutant Ben Smith’s high energy was another big plus. Dylan Smith agreed to stay with the team as a reserve until Barney arrived (but of course he did not).

Day 2 we arrived early and practised with much conviction. Our opponents were Middlesex. Sergio made his debut at number 6. Dan Dean had another thriller beating Weightman 6-4 6-7 7-6. However, the real highlights were great comebacks – Michael Shaw was 3-6 and 1-6 points down in second set tie-break to Vishnick; he astonishingly won seven points in a row and the third set 6-4! Jack Molloy was 6-7 6-0 1-4 down and did not make another unforced error to stamp out his opponent’s resistance with unbelievable groundstroke domination to win 6-4. Jake William’s tactical play and mental approach had evidently improved massively since 2016 County Cup.

Day 3 Relegation battle v Cheshire. We changed our doubles formation and brought back Ben Smith at number 5. He played even better but lost to a very strong Tom Owen. Unfortunately, Dan was a bit weary from the previous days and lost a close match to Ben Nicol. Oscar Glenister at 4 was involved in a marathon just missing out 5-7 in the third set which turned out to be the key match. Michael won with conviction. Jake Williams had many opportunities but lost. Jack Molloy had to deal with unsavoury business on court whilst defeating Adam Jones 6-1 7-5. Dan and Ben fought brilliantly in the third doubles but lost 6-4 4-6 7-10.   We were winning the second doubles easily.   …. Desperate devastation and relegation to division 3 and re-building without our golden trio.

My sincere thanks goes to the whole team squad and reserves, Darren Emery in his role as vice-Captain, and Venetia Cosier (for excellent admin and support), Bucks Indoor for training sessions, and player’s parents in particular the Smiths, Shaws, Williams’s, and Molloys who came to watch this awesome event.