The men’s Buckinghamshire county cup team captained by Gavin McKinlay (Halton) consisted of Barnaby Smith fresh from playing junior Wimbledon (Gosling); Lee Tribe, Kushal Kansagra and Michael Shaw representing Milton Keynes; Tom Miller the eldest of the team at just 24 (Great Missenden), finally Jake Williams and Calum McKinlay (Halton). The young Bucks team was brimming with confidence and were looking for a third consecutive promotion. Play at the event would follow the usual format with each county fielding three pairs and every pair then playing each of the opposition pairs in a best of three full set match.
Monday 24th July – Buckinghamshire Vs. Berkshire (4-5 Loss)
On the first day of Play Bucks faced a strong Berkshire team and lost a tightly contended match 5-4. The Bucks pairings struggled to find their form in the first few matches losing out in some tightly contested rubbers. By the third round of matches however, the Swans were showing some signs of sharpening up and with the match poised at 4-4 Gavin McKinlay and Michael Shaw fell just short in the deciding match, 7-6 in the third set. This did not get the campaign off to the start the team wanted but, pushed them to play at a higher level the next day against Oxfordshire.
Tuesday 25th July – Buckinghamshire Vs. Oxfordshire (7-2 Win)
After a change in the pairings and the support of former Buckinghamshire players, the Swans overcame Oxfordshire. Notable performances from the captain Gavin McKinlay and Barnaby Smith meant they won all three of their available rubbers and inspired the Bucks team to show their class. Kushal Kansagra and Jake Williams were subbed in for the final round of matches and managed to win their match in a tight third set. Michael Shaw and Lee Tribe put on a great demonstration of aggressive doubles play with Michael serving incredibly well and Lee being clinical at the net. With an overall score of 7-2, this put the team in an excellent position after a disappointing first day.
Wednesday 26th July- Buckinghamshire Vs. North Scotland (5-4 Win)
Due to heavy rain on Wednesday play was sent inside. The change in playing surface and format could have made it difficult for the Bucks team to perform as well as they had the previous day. However, like swans to water they took it in their stride and put in the best performance of the week. The North of Scotland’s team was extremely strong but, Michael Shaw and Lee Tribe were stronger and got Bucks off to a flying start. Michael and Lee continued this form through the day securing two of their three rubbers, a similar performance from Gavin and Barney added a further two rubbers to the Bucks tally. A comeback win by Tom Miller and Calum McKinlay from 8-3 down to win 11-9 in a deciding third set tie-break propelled Bucks to a 5-4 win over North Scotland and put them in a good position to chase promotion.
Thursday 27th July – Buckinghamshire Vs. Dorset (5-4 Win)
On Thursday, Bucks played Dorset. The match looked to be going Bucks’ way after going 4-2 up through two rounds of matches. The Swans had clearly picked up from where they left off the day before with each pair returning extremely well on important points. However, in the final round Dorset fought hard and got the match score back to 4-4. Lee Tribe and Michael Shaw held their nerve to win the deciding rubber and give Bucks the win they needed to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Friday 28th July – Buckinghamshire Vs Northamptonshire (3-5 Loss)
On the final day, four teams could mathematically be promoted. Bucks needed a total of three rubbers to be promoted. However, a 7-2 loss to their opponents meant that they could be promoted in place of the Swans. With tensions high and nerves playing a part Bucks lost out on some tight early matches and found themselves 4-2 heading into the final round of the day. With rain again affecting play, the tennis was moved inside, an environment the Bucks players had thrived in earlier in the week to overcome the strong Scottish county. The players rose to the occasion and with all three of the Bucks pairings overcoming a slightly weaker Northants third pair they had the wins they needed and had secured their third successive promotion.
After a tightly contended week of matches the Bucks team managed to get promoted and are extremely excited to play in the third division after achieving three promotions in as many years. Huge congratulations to everyone who was part of the Buckinghamshire squad. The team would like to thank everyone who has supported the team as well as the referee Sarah Tricks and the West Worthing tennis club. Full results for the week can be found online via the LTA Tournament Software website and searching Aegon Summer County Cup (Men’s Group 4)