Men’s Summer County Cup 2018
Team: Gavin McKinlay, Roy Knight, Calum McKinlay, Michael Shaw, Lee Tribe, Seb Calcutt,
Ben Smith, Ed Taylor, Jack Molloy
Day 1 – Win 7-2 vs. Hampshire & IOW
The swans got off to a flyer on day one of the competition, racing to an early 3-0 lead against a strong Hampshire side. Bolstered by the return of Jack Molloy from his first year at Cal Berkeley (USA Div 1 College) playing with Loughborough student Calum McKinlay, and strong showings from the now very experienced county pairings of Michael Shaw/Lee Tribe and Roy Knight/Gavin McKinlay the team played with huge confidence to carry their momentum through to the second round of matches by securing an unassailable 6-0 lead. The final round of matches saw Ben Smith and Seb Calcutt sub in to make their Summer County Cup debuts, unfortunately the lads fell just short of a debut win losing out in a third set.
Day 2 – Win 7-2 vs. North Wales
Bucks got an equally fast start to the second day of the event with the pairings of Molloy/McKinlay, Shaw/Tribe, and Knight/McKinlay coming up with straight set wins over their Welsh opposition. Despite the score lines each of the matches were incredibly tights and could have gone either way. This proved to be the case where the swans just managed to claw themselves to a 5-1 lead before the final round. McKinlay/Molloy again won their 2nd rubber in straight sets before McKinlay/Knight added another rubber with a three sets win with Tribe/Shaw just losing out in a tight three match. McKinlay/Knight once again made way for Calcutt/Smith prior to the final round of matches with the new pairing managing to pick up their first win of the event at the second time of asking. Tribe/Shaw lost out in a tight third set for the second time in the day, despite playing some excellent doubles. McKinlay/Molloy picked up the final rubber of the day taking them to a perfect three from three on the day.
Day 3 – Lose 5-4 vs. Cheshire
With rain having closed in on Manchester the day before and the final round of matches from round 2 carrying over to the third morning of the competition the format for the event switched from a full third set to a championship tie-break for the deciding set. Championship tie-breaks seemed to be the theme of the day from that point onwards with the Bucks team coming out on the wrong end of them more often than not throughout the three rounds. The swans found themselves 2-1 down after a first round that saw Mckinlay/Molloy play perhaps their best doubles of the week in a 6-0 6-0 win over very strong opposition. With McKinlay/Knight and Shaw/Tribe both losing in a championship tie-break it was immediately obvious that the tie would come down to a few points between the sides. After the second round of matches the counties found themselves tied at three rubbers a piece with McKinlay/Knight and Molloy/McKinlay picking up the rubbers. The final round of matches again saw two championship tiebreaks with McKinlay/Molloy picking up their third win out of three for the second consecutive day. McKinlay/Knight lost out 16-14 in their final match to leave Cheshire with the 5-4 win on the day.
Day 4 – Lose 7-2 vs. East of Scotland
Bucks knew that going into Day 4 they were going to be facing their toughest opposition of the week. East of Scotland had so far proven to be a level above the rest of the division having comfortably overcome a North of Scotland team that boasted Jamie Murray in their line-up. With Jack Molloy having to leave for an LTA trip Bucks swapped in Seb Calcutt in his place to partner Calum McKinlay. Things became even harder for the Bucks side when Roy Knight injured his wrist half way through the first round, meaning that he could take no further part in the rest of the event. This meant that the Bucks pairings had to change with Ed Taylor coming in to play his first match of the week. The team fought hard all day with each of the matches proving to be tight. East of Scotland had too much quality across their line-up however and came up with top quality tennis in the points that really mattered, running out 7-2 winners on the day.
Day 5 – Lose 5-4 vs. North of Scotland
With promotion still a possibility it was all to play for on the final day for Bucks. The Swans got off to a good start in the first round with McKinlay/McKinlay and Tribe/Shaw both picking up their first rubbers or the day to give Bucks a 2-1 lead. The second round however proved to be a tougher one for Bucks with Taylor/Calcutt and Shaw/Tribe both losing out in tight matches. With McKinlay/McKinlay picking up their rubber it was 3-3 heading into the final round with Bucks needing to win all three of the matched to secure a promotion. This unfortunately wasn’t to be as Smith/Calcutt and McKinlay/McKinlay both lost out 7-5 in their third sets. Shaw/Tribe managed to secure their rubber comfortably to end the week.
Overall it was a very strong showing from the Bucks side, despite missing out on promotion by such a small margin. The side displayed great character throughout the week and the support for each other was second to none. The team will look to bounce back at the winter event at Hull in November.
Gavin McKinlay (Men’s County Team Captain)