10&Under Girls County Cup
Team: Ella, Isabella, Elsa, Libby, Astrid
Captain: Tom Edis
Assistant: Josh Greenway
Group H: Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire
Venue: Wolverhampton Tennis Centre
The Bucks team had a great feeling of optimism going into the qualifying event at Wolverhampton on the weekend of May 21-22. Key performers earlier in the month at Lionel Cox Astrid and Bella were joined by Ella - who did well at the 12 counties event in Corby in January - and 10u debutants Elsa and Libby.
The new format meant that against each county Bucks would play 4 singles and 2 doubles, ensuring a pretty long weekend, especially with Bucks starting after the first round of matches on Saturday.
Warwickshire were really tough opponents, and Ella, Bella and Astrid were caught a little cold in their opening singles, each going down in straight sets to Mila Angrave (4-2 4-0), Ella Bai (4-0 4-1) and Poppy Harman (4-2 4-0) respectively.
However, Elsa managed to stop the rot, impressively coming from behind to beat Charlotte Hall 12-10 in the match tie break decider.
With Astrid and Elsa going on to win their doubles - again going to a decider (11-9), a comeback seemed on the cards, before a tired Ella and Bella couldn’t quite pull it out of the fire, losing out in straight sets to Mila and Ella (4-2 4-0).
The following match against Northants was closely fought from the start as the sun came out. Ella put her previous disappointment to one side, defeating Mya Kom impressively 4-2 4-3. Libby came in and beat Emily Lawson 4-2 4-0, followed by Astrid turning on the power in a 4-1 4-0 victory over Tia Thomas.
Only Bella’s 4-0 4-0 reverse against Sophia Agius prevented a singles clean sweep going into the doubles.
With play now going on well into the evening, the Northants players started feeling the effects of the day. After Astrid and Libby easily beat Emily and Lois White, Sophia and Mya withdrew with knee and rib complaints shortly after Bella and Ella had taken the first set for Bucks.
That confidence boosting win set up Sunday’s play nicely. The earlier start seemed to favour the girls as they quickly took control of the match vs Oxfordshire; Ella (4-
0 4-1), Bella (4-1 4-1) and Elsa (4-2 2-4 10-5) all gaining victories that took the heat out of Astrid’s really tight 4-2 4-3 loss to Aaliyah Porter. Astrid and Elsa would also go on to narrowly lose their doubles 4-1 4-3 to Rosie Allen and Rosie Cruickshank, but Ella and Bella’s 4-0 4-3 win over Aaliyah and Sofia John ensured an overall win to take into the last match of the weekend against Berkshire.
Berkshire were very strong, and were unlucky to lose to Warwickshire earlier. Ella, Bella and Libby put up some brave resistance versus Nishta Kesavan, Lara Madd
and Kiara Byles respectively, but with fatigue creeping in couldn’t quite muster a set between them, leaving Astrid with it all to do against Isabelle Craven. Despite having her chances to take her rubber into a match tie break, she too lost out in straight sets, meaning that going into the doubles, a 3rd place finish overall was the best Bucks could achieve in the group.
Kiara and Lara defeated Astrid and Libby 4-1 4-2 but a dramatic and thrilling 4-2 3-4 10-6 win over Isabelle and Cerys Jain gave a successful end to a thoroughly enjoyable and invaluable weekend.