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14&U Boys County Cup Report

The Bucks 14&U boys team went to Leicester Tennis and Squash club on the 27th & 28th April, with Bucks players Nicholas Morrell, Oliver Westbrook, Mohan Mehta, Dillon Ranauta and Oliver Osborn selected and supported by lead coach Sebastian Callcut and assistant coach Josh Greenway. We were put in a group with Cheshire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire and the winners of the group would be playing either Yorkshire, Warwickshire or Leicestershire for a place in the national finals.

Bucks started against Cheshire with Dillon and Mohan playing at 4&3. They got us off to the best possible start both winning 4-0 4-1 and getting the confidence and feel good factor working for the whole team. Then it was the turn of number 2 Oliver Westbrook and number 1 Nicholas Morrell to take the stage, both players won 4-1 4-3, giving the Bucks the win before playing the doubles. We played the doubles with the team of Dillon & Ollie O winning 4-0 4-0 at second pair and Mohan & Ollie W winning 4-2 4-2.

We then had a long wait while Cheshire played H&W. Cheshire were favourites in every match, but H&W won 4-2 meaning we would have to beat an inspired team to top the group.  

We were running late into the day, with match starting at 5, so we used all courts 4, with all players taking to the court at the same time. Coaches Seb and Josh talked to the boys beforehand saying they need to be on it early and the first set is important to make sure the momentum goes with Bucks. All the boys responded with Dillon winning his match 4-1 4-1 and Ollie W winning 4-0 4-2 putting bucks 2-0 up quickly. Mohan came through a tough first set eventually winning 4-3 (8-6) 4-0 and this left Nick ranked 29 in the country playing against the number 13, to try and give Bucks the 4-0 win, so we wouldn’t have to stress about the doubles. Nick played some incredible tennis backed by the players and parents supporting from the sidelines to win 4-3(7-4) 3-4(5-7) 11-9! So 4-0 to Bucks! The doubles was played with Dillon and Ollie O winning 4-1 3-4(2-7) 10-7 and Mohan and Ollie W winning 4-0 4-2. Leaving the club after 12 hours we knew we would be playing Yorkshire the next day, who just came back in a tiebreak shootout from 9-5 down, to win 11-9 against Warwickshire, for a spot at the national finals.

Sunday we woke up to heavy rain meaning the start time had switched from 9 to 12 at the earliest, the boys passed the time by playing table tennis at the club. We eventually got on at 1; we knew this was going to be a very tough match as Yorkshire had a top heavy team with their 1&2 ranked 6&8 nationally. We were using three courts so Dillon, Mohan and Ollie O went on. Mohan got us off to an amazing start winning his match 4-1 4-0 to give Bucks an early lead. Dillon’s opponent played the match off his weekend swinging freely on both sides, with Dillon just losing 3-4 (7-9) 1-4. Ollie W’s opponent showed his class not giving Ollie many chances and he tlost 2-4 1-4. This left Nick out on court against he nationally ranked number 6 with Bucks 2-1 down, meaning if Nick lost they could stack their doubles pairs, meaning almost certain victory for Yorkshire. Nick, as we have come to expect from him, handled the whole situation with a calm far beyond his years, with both sets of players, parents and coaches watching on, he produced a masterclass to win 4-2 2-4 10-4. So going into the doubles 2-2, meaning Yorkshire would have to split their top 2 to try and play for a shootout, captains Seb and Josh had a tough decision to make with pairs.

The decision was made to try and play for the 4-2 win, rather than go for a 3-3 and try our luck in the shootout. Mohan & Ollie W were put in as first pair and brought the energy like never before, attacking second serve returns and moving great at the net against very good opponents, winning their match 3-4(4-7) 4-1 10-6. Bucks were ahead 3-2. Nick and Ollie O played second pair and after splitting the first two sets both on breakers 4-3(7-2) 3-4(1-7), we headed into a third set breaker. Both boys took on the feedback from coach Seb and got their feet fired up and trusted the process of being aggressive on returns and isolating the lower ranked player on the other side, winning 10-2!! Bucks had won their way to the national finals!

An incredible weekend with everyone performing to their highest level and supporting the team, on to the nationals!!

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