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Bucks 18&U Boys County Cup

18’s Boys Div 3A- Exeter University:

Having lost 5 of the players that helped us gain promotion to group 3 last year, Div 3 was always going to be a tough ask for our young team. 

DAY 1: 1-8 vs South Wales

A tough start for the boys on day 1 against South Wales. Dan Meddows-Taylor and Ethan Taank had a tough start to their county cup careers, losing to strong players at 5&6. Hugo Dighe started strongly until a back injury derailed him and sadly ended his tennis for the weekend. Losses at 2&3 followed for Harry Cornhill and Ashton Taank, with Harry playing an entertaining match against Felix Bockelman Evans who was  the standout player in the decision. However we got on the board at 1 singles, Charlie Harvey playing excellent tennis to beat GB #2 U16 Archie Gray in straight sets.

Oliver Connor came in at 1 doubles with Charlie, and Kyle Babbage made his county cup debut at 3 doubles. Both pairs performed admirably but lost in 2 tight sets. The Taank brothers lost out at 2 doubles, with Felix again the star player.

A tough day but the boys regrouped over pizza express and were full of positivity going into day 2. 

Day 2: 2-7 vs East of Scotland

There were changes to the lineup on day 2, with Kyle Babbage coming in for Hugo and Oliver Connor coming in for Charlie who woke up with an ab issue. Dan lost out at 6 to a strong opponent and Kyle played former Bucks teammate Murray Watters, who proved too strong on the day. It proved to be the same for Ethan at 3, however we managed to stage a comeback at 2&4, with Ollie putting in a gritty performance to win in 3 hours, and Ashton rediscovered his form to win sets 2&3 comfortably after losing the 1st to Chenming Dong. All to play for in the doubles, but our hopes were dashed again by the Watters brothers who made it 5-2, so all eyes on Sunday with a shootout against Devon to stay in the division.

Day 3: 7-0 vs Devon

Everyone knew this was an extremely important tie, and nerves got the better of the boys early on Sunday, Ollie and Kyle both losing their 1st sets 6-1. However a change in tactics and mindset made all the difference, and they went from strength and powered through to win in 3 sets.

It was equally tough for the Taanks, Ethan recovering from a set down to beat one of their in form players at 4, showing great fight and resilience to win his final junior county match. Ashton was looking comfortable for a set and a half until his opponent hit a purple patch and couldn’t miss a forehand, but Ashton steadied things in the 3rd to win 6-3. A very hard fought 4-0 lead! Thankfully Harry’s match was less dramatic, cruising through 6-0 6-2 to give us the crucial 5th rubber to keep us in the division.

With the win sealed, Charlie did well to maintain his focus and win 6-4 6-4 at 1, and Dan Meddows-Taylor gained his first county win with Ashton Taank 6-1 6-1 at 3 doubles. 

With tired bodies, an unassailable lead and the prospect of a 5 hour bus journey the tie was ended and the final 2 doubles matches not played.

A fantastic experience for this young talented team, and with a talented group coming through below I can only see this team going from strength to strength over the next couple of years.

Team: Kyle Babbage, Harry Cornhill, Oliver Connor, Hugo Dighe, Charlie Harvey, Daniel Meddows-Taylor, Ashton Taank, Ethan Taank.

Captains: Roy Knight and Alan Hutcherson

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