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Bucks 18&U Girls County Cup

After a successful 12 counties event the week before where the girls topped their group against Nottinghamshire, Hereford & Worcester and Bedfordshire the team went into the event feeling very confident and knowing the depth in the team was a big strength versus other teams.  We knew that matches each day would be extremely close with most likely the first day being the toughest.

Here are a few highlights from each day:

Day 1 6-3 loss to Dorset. After the singles we were tied at 3 matches a piece with Robyn, Alisha and Anna picking up wins for the team. A gutsy performance or Alisha in her first 18U county cup match coming from 5-3 in the 3rd to take the win. Anna not losing a game at number 3 singles and Robyn winning her first 3 set match after a few near misses the previous two years. Shravanti and Maisie played their first matches in 18s county cup and both came out a close 2nd as well as Aneka battling it out at number 1. Into the doubles we went but knew it would be tough with 7 out of the 8 Dorset team training together 3 times a week with one of those sessions being doubles specific.  

We knew we needed to pick up two wins so the Swans went out ready to fight with Aneka/Robyn at 1, Alisha/Emily (another debut at 18s county cup) at 2 and Anna/Helena dynamic 3rd pair. Despite the girls throwing everything at the opposition we couldn’t get over the line in any of the matches. Great to see the girl’s problem solving using different set plays but the Dorset team managed to find the stronger tennis at the right times. 6-3 loss to Dorset. A tough loss to take as each match was so close but we knew with the other two counties being strong as well it was all to play for and we were still fighting for promotion.

Day 2 7-2 win vs Warwickshire. Day 2 and the girls were ready to bring the energy on and off the court. First up Emily and Shravanti. Both girls had fairly tight first sets but after settling a few nerves and finding their flow they both won 6-0 2nd sets. Next up Anna at 3, only losing 3 games and Alisha losing against a tough opponent. 3-1 up with Aneka and Robyn stepping onto the court against opponents they have lost to before. Robyn kept her nerve in the first set, was the braver of the two players and earnt a satisfying win at 2 singles. Aneka came up against an extremely consistent player and couldn’t break through her consistency.

So, 4-2 into doubles and we decided to change things up. Robyn and Emily, the current county champions, Helena/Aneka playing county tennis together since 8U and Maisie and Shravanti who have also had success at many a county cup in the past. The change up worked, and the first two pairs came away with straight set wins and were the stronger doubles players on the court, county training and doubles experience paid off. Maisie and Shravanti however decided to have a 2-hour epic winning the 1st set, losing the 2nd, saving a match point and winning 11-9 in the 3rd which sealed the victory for Bucks. A great way to finish the day.

Day 3 6-3 win versus Nottinghamshire. The situation in the group was Dorset on 2 wins, Bucks and Warwickshire on 1 win and Notts on 0. Therefore, to gain promotion, we knew we needed to beat Notts by as many rubbers as possible and hope that Warwickshire could beat Dorset. Emily, Shravanti, and Alisha stepped up first. It took a bit of time for Emily to find her rhythm against a hard-hitting baseliner and saw her flying to the finish line with a 6-0 3rd set win. Shravanti battled it out in the first set but only better through the match to seal a 6-4 6-2 victory, 2-0 up which meant despite the other match results we are safe in Group 2.

Now to keep fighting for promotion. Alisha took the first set, but her opponent raised her level and into a 3rd set they went. Alisha battled as hard as she could, but her opponent was too strong on the day. 2-1. Anna made light work of her opponent winning 6-2, 6-0 which meant she was unbeaten in singles all weekend and only lost 5 games!! Robyn and Aneka went on and we knew Robyn’s match could be a long battle, we were right. With many momentum changes throughout the 3 sets and Robyn having to come back several times in the 3rd set she won 7-5. Another player unbeaten in singles. Aneka’s opponent, fresh from winning an ITF title was too consistent for her and had to many answers.

So, 4-2 up we needed all 3 doubles to give us a fighting chance of promotion. The pairings stayed the same with one change of Alisha playing with Shravanti. Alisha and Shravanti 6-4 6-2 win, Helena and Aneka get past a slow start and win in style 10-5 in the 3rd. Emily and Robyn played their 1 and 4 and narrowly lost 6-4 6-4. A 7-2 win for Bucks! Sadly, Dorset came through some close matches and won so 2nd place for the 6th year in a row for Bucks.

Despite being disappointed that we came 2nd it was a fantastic weekend. The girls came together so well as a team and were by far the best at supporting on and off the court. It is a great reminder how impactful these events are with all girls with an age range of 4 years getting on so well and having fun playing as a team.

We said goodbye to three players who played their last 18s county cup due to moving out of the age group, Aneka Patel, Anna Micu and Helena Ullyatt. The team celebrated/commiserated with speeches, a few gifts and lots of singing on the way home. We look forward to seeing these girls and other members of the team continue to represent Bucks in the senior events. We go again next year!

Team: Aneka Patel (Delgado & Lee Tennis Academy, GXBL, Halton), Anna Micu (Delgado & Lee Tennis Academy), Helena Ullyatt (Berkhamsted, GXBL), Robyn Went (Beaconsfield, Halton), Maisie Seedel (Berkhamsted), Emily Marshall (Stony Stratford), Shravanti Venkatakrishnan (Stony Stratford), Alisha Ndukwu (Stony Stratford),

Captains: Jemima King, Laura Deigman

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