Men's Summer County Cup
Venue: Men’s Division 3 – Frinton Lawn Tennis Club
Squad: Gavin McKinlay, Calum McKinlay, Roy Knight, Michael Shaw, Toby Martin, Barnaby Smith, Jack Molloy, Miles Groom
Bucks were looking to bounce straight back from their relegation down to Division 3 from the previous year and secure a promotion to send them back in the right direction. With Summer County Cup being a grass court event, the extended periods of rain in the build up and through the event meant the week was not going to be as straightforward as planned. Through the week Bucks were to play on both Hard and Grass Courts, as well as contending with the majority of matches being played in the Fast 4 format – sudden death deuce, and a tie-break in each set at 3 games all, with a 10 point tie-break being used to decide the third set. This new format puts huge pressure on every service game and rubber, with sets and matches being very easy to lose.
Day 1: 7-2 win vs Warwickshire
The 1st day of the event was fully rained off this year with no play being possible at all. This led to Bucks playing their fixture against Warwickshire on the Tuesday, before then playing West of Scotland on the same day.
Despite the worries about the weather and updated format, the men came out of the blocks fast to win the first three rubbers of the day and take a commanding lead in the tie. Warwickshire bounced back strong in the second round of the day, managing to pick up two of the three rubbers on offer and take the score to 4-2. Bucks however proved to be too strong, winning all three of the last rubbers in tightly contested matches, the pairs of Miles & Roy and Toby & Jack securing their wins in tie-break third sets.
Day 2: 5-4 win vs West of Scotland
Having already played three rounds of tennis, the Men started their second match of the week on the same day, looking to get as many rounds played as possible before losing light. West of Scotland proved to be very tough opposition, with a mix of experience and current college players in their line-up. In this new format, there were tie-breaks across almost every tie with the score being 3-3 by the end of the day, with the deciding rubbers to be played the following morning. A fast start was essential for Bucks the next morning, and they got what they needed by picking up two of the final three rubbers to continue their winning run. The pairing of Toby & Jack doing the majority of the damage for the Swans, with the pair being on 6 wins from 6 after the first two ties.
Day 3: 8-1 win vs Norfolk
The third tie of the week saw the teams finally getting to play some grass court tennis, having played the first two ties on hard courts. The change in surface did nothing to slow the Men down, as they carved through a Norfolk side who themselves showed no lack of quality. The Men were too good across the board, playing some of their best tennis of the week and wins coming in from all 8 of the squad on the one day.
Day 4: 7-2 win vs Berkshire
Bucks went into the day knowing that a win would be enough to secure their promotion back to Division 2, a motivating thought for the whole week. Furthermore, Toby & Jack had managed to remain unbeaten through the week, going 9 from 9 and being well on track to attempt to win 100% of their matches for the week and join a select few who have managed to win 15 rubbers before. Bucks went to work again on the hard courts, and continued in a similar vein to the prior days with a very strong start. Bucks sailed through the remaining rubbers required and secured promotion in the third round of the day with a win coming from Calum & Michael. Unfortunately Jack & Toby lost in an excruciating third set tie break to snap their winning streak, although their achievement of winning so many matches in such a short format of the game should not go unnoticed.
Day 5: 6-3 loss vs Derbyshire
With promotion secured, Bucks were set to play a Derbyshire side who needed a big result to stay in the division. Derbyshire, had the event been played on grass all week would also have been one of the favourites to secure promotion alongside the Swans given the strength of their doubles line up. Despite some battling performances, and too many tie breaks to count, Bucks came up short against the Derbyshire side.
Overall the week was an excellent one for the Men, proving they had what it takes to win in so many tight situations through each day of the week. The Men now look forward to looking to get promoted from Division 2 in the Winter format of the event this November, before looking to do the same next July for summer.