U18 Boys County Cup
Team: Calum Fairey (Halton), DJ Mentiply (Halton, Aylesbury), Josh Oakely (Halton), Ryan Teasdale (Berkhamsted), Ethan Taank (Halton), Ashton Taank (Halton), Charlie Harvey (Stony Stratford, MKTC, Batchwood), Oliver Connor (Halton), Finn Lester (Halton)
Captains: Roy Knight, Alan Hutcherson
This year the 18’s boys travelled to Northampton to compete in group 4b. With a strong squad with 5 players in their final year of under 18’s we knew promotion was well within our grasp.
Vice-captain Hutch and I spoke to the boys about fighting for every match and contributing off court by supporting and encouraging each other. This was evidenced on the first morning against Suffolk with brilliant energy and support spearheaded by Ryan Teasdale!
Debutants Charlie Harvey and Ashton Taank wasted no time sweeping up against their 5&6 with confident performances, closely followed by Finn Lester at 4 . 3-0 up with barely any games lost. However, their top 3 were much stronger, with Josh Oakley winning a tight 2 setter and DJ Mentiply battling back to win in 3 sets at 2. Calum played excellent tennis but lost 7-5 in the 3rd against a very high quality opponent in Daniel Franco Key. Another 2 debutants played in the doubles, Oliver Connor with Josh at 3 and Ethan with DJ at 2, who both won comfortably. Finn and Calum were tested at 1st pair but came through in 3 sets. A solid 8-1 win with tougher tests to come.
Day 2 vs Northants:
We started the day with a big match at 6, with Charlie playing Angel Angelov, who was in fact their 2nd best player. With some more excellent support and the promise of a free appeltizer from Hutch Charlie was on fire and dismissed him 6-2 6-3. Ashton beat the younger Angelov brother at 5 shortly after, followed by straight sets wins for Finn Lester and Josh, who never looked like losing. However a straight sets loss for DJ and another tight 3 set loss for Calum against the division's best player in Jakob Bonnett made it 4-2 after singles.
Charlie Harvey and Josh Oakley won quickly at 3rd pair to seal the win and make it 5-2. In what turned out to be an inspired substitution Ryan Teasdale partnered with Finn at 1st pair, with both boys playing exceptionally well and destroyed their 1&2 singles players 6-2 6-2. Ethan and DJ lost 7-5 6-2 to finish the day at 6-3 but another excellent win and all to play for on Sunday against Somerset, who had also won both of their matches.
Day 3 vs Somerset:
The boys came fired up on day 3 knowing this would be a tight match with vocal support (all in good spirit) from both teams.
We traded wins early on with Charlie winning his 3rd singles of the weekend at 6 and Ashton losing at 5. Finn once again outclassed his opponent at 4, but Josh lost to an inspired Calum Jessett at 3. 2-2. With DJ losing at 2 Calum’s singles was huge, and after he lost the first set we thought the match might be slipping away. However he fought back superbly to win 6-3 in the 3rd and make it 3-3.
Both teams changed their doubles pairings, but their 3rd pair,despite the Somerset captain believing this was their best pairing, were no match for the brilliant Finn and Ryan, who blew them away 6-1 6-1. Josh and Charlie had match points against a former national champion pairing at 2 but lost 11-9 in the 3rd. So it came down to Calum and DJ at 1, who came through a nervy match which had everything, including underarm serving 7-5 6-3 to seal a deserved promotion for the swans!
A fantastic weekend, on to div 3 next year with an exciting crop of players coming through.