U18 Girls County Cup
Team: Aneka Patel (Living Tennis, GXBL, Halton), Anna Micu (Living Tennis), Cassandra Emmanuel (Moor Park), Chloe Salloux (Halton), Helena Ullyatt (Berkhamsted, GXBL), Millie Day (Halton), Robyn Went (Beaconsfield, Living Tennis), Scarlett Perkins (Living Tennis)
Captains: Jemima King, Laura Deigman
After a successful 12 counties event the week before where the girls topped their group against Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire 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 are not won on paper and we had to respect every opponent. The first day couldn’t have been tighter and ended up being the deciding factor in the overall result.
Here are a few highlights from each day:
Day 1 5-4 loss to Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Day 1 couldn’t have been closer with 5 out of the 6 singles matches going into the back end of each set and some extremely gutsy tennis from the Bucks swans left the match tied at 3-3. Robyn and Helena were too consistent for their opponents at 3&4. Aneka came through a tight 2 setter and Anna came close in two tightly fought sets. Special mention to Scarlett who was playing her first junior county cup and came extremely close to pulling out a 3 set win at number 1 with Millie’s opponent proving too strong at 1. The 3rd pair doubles went on while Scarlett was still playing. We started off the doubles exactly how we planned going a set up. Unfortunately, the no ad deuces did not go the way of the Bucks team in the 3rd pair and Chloe and Helena found themselves at 1 set all. This was an important tie break because the 1st pairing of the Hereford team was going to be extremely tough. The girls got the tactics right but execution wasn’t quite there, that coupled with some inspired serving from the opposition meant a 10-7 loss for the 3rd pair. The girls were gutted. Aneka and Scarlett took the court along with Anna and Millie as 1st pair. Aneka and Scarlett played inspired tennis and continued to play aggressive front foot tennis throughout the whole match, never allowing their opponents in. At the same time Anna and Millie were on the back foot against the hard hitting 1st pair but adapted well and went on serve in the 2nd set. Millie was broken at no ad deuce and the Hereford team continued their momentum to take the set. 5-3 to H&W. The 2nd pair continued to keep their foot on the pedal and won 6-2 6-4 to leave the match at 5-4. A tough loss to take because it looked like the other two teams were weaker. After a team debrief and some reflection of the day the team were ready to bounce back on day 2 and do everything in their control to gain promotion.
Day 2 8-1 win versus Staffordshire. Day 2 and the girls were ready to bring the energy on and off the court. First up Robyn and Helena. Helena took light work of her opponent losing 1 game, Robyn was still battling out in the 1st set against a girl who lives in Cyprus so on level should have been placed top 3 in their line up. Next up Anna at 4, getting redemption from the day before and also only losing 1 game. Robyn was now a set up after 1st set tie break. Aneka steps onto the court so we are now into the 3rd match going on and Robyn was still battling it out. Aneka follows suit of the other wins and again only loses 1 game. 3-0 up to the swans. Robyn is now into a 3rd set after losing an extremely close 2nd set 5-7. On goes Scarlett against a tricky opponent who played extremely aggressively so tough to find any rhythm. Scarlett backed herself in the key moments of the match and came through 6-4 6-2. Smart and confident play and amazing support and advice from Cassie on the sidelines. Robyn was now deep into the 3rd set and couldn’t quite get on top of her opponent at the end and lost the 3rd 6-3. A 3 hour battle!! Millie carried on the Bucks momentum and won convincingly at 1. We decided to keep the doubles pairings the same to give the girls redemption from the day before and they succeeded winning all 3.
Day 3 9-0 win versus Somerset. We knew we needed to win as many rubbers against Somerset as possible and to hope that Staffordshire could beat Herefordshire. We made light work of Somerset and took all 6 singles rubbers. In the doubles we wanted to play Chloe, Scarlett and Millie because it was their last junior county cup. The girls were outstanding in the doubles with Chloe and Robyn, Millie and Helena, Aneka and Scarlett all winning swiftly. Despite Herefordshire losing a player they were too consistent and beat Staffordshire 5-1. That meant we came 2nd but had more rubbers and sets that anyone else. A heartbreaking end to the weekend getting so close again and coming 2nd in Group 3 for the 4th year in a row.
We celebrated the senior players junior county cup careers on Saturday night and the consolation prize was winning convincingly on Day 2 and day 3. Lessons were learnt and the players saw how every match counts on any day and how the support from the side lines can really impact a match. The girls worked well together and Laura and I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction after losing on day 1. We go again next year and look forward to seeing some of the juniors in the senior county events coming up.