Women's Summer County Cup
Venue: Women's Division 4- Cromer Lawn Tennis Club
TEAM – Laura Deigman (Roehampton), Izzy Marshall (Halton), Lauren McKinlay (Halton), Alexa Wilson (Halton), Scarlett Perkins (Living Tennis), Millie Day (Halton), Aneka Patel (GXBL, Living Tennis, Halton), Chloe Salloux (Halton) Captain Jemima King (Halton)
Day 1 – Bucks vs Lancashire 5-4
We were hoping to start the week on grass but unfortunately the weather gods were not kind which meant matches were to be played on two Astro turf courts and two hard courts (a little different than the soft grass). The format was also altered to 2 short sets (sudden death deuce) and a 3rd set tie break to 10 points, a brutal scoring system. After round 1 Jemima/Alexa managed to scrape through a 3rd set, Scarlett/Millie just lost out in two tie break sets and Izzy/Aneka had a big win against the 1st pair in 3 sets. 2-1 up after round 1. After the 2nd round we were 3-3 with Jemima/Alexa losing a tight match to the first pair, Scarlett/Millie missing out and Aneka/Izzy winning through. Two more matches needed for the win, with one change in the team with Lauren in to take Scarlett’s place. The team stepped up, found some energy late into the day and secured wins at number 1 and number 2. A great feeling to get a win on Day 1 and 3/3 for Izzy/Aneka.
Day 2 – Bucks vs Essex 5-4
Good news for day 2, the sun was out so play resumed on the grass. It took a little time to get used to the lower bounces but a great feeling to be back on the green turf. 1 and 2 pairings stayed the same with a new pairing of Scarlett and Lauren teaming up. Wins at 1 and 2 pairings meant we were 2-1 up, a similar feeling to Monday. We knew the middle round would be a tough one with the young Essex team firing on all cylinders. Jemima/Alexa picked up the only win so like Monday we saw ourselves at 3-3 after two rounds. Another change up with Millie stepping in for Lauren nearly paid off with the girls narrowly losing 10-4 in the 3rd. Alexa/Jemima managed to get 3/3 on day 2 and Izzy/Aneka picked up the 3rd pair so another 5-4 clincher for Bucks.
Day 3 – Bucks vs North Wales 5-4
Second successive day on the grass. We knew this would be another tight match with Wales on one win and one close loss to Lancs and a strong 1st pair. Millie and Scarlett started off the day with a big win and a superb performance to pick up first wins of the week. Jemima and Alexa took a win and Izzy/Aneka lost a close match to the 1st pair. 2-1 Bucks, here we go again!! Jemima/Alexa took on the 1st pair and with a break in each set came out 2nd best. Izzy/Aneka flew through their match and the 3rds almost picked up two wins in a row losing a close match 10-5 in the 3rd. An inspired performance by Wales in the tie break. So we saw ourselves at 3-3 again for the third day in a row. A late sub brought Millie and Lauren back together. A tough ask for the duo against the 1s but they made them sweat and lost a competitive match. 4-3 down but the momentum from the last two days certainly helped and pairs 1 and 2 both came away with fairly straight forward wins. Another 5-4 win which secured safety in Group 4. Now to push for promotion.
Day 4 – Bucks vs east of Scotland 6-3
East of Scotland were the only team without a win with the remaining teams all on at least 1 win so we knew a win today would secure promotion. A rough start to the day with rain the following evening and morning. A long day ahead of us with short sets on the Astro and hard. Laura arrived for 2 days of tennis so great to have some fresh legs in the team. With her presence we changed up all pairings. Jemima/Izzy had a frustrating start and lost 10-8 in the 3rd, with Aneka and Scarlett losing in two close sets. 2-0 down a position the team had not been in before. Alexa/Laura were quick to sweep off the opposition so 2-1 down. Really tough scoring format with little time to try out pairings and find rhythm. A new pairing came into the 2nd round with Millie/Aneka. They didn’t need any time to warm up as a pair and won with the loss of one game. The other two pairings also came out on top so 4-2 after round two. Final round 1st and 2nd pairings were able to win without drama and Millie/Aneka took the 1st pair to a 1st set tie break. This meant a 6-3 win for Bucks and promotion!! The club put on a BBQ for all players and supporters so a fitting end to a long day.
Day 5 – Bucks vs Sussex 5-4
Nice to go into the last day knowing we were promoted but equally we wanted to walk away as champions. The final day saw us back on the grass. Izzy/Aneka, Jemima/Millie started off the day strong with two wins which was a great start for Jemima’s 100th day of playing county week. A tough first round for Alexa/Laura who lost in two tie break sets. 2-1 Bucks. Jemima/Millie took on the pair who had just beaten Laura/Alexa, a strong start for the duo winning first set 6-1 but a close 2nd set 5-7 and then a close third set 11-9 loss. However the other pairings made light work of their opposition, only losing 5 games. 4-2 to Bucks. Lauren stepped into the team for the last round to play with Millie. One win needed for the title and we got it with Laura and Alexa.
It was great to see the ladies being promoted after two years of being on the wrong side of some 5-4 matches. It was a tough week, change of match format, three different surfaces, surviving the ice bath (sea swim), juggling pairs, managing injuries, but all in all a great week. Always a week to learn from for the juniors and nice to see them gaining in confidence throughout the week and we were lucky to play on such lovely grass courts at Cromer.
Congratulations to Aneka Patel who won the Francis Charlton award. Aneka was awarded this due to her enthusiasm, positive attitude, resilience and team spirit throughout the week.