Ladies Inter County Weekend 1
Date: November 5th 2016
Location: East Anglia Tennis and Squash Club , Norwich
Teams: Cambridgeshire, Norfolk
Squad: Ali Hemingway, Kate Bradshaw, Sarah Howlett, Rebecca Moore, Laura Mullarkey
The final weekend results were:
Cambridgeshire - 17 pts
Norfolk - 9 pts
Worcestershire - 0pts
The Cambridgeshire ladies set off to Norwich to play Norfolk in the Intercounty Stage 1. Worcestershire had dropped out of the weekend as they couldn't get a team out due to a clash with a junior event. Cambridgeshire were represented by a veteran and university team, with Laura Mullarkey and Ali Hemingway making their debut for Cambridgeshire, and experienced players Rebecca Moore, Sarah Howlett, and Kate Bradshaw returning to the team.
The start of the day was inauspicious with the Cambridge contingent anxiously waiting for Laura to arrive at the Histon Rd meeting point. We were halfway to Norwich before Laura made contact. In the morning haze, she had confused Wilberforce Rd and Histon Rd. Undeterred, Laura set off again to drive herself, but given her recent navigational success, the team was uncertain as to whether we would see her that day.
Rebecca and Sarah, our two O55 England players, were first on at 4th and 3rd strings respectively.
Rebecca faced a young opponent whose game relied on power and strength. In a contrast of styles, Rebecca used superior accuracy to float the ball to the back corners and then attack short. The match was back and forth, with Rebecca taking the 1st and 3rd games, and her opponent taking the 2nd and 4th. Rebecca saved several tense match balls before taking the match 13-11 in the fifth.
Sarah played a similar type of player, who tried to outpace Sarah with her hard hit drives. After losing the first, Sarah readjusted her game and drove her opponent deeper before attacking. She was able to come onto her opponent's crosscourt drives with straight drops and started dominating the match, winning 3-1.
With both matches about to finish, Laura arrived. She got on court and won her 5th string match relatively comfortably, with her opponent unable to handle her powerful serves and hitting. This meant that Cambridgeshire had won the weekend!
Ali was on the other court, unfortunately hampered by an adductor injury. She played a good variety of attacking shots but was unable to move at faster than a walking pace. She still managed to pick up a game but went down 3-1 to O35 British Open Champion Katie Lawrence.
Both teams settled down to watch the second string match. Kate, our own O35 England International, faced a player with excellent racket skills, but she had the advantage with regards to mobility. They provided five games of entertaining squash, with Norfolk captain Nicky Green playing some critical winners to take the match 3-2.
Thanks to Norfolk for hosting and particular congratulations to Rebecca for saving the most match balls and Laura for finding her way there eventually.
Cheers Ali Hemingway.