WARWICKSHIRE men’s and women’s teams again faced mixed fortunes for Day Two of their County Week campaigns, writes Sally Jones.
Katie Shaw’s young women’s side, missing several of their big names, suffered their second 7-2 defeat in a row as they lost to the powerful Middlesex team in County Cup Group One at Eastbourne, following their drubbing by Surrey on the opening day.
The men, led by new captain Gavin Henderson in Group Five at Worthing continued their winning ways, outhitting the highly-fancied Lancashire side 6-3, after a fine 5-4 victory over West of Scotland on Day One.
On a tough, gruelling day for the women, Soumeya Anane and Natasha Hillyer were again the pick of the bunch.
The consistent Hillyer partnered former British junior champion Lilly Mould, 17, at first pair, while the lively Anane’s extra experience spurred on young Katie Malazonia and they were unlucky not to upset the Londoners’ top partnership in a tight three-setter. However, both pairs gleaned only one rubber, against the Middlesex thirds.
Newcomer Josie Williamson, from Blossomfield, alternated at third pai,r with the fluent Holly Reid, from Edgbaston, partnering Rugby’s Lizzie Massie and although they did not win a rubber, they battled valiantly, serve-volleying in impressive style.
The loss leaves Warwickshire in the relegation danger zone, and desperate for victories over fellow-strugglers Yorkshire and Essex.
Warwickshire Men, however, remain on course for promotion after outstanding performances from their second pair Max Stewart and Oliver Nolan, from Sutton Coldfield, and third pair Richard Partridge, from Coventry, and Stratford’s Oliver Plaskett.
Both partnerships won three out of three, while Warwickshire firsts, former junior international Mason Recci and Luke Hammond, the heroes of Day One, looked a little flat.
Recci, from Solihull, and Stratford’s Hammond lost both their opening matches, with Recci then losing his third of the day when he teamed up with Stratford coach Cameron Malik.
“I’m so proud of the way our second and third pairs got stuck in on what was a crucial day for us,” said Gavin Henderson.
“They all played above themselves and won matches against strong opposition that I would not have predicted. The camaraderie among the whole team has been exceptional and beating Lancashire has really kept us in the hunt for promotion.”
AEGON INTER-COUNTY CUP, Day Two
Women’s Championship, Group One at Eastbourne:
Warwickshire lost to Middlesex 2-7.
Men’s Group Five at West Worthing:
Warwickshire beat Lancashire 6-3.