Stratford players on-song amid contrasting fortunes for Warwickshire senior tennis sides at County Week
STRATFORD players were on song as newly-promoted Warwickshire men’s tennis side made a near-perfect start to Group Four of the Summer County Cup, thrashing North Wales 8-1 on day one at Felixstowe, reports Sally Jones.
County captain Gavin Henderson was delighted with his side’s performance as Stratford’s Luke Hammond, now on an American university tennis scholarship in Oklahoma, plus coach Jake Hersey and the Bears’ first pair Mason Recci and Max Stewart each won three rubbers out of three in straight sets.
The big-serving left-hander Richard Partridge and Oliver Plaskitt at third pair dropped the only rubber of the day to the first pair on a Championship tie-break decider, but then beat the North Wales seconds.
Warwick Boat Club coach Cameron Malik, from Stratford, then came in with the durable Simon Ferguson at third pair and took the final rubber of the day.
“I’m delighted with how the side got stuck in early on,” said Henderson.
“They all played really solid, focused tennis, and our top two pairs looked among the strongest in the group.
"It’s vital we take as many rubbers as possible at this stage as both East of Scotland and North of Scotland are going to be tough to beat – and it would be great if we could challenge for our second promotion in two years.”
Warwickshire women, relegated to Group Two at Cheltenham and desperate to bounce straight back up to Group One, lost the tightest of matches to Northumberland 6-3, despite vociferous support from British No. 1 Dan Evans.
Frustratingly, Katie Shaw’s young side dropped all four of the rubbers that went to sudden death Championship tie-breaks and were narrowly edged out, despite battling hard against powerful opposition.
Second pair Soumeya Anane and Kate Malazonia let slip a lead of a set and 5-1 against their opposite numbers, but beat the thirds in style.
First pair Tash Hillyer, the former Stratford Tennis Club coach, and Summer Yardley were the pick of the bunch, winning two out of three.
“It was a real lottery that four of our rubbers went to Championship tie-breaks and a shame that just a couple of points made all the difference, but I was really proud of how the girls fought and it’s given us some ideas about new pairings for our next match against Kent, said captain Shaw.
"This is a highly-competitive group and there’s a great atmosphere amongst the girls, supporting one another and refusing to give up.
"We really appreciated Dan Evans’s support, which gave everyone a boost.”