Captain: Tom Lambert
On Saturday 17th August Oxfordshire’s 9U team travelled to Dukes Meadow in South West London to take on Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the 2019 9U County Cup.
The team knew some tough matches were ahead as they were by far the youngest team at the venue. However, they were keen to try their best and keep a great team spirit.
First up was a match against Hertfordshire. Despite the three Hertfordshire players towering over our players, Zane, Andrew and Digby didn’t take a step back and all fought hard for every point. Aneesa, Anna and Ellie were up next and they managed to get close in a few sets against the very experienced Hertfordshire team. George came in to partner Zane in the boys’ doubles, Aneesa teamed up with Anna with Ellie and Digby forming our mixed doubles pair. All the teams used their Oxfordshire training to be on the look-out for volleys and to show great team spirit. Hertfordshire came out 9-0 winners.
It wasn’t going to get any easier for the Oxfordshire team as next up was the formidable Middlesex team. The boys went first in their singles with George coming in for Digby and despite putting up a great fight against some sensational serving they were unable to put a win on the board. Although the girls received some very positive feedback from the opposing captains they were unable to convert their great technique and effort into the win that Oxfordshire were craving. The doubles was again a strength of the Oxfordshire team and they pushed Middlesex hard but came away with a 9-0 defeat.
Some teams would have been deflated after losing 18 rubbers in a row but this team still had smiles on their faces and were showing great team spirit by supporting their fellow team mates.
Our final match was against Buckinghamshire and once again Oxfordshire were the underdogs. Zane kicked us off and used the tactic of playing to his opponents backhand really well but the Bucks number 1 proved just too strong. Zane played against some very tough opponents all day but never stopped smiling or supporting his teammates.
A determined looking George stepped up next and pushed his older opponent hard in the first set, losing it 9-7. This didn’t stop George and he fist pumped his way to Oxfordshire’s first set of the day with a tenacious 9-7 second set victory. Unfortunately George’s opponent had another gear and took the third set but George had fired up the team and given them a bit of belief.
Andrew, the team’s master tactician had come up with the plan of ‘mixing it up’ against his powerful opponent. He changed the pace of the ball well and it caused his opponent plenty of problems but eventually the power won the match.
The cool and calm Aneesa took on the Bucks number 1 and planned to move her opponent around and she certainly did that. After twi tough sets where both players worked very hard it was one set all and Oxfordshire had another set on the board. Aneesa went for it in the 3rd set but couldn’t quite hit her targets and came away with a 2-1 defeat.
Maybe the very athletic Anna was going to pick up Oxfordshire’s first rubber of the day? She pushed her opponent back off the court using her deep top spin shots and caused enough trouble to win another set for Oxfordshire but again the extra match experience of the Buckinghamshire team shone through as they picked up another 3 set win.
The indoor bubble was acting like a greenhouse so Ellie’s plan was to make her opponent run around by being brave with her backhand. After two close sets where Ellie really attacked the ball the Buckinghamshire player just took the win.
So Oxfordshire were 0 and 24 going into the final 3 doubles rubbers of the day.
Digby had been playing close attention to the Buckinghamshire players during the singles so he could be ready for the doubles. He planned to get close to the net so he and George would rush their opponents with volleys. They pushed the powerful Bucks team all the way in two close sets but it was the boys from Bucks who came out on top.
Zane and Ellie teamed up in the mixed doubles and again top teamwork was on show. They communicated on every point which led to some lovely volleys but the Bucks team won in straight sets.
It was the last rubber of the day and the Oxfordshire team were still smiling and still cheering their teammates.
Aneesa and Anna were in a really tight battle. They won the first set 9-7 then lost the second 5-7. Could they stay positive with their shots and take a doubles victory? Buckinghamshire had the first match point but Aneesa saved it with a passing shot down the line. 6-6, 7-7. Could Oxfordshire get the two points they needed? With some great teamwork and volleys, Aneesa and Anna won the final two points of the day to give themselves and the team a well-earned first rubber of the day.
The players worked so hard all day and had lots of fun. All of the captains and the referees commented on what a credit to Oxfordshire the players were.