The 8U boys team travelled to Cambridge to play the East Region Inter County Event on Sunday 8th March. Having heard about the girls great performance in the morning the boys were keen to get going and replicate the hard work and team spirit in the afternoon.
The team had four group matches to play and started off against a very tall Berkshire team. All the boys agreed they were going to do lots of split steps and try their best and all the players did exactly that. Emmanuel Adebesi was first on but came up just short 10-7. Adam Heus played very energetically to get Oxfordshire’s first rubber of the day in a 10-4 win. That was our only rubber in this tough match up although Aiden Beck came super close with a 10-9 defeat and Oliver Gifford played one of the best quality matches of the day against the Berkshire number 1. The crowd couldn’t believe the standard in his 10-8 defeat.
Next up were Norfolk. Emmanuel got the team off to a great start, using his more height over the net to win a close match 10-8. A confident Adam followed up his first match with a 10-2 victory and then Jonah Spooner showed excellent technique in an impressive 10-5 win. Oxfordshire needed one more rubber to win the match. Aiden fought hard but lost out and then Ethan Scott gave it his best shot against a tough opponent but lost out 10-5. Oliver still looked puffed out from his amazing first match but didn’t let that stop him winning 10-7 and securing the match.
Third match of the day were perennial finalists Hertfordshire. The team decided their aim was to battle for every ball against the more experienced opponents. They certainly did that and team support was high but Oxfordshire lost out 6-0.
Last match in the group was against hosts Cambridge and Oxfordshire could finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th in their box of 5 depending on the result. Emmanuel and Adam got Oxfordshire off to a flyer with 10-9 and 10-6 victories but the momentum was stopped with two convincing defeats against some very strong players for Jonah and Aiden. Ethan battled hard for his 4 points and hit some excellent backhands and Oliver once again worked hard but suffered a 10-2 defeat.
Oxfordshire were safe in the knowledge that they had performed better than last year and were keen for more matches in the 5th-8th playoff. First up was Northants who had brought a very noisy crowd with them. The players and the umpires dealt with the rowdy atmosphere really well. Emmanuel started well again with a 10-8 win and then Adam battled back from 9-6 down to get to 9-9 only to lose out on a net cord that rolled over the net. The boys had learned from the girls in the morning that every point counts in the knockouts so Jonah and the super smooth Aiden battled really hard in their 10-2 and 10-8 defeats. Ethan was improving his game in every match and his topspin caused his opponent plenty of problems but he just lost out 10-7. Oliver had another great match and managed to sneak it 10-9.
Last match of the day and the boys were excited to try and match the girls result of 7th. Standing in their way were Buckinghamshire. Emmanuel continued his great form winning 10-8 and then Adam responded really well to his previous tough defeat to put in a determined performance and win 10-1. Jonah tried to use all of his excellent topspin to drag his opponent off the court but his opponent stayed strong to win 10-4. Aiden was staying really calm in a very tight match. It went to 9-9 but Aiden kept cool and one the last point to put Oxfordshire one point away from 7th place. Ethan was playing a great match, he used all of his improvements throughout the day and his great attitude to come through with a 10-8 win and secure Oxfordshire 7th place. Oliver confirmed the position with a 10-7 win at number 1.
All the players should be very proud. They showed great team spirit, tried their hardest in every match and had a lot of fun.
A 7th place in the Girls combined with a 7th place in the boys meant that Oxfordshire finished joint 5th out of 10 team which was a fantastic result.
8U Boys Captain, Tom Lambert