Northumberland’s U17 team has just been down to Sheffield for the second round of the North Midway. As there was a late team withdrawal from this round, the format of the day was set to be a round robin of six counties. Manager Lizzie Jerdan’s report follows and documents what turned into a superb achievement for the county’s team.Our first match was against Leicestershire which looked to be a tough first game as they had won the Round One event before Christmas. Melvin & Sarah set us off to a great start winning their mixed & George & Matty secured victories in their singles with the latter being a very tight 21-20 win. After a consistent start to the day Anna at singles, then George & Melvin and Rachel & Abby at level doubles secured our 6-4 win. This set our spirits high for the day.
Northumberland then played Yorkshire 1 & showed their true grit and determination with George & Sarah, Jack & Abby winning their mixed games comfortably, followed by wins in both boys’ doubles. Especially well done to Jack & Matty for their result of 21-20. After some more close games the score became very tense as we went into Rachel & Abby’s last game – but they managed to pull through to a clear win 21-14. This gave us a 6-4 victory over Yorkshire 1, boosted the team’s confidence and energised their support.
After hearing Warwickshire were highly seeded, Northumberland knew they had a challenge ahead of them. We reviewed the pairings and decided to mix the team up to maximise success. After a few close games Melvin, Anna & Rachel secured us wins in their singles games and George & Sarah took their mixed to secure us a 4-2 lead. We entered the level doubles knowing that the points in each game could be crucial. Anna & Sarah took the win that was needed by the closest of margins and with the match drawn at 5-all, we won on countback by one solitary point: 190-189.
After that very well-fought win against Warwickshire, we knew that it was Cheshire next – and they had already beaten Warwickshire 7-3. So after lunch we realigned our team to face this next challenge: the team were really determined to win. Again there were some hard fought games, especially with George & Melvin and Matty & Jack securing close doubles wins. For Northumberland to win this match, the girls’ level doubles was the key focus. Abby & Rachel secured a very comfortable win of 21-13, leaving Sarah & Anna to play the last game, not knowing that we were 5-4 up. Every point mattered and, although they lost another very close game, the team had done enough overall and Northumberland won by 10 clear points.
Our last match of the day was against Yorkshire2. The team continued to maintain their exceptional togetherness and focus and came through to record another very pleasing win, this time by 7-3. All the team members had contributed wins regularly through the day in all five disciplines but we should give a special mention to Anna who played singles in all five matches, showing considerable resilience.
The Round Two result on the day was that Northumberland were unbeaten – a huge achievement for them all and the first time that one of our teams has done that in a North Midway event for many years. Overall and taking both rounds together, we finished in fourth place, as we had played with a slightly weaker team in the pre-Christmas Round One event. They were an absolute pleasure to manage & there were a lot of good performances by the whole team. They were an asset to Northumberland.
The team, pictured here, was – Abby Grogan, Anna Railton, Rachel Bogan and Sarah Bambrick; George Moran, Matty Jerdan, Jack Thorpe and Melvin Cherian.
Many thanks to Lizzie & Mark Jerdan and to the Thorpes for their support.