Our Under 16s scored an excellent 14-6 Shires League victory over Lancashire2 this weekend. Fielding a team designed to broaden the base at this age group, we brought in a number of younger players to join two of the more regular boys. The team, managed by Richard Taylor and Daniel Tinnion, was –
Ava Doyle, Eve Beechinor-Collins, Katrina Ho, Naomi Silva, Hugh Twelves, Jamie Grant, Ryan Cockett and Xuehan Zhang.
We got off to a great start in the mixed, winning three of the four matches. Jamie partnered Naomi in what was to be the first of four long three-enders that he battled through in the afternoon. This one was won 17-21, 21-4, 21-11. Ava was playing in her first match for the county but supported by the ever-confident Hugh she started off well with a 21-8, 21-15 victory. The boys singles was a similar 3-1 to Northumberland. Ryan got close to taking the top match into three ends but went down 13-21, 18-21. Xuehan won in two ends while both Jamie and Hugh won long three-enders. In like fashion, the girls singles were also taken 3-1. Excellent straightforward wins were recorded by Eve, Naomi and Ava with Katrina getting close.
Jamie was getting his money’s worth and partnered Ryan to two more long three-enders in the boys doubles, losing the top match to 15s but taking their second match 22-20, 21-23, 21-12. Hugh and Xuehan found an easier path with two well-worked wins. In the girls doubles the pairings of Katrina/Naomi and Eve/Ava each won one of their two matches, losing to the Lancs first pair while scoring good wins over the number twos.
All in all, it was a very satisfying afternoon’s play and the team well-merited their 14-6 victory. It was all the more worthwhile in that a number of players had been introduced to competition at the Under 16 level and had acquitted themselves very well.