The Anglo-Scottish team tournament for the youngest age group took place last weekend at the TBC. Putting out a team of 6 girls and 6 boys seems to get ever-harder but we made it this year – just. But what a good weekend they all seem to have had. And for many of them, it was the very first experience of a team event like this. An experience which, we hope, will leave them wanting more.
The team were managed by Joel Dodd and Gillian Cockett, who received tremendous back-up from Karen & Ellen Davison, count coach Martin Fagan, Ellie Roberts, James Dodd and a considerable number of extremely supportive parents. Thanks to them all.
The team were:
Amy Zheng, Isabel Featherstone, Hannah Zheng, Eve Beechinor-Collins, Katrina Ho, Lucy Dodd, Merin Cherian, Naomi Silva
Cameron Twynholm, Conall Fearon, Jake Stroud, James Hewson, Matthew Glennie, Ryan Cockett, Xuehan Zhang, Sam Best
The first match was against Lanark and despite their relative inexperience, the team got off to an encouraging start recording several good wins. The match was lost 6-9 but 4 of the losses came in close three-end tie-breaks. There really was very little in it. Our girls in particular had scored well. Next up was Cumbria. Northumberland shot off with three wins in the mixed from Xuehan & Eve, Ryan & Hannah and Sam & Amy. These were followed by singles wins for Lucy and Katrina, with Naomi only losing her match 6-7 in the tie break. Cumbria’s boys fought back but we won all three girls doubles to give us an 8-7 overall win. Yorkshire were our last opponents on Saturday and were as strong as always. Eve was our only player to get into a third end and although we took one win with a conceded doubles match, we lost 1-14. Nevertheless, there had been lots of encouragement to be taken from that day’s play.
Sunday morning started with a match against Borders. There had been a couple of changes of personnel which probably weakened the team a little but the managerial tactic of strengthening the mixed seemed to pay off again. Ryan & Eve, Cameron & Merin and Matthew & Isabel all won, as did Lucy, Katrina and Naomi in their singles. All six level doubles were also won, giving Northumberland a 13-2 victory. The match against Lothian was bound to be a lot tougher, as indicated by the score of 4-11, but this hides the act that four of the losses were in close three-end tie-breaks. This all set us up for the last match against Cheshire, who had had similar results to us. It was indeed very close. The girls again performed strongly with wins for Katrina, Eve and Naomi, building on two good mixed wins. James got ever so close in his singles, losing 6-7 in the third end, having fought back wonderfully to take it to a decider. In the end it all came down to the last boys doubles with Jake & Conall: they lost the first end to 10, clawed their way back with 15-12 in the second but the match slipped away 4-7 in the decider. This left Northumberland in 5th place overall, just behind Cumbria who had provided a shock win over Lothian.
There had been some great efforts all round, new friendships made, lessons learned and experiences to be built on. Very well done to them all – and many thanks for the support.