Northumberland took a team to the Primary level event of the North Midway League last weekend. This was the first time in recent memory that we have been to the starter event from the four age groups run by the NMBL and it was just great that we were able to put out a team from our new Futures group.
The team, managed by Karen Davison, was Ellen Davison, Charlotte Graham, Amy Ward and Jude Lapworth (of Durham); Ollie Bruce, Matty Stienlet, Alex Sutherland and Jack Tilbury.
The first round of the event was played in two groups of five counties. Our first match was against a strong Warwickshire team but the team could only manage two girls’ doubles to 13 and 14: the match was lost 2-8. The team then showed their mettle by bouncing back strongly against Yorkshire 2 to record a really good 7-3 win. There were three good singles wins from Ollie, Jack and Jude, followed by doubles successes from Alex & Matty, Charlotte & Jude and Ellen & Amy. Charlotte & Matty then put the cherry on the cake with a 21-18 win in mixed.
We had already seen that Leicestershire looked to be particularly strong and so it proved in the next match. Alex got close in his singles and we were competitive in several of the doubles matches, especially with Charlotte & Jude getting to 20-21, but unfortunately we could not win an end. This then set us up for the last group match which was against Cheshire. It was 1-all after the boys’ singles, Ollie having taken his match 21-15. Amy and Charlotte then took their singles comfortably before all six doubles were taken to give us a 9-1 win.
So Northumberland finished third in our group, before going on to face Warwick 2, who were third in their group. Not surprisingly, this was much closer than the earlier matches. There were two 21-20s, one in our favour courtesy of Ollie and the other going the other way after a great effort by Amy & Matty at mixed. Jude and Charlotte both had good singles wins and the girls’ doubles backed this up with two more wins before Ellen & Alex capped a great day with a 21-17 mixed win, giving us 5th place overall.
This was a really promising debut from all of these young players. Very well done to them all. Team manager Karen was absolutely thrilled with the performance of the whole team. Many thanks to Karen and to the parents who had travelled down to Sheffield on the day.