Northumberland & Durham took a team to Sheffield for the North Midway Under 14 tournament last weekend. This was the second round of this age-group event, with the results being aggregated with those from the pre-Christmas round to give overall placings. The team was managed by Lizzie and Mark Jerdan and this is Lizzie’s report. Many thanks to her for looking after the team on the day.A combination of illness, injury and the clash with an Under 17 match meant that we were rather short-handed. As a result, the team was short of two girls and would have to concede the two girls doubles in each match. Despite this, the team of Emma Shears and Maddy Atkinson (both Durham), Matty Jerdan, Neil Shi, Christian Sharp and Tim Bodani all played with great heart and supported the managers really well.
The first round of the event was played in two groups of three counties and one of four. We were in the group of four and our first match was against Yorkshire 2, with whom we had had a close match previously. We got off to a good start in the girls’ singles where Maddy won 15-7 and Emma had a close game, going down to 11. Matty & Christian got a comfortable 15-7 win in their first boys’ doubles. Emma & Maddy then won their girls’ doubles 15-13, despite their result not being counted. The team continued well with mixed successes from Matty & Emma and Tim & Maddy securing good wins of 15-5 & 15-6. The overall result was a 4-6 loss but this had certainly been an encouraging start to the day and the team continued in very good spirit.
The second & third matches in our group were against a stronger Nottinghamshire team and a particularly good team from Warwickshire. Against Nottinghamshire the team managed a girls’ singles win by Maddy, 15-12, & mixed doubles win by Matty & Emma 15-11: there were several other close games but the match was lost 2-8. The team only achieved a one game win against Warwickshire: this was a tough 15-14 doubles victory by Matty & Christian which was, in fact, the only game that Warwick dropped in the whole of the first round matches.
Based on the first round results, the second round was split into similar groups to determine final places. We were again in a group of four and were playing for seventh to tenth. Our earlier result against Yorkshire 2 was carried forward and we sat out the fourth set of matches getting ready to play Lancashire 2, who we had beaten last time. The managers decided to change the team around and the singles players got us off to a fantastic start. Neil & Tim both had good wins, to 10 and 9 respectively and Emma followed up with another win, 15-11. This was a great morale boost for all the team. Matty & Christian played another great game, comfortably winning their doubles 15-6 before Emma & Matty and Maddy & Christian both won their mixed doubles 15-12 and 15-9. This gave a very positive match win of 6-4. Our final match was against Cheshire who always put out a strong side. The whole team remained positive and were full of determination although the score was a 2-8 loss. Christian secured a great 15-12 win in his singles and followed up by partnering Matty to a comfortable 15-8 win in doubles. Maddy and Emma both got close in their singles.
Despite the fact that we only secured one win overall, the outcome of the event was a success as the overall performances were very pleasing. The team must be commended on their positive attitude throughout the day and they will have gained more invaluable competitive experience. They all displayed some excellent play & match resilience. A special mention must go to Emma & Maddy who displayed great heart, playing up to two extra games in each match, despite their doubles results in the conceded matches not counting. This was a real shame as some of the match results could have been very different.
Warwickshire emerged from an extremely tight top group as winners on the day and just pipped Yorkshire 1 on countback to take the overall victory.
Thanks also must go to the parents who travelled and supported the team and to Richard Taylor, who was running the whole day.