Robyn Roberts kindly “volunteered” to manage a young and inexperienced team travelling to Sheffield for the first round of this season’s Under 16 competition. They found the going tough – but read on to see Robyn’s report on the day.
It was a pretty tough day, but the overall scores do not adequately reflect how close many of the games were, and the players showed a lot of grit and determination in getting the results we got.
Having to draft a player in to the team at late notice wasn’t going to help matters, but the team didn’t let that bother them at all, and got on with the job in hand admirably.
Their team spirit on the day was second to none, and they made my day, and first attempt at managing a team, very easy, and on the whole, a very enjoyable experience, although I have to say, being responsible for 8 kids playing, was even more nerve-wracking than just being responsible for my own, and not one I’ll be in a rush to repeat!!
I would like to say a special thanks to the girls who had to step up a rank at short notice, and particularly to Emily who came in at the 11th hour. They all performed very well. No-one else would have known that we had had to change at all, and I don’t feel the scores reflect that either. The boys also gelled well together, even though Dean and Ross don’t see the other boys so often these days, not being part of the PC any more, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Northumberland v Leics: lost 3 – 7
Our first match against Leicester really could have gone either way, and it was a shame overall that we couldn’t get this one under our belts, as we were then on the back foot, but they stuck at it and got some good results.
First one’s always tough, especially when you’re playing with people for the first time in a while.
The singles were hard, but well fought, and special mention should go to Dean & Ross, who got our first win under their belts in the boys doubles, and to Dean and Emily who won their mixed quite convincingly. Lexi & Ross also came frustratingly close, just losing 20-21.
Northumberland v Cheshire: lost 1 – 9
Next up were Cheshire, which was always going to be hard, as they have a strong team, but the players didn’t let that phase them, and put in some very strong performances, unfortunately not being able to convert many to wins in the end, but there were some very close calls; from Gyan losing just 19-21 to Adam Bridson, and most of the others were around the 15 & 16 mark, which is very promising. Special mention again though, for our one win, to Jonathan and Gyan for their excellent doubles performance 21-16.
Northumberland v Notts: lost 5 – 5
This one I found really tough to watch as it was so close! We were now in a second group of the three counties that had not won a match in Round 1.
Jonathan got us off to a flying start with a great win 21-18 against Adam Pass, with Dean and Beth putting in two great performances in their singles but not quite managing to get on top of the games, and then young Emily lifted the team again with a fantastic win 21-10 against Amy Hawthorn. I can honestly say I’ve never been quite so proud of other people’s kids!
The doubles didn’t go quite so well, as everyone was starting to flag a bit, although Jonathan and Gyan got very close, and then Lexi and Emily did us proud with a very closely fought 21-20 win.
This seemed to buoy them up, and we finished on wins from both mixed pairings of Gyan & Ellie, and Ross & Lexi, which was really great, but meant we had tied 5 all. I had to put my counting head on, do some maths, only to find that we had lost the match by just 16 points!
Northumberland v Yorks 2: lost 4 – 6
Again, this one could have easily gone the other way; it just wasn’t to be on the day, and no reflection on the performances put in by our players. Incidentally both the Notts and Yorks 2 managers conceded that the results could easily have gone our way too. Not much in it at all.
Gyan and Ross both had tough singles games to start off with, but the girls fared better with Ellie only just narrowly missing out last minute at the end of what seemed like a never-ending game, to Emily Fearnley, 20-21; Emily herself said it was a tough one; and Lexi put in a sterling performance and beat Hannah Cahill, 21-18. The doubles were all really well fought, and those that didn’t win, were very close.
Again, we only lost this one by 22 points, which is only a game’s difference.
Overall, a very encouraging day; great performances from all involved, and just a shame that that the end result doesn’t reflect that.
Thanks to all of the players, who gave 100%, and were a credit to themselves, us as parents, and to the county and coaches. Thanks also to all of the parents who made the journey to bring and support the players. It was a long day, and the weather driving back was particularly horrible. Your support was very much appreciated.