Cambridgeshire girls’ team of Megan Carmichael, Sama Malik, Chaaya Malik, Laurie Cruickshank and Lydia Sivirentsava travelled on Friday all the way to Wrexham to play in the Aegon County Cup group stages.
On the Saturday the team played the South of Scotland. The number 1 and 2 players played first and Megan Carmichael beat Robyn Harvey 6/0, 6/0 and Sama Malik beat Felicity Walls 6/1, 6/0. Laurie Cruickshank at number three beat Lia Matteoni 6/1, 6/2 and the Lydia Sivirentsava beat Lucy Paterson 6/1, 6/1 to give Cambs a 4/0 lead after the singles. Megan and Sama won the top doubles 6/0, 6/0 and then Chaaya Malik and Laurie Cruickshank won 6/2, 6/0 to give Cambs the perfect start.
In the second group match Cambs played Shropshire and again the whole team performed very well dropping only 12 games in the 4 singles and 2 doubles matches! Megan beat Amy Humphries 6/0, 6/1; Sama beat Imogen Dudson 6/0, 6/0; Laurie beat Eleanor Yeats 6/2, 6/2 and Lydia beat Tamzin Pountney 6/1, 6/3. Megan and Sama won their doubles 6/3, 6/0 and the Chaaya teamed up with Lydia and they won 6/0, 6/0 to give Cambs another 6/0 win.
Having won their group Cambs then played the winner of the other group which was Somerset. This was always going to be a close match and with Chaaya (slight injury) unable to play singles they were going to be up against it. Megan at number one had a terrific match against Grace Piper and this ebbed and flowed before the Somerset player eventually won 7/5, 2/6, 6/4. Sama Malik then played a really solid match and served very well to overcome Caitlin McLoughlin 6/3, 6/2 – much closer than the score suggests to level the scores. Laurie at number 3 had a great match against Francesca Davis but narrowly lost out 7/6, 3/6, 6/4. At number 4 Lydia got off to a good start and took the first set 6/1 and was leading 5/3 in the second before her opponent Tresha Kumar fought back and it went to a tie break. Lydia went 3/6 down but then fought back to take the set 8/6. After the singles all square at 2 matches each. The top doubles pair of Megan and Sama beat McLoughlin and Davis 6/3, 6/0 but after a great second set Chaaya and Lydia lost to Piper and Megan Rundle 6/1, 7/5. With the match resting at 3 rubbers all then it was decided on a doubles tie break shoot out. Unfortunately Megan and Chaaya lost to Piper and McLoughlin 5/10 to narrowly miss out on joining the boys in the final.
Captain Sue Rich said ‘It was a great team effort and everyone played really well and had we had more luck with players not getting injured we would have made the finals. Well done to Sama who won all her matches and a special mention for Megan who is such a great team player.’