Cambridgeshire’s U14 County Cup team fought and battled until the very end in an exciting and testing weekend in the U14 County Cup Finals held at Nottingham. The Cambs team had Derrick Chen available for the round robin group stages on the Saturday and the Sunday but were without Yujiro Onuma for the whole weekend. The other members of the team were all those who helped the team qualify - Zach Cox, Darius Fatemi-Ghomi, Leon Kewney and Rohan Iyengar.
Up against the 3rd seeds Hampshire & Isle of Wight in the opening match on a rain interrupted day, it was two rubbers each after the singles. Chen and Kewney winning their respective singles. Fatemi-Ghomi and Kewney pulled of a great win in the match tiebreak before Chen and Cox won convincingly to get a 4-2 overall win.
Playing a Hertfordshire team next, we were 1-3 down after the singles. However, it could have been different if Kewney had capitalised on his chances in his singles. Chen won his singles and his doubles in a 2-4 loss.
Cambs had to play the number 1 seeds Middlesex in the last round robin stage and in the knowledge that Cambs had to match or beat Hertfordshire’s result to play for a bronze medal on the Sunday.
It was a very spirited display and Kewney got Cambs of to a great start winning in a match tiebreak 13-11 before Fatemi-Ghomi put in a hard fought opening set and Cox got beaten in straight sets. Chen won his 3rd singles out of three to tie the match at two rubbers all before the doubles.
It was looking good at one point but Chen and Cox couldn’t see out the match and lost in a match tiebreak and Cambs eventually lost 2-4.
On the last day, Cambs were playing for 5th place against Essex without Chen and they showed their character, battling back from 0-2 down to win 4-2 to clinch a very well deserved 5th place finish.
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.’
Cambs qualified for the 14 and under Aegon County Cup Finals for the second year in a row thanks to a spirited team effort in the U14 County Cup qualifying stages.
The team, of Yujiro Onuma, Zach Cox, Darius Fatemi-Ghomi, Leon Kewney and Rohan Iyengar beat Wiltshire, Somerset and then Gloucester in a closely fought group at Sutton Tennis Club over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The team, led by Yujiro Onuma at number 1 came through a close opening match against a spirited Wiltshire team. Leon Kewney and Darius Fatemi Ghomi - playing at 4 and 3 respectively got Cambs of to the perfect start with two convincing wins before the match got tense. Yujiro Onuma lost his singles while Zach Cox, at number two was on court for over two and a half hours and with the match at 2-1 in rubbers, Zach’s match was vital. Zach stayed calm and mentally strong finally coming through 6/4 in the 3rd set while to take a very good 3/1 lead going into the doubles. Cambs boys were too strong in the doubles and Cambs won 5/1 but it could have been so different.
Next up was Somerset and it was a comfortable win, with Rohan Iyengar coming in for the doubles and Cambs turned in a 6/0 whitewash. It meant Cambs were to play Gloucester in the playoff to see who would reach the finals at Nottingham on 12th to 14th May.
Again, Kewney and Fatemi Ghomi came through their tests with flying colours before Cox lost in straight sets. It was Onuma’s turn to be on court for a long time and after winning a close first set on a tiebreak and leading 4/0 in the 2nd set, Yujiro allowed his opponent to come back and it was down to a match tiebreak. Yujiro showed some fantastic passion and it helped him come through in the tiebreak 10/7 to give us a healthy lead of 3/1 going into the two final doubles. Kewney and Fatemi-Ghomi teamed up in torrential rain to seal the win for a place in the National Finals at Nottingham.
It was a great weekend and captain Chris Johnson said "It was a very spirited performance from the team, and while on paper it looked quite straight forward we had to fight hard"