'Cambridgeshire Ladies were in Division 3 this winter, held at Hills Road Tennis Centre, so we were hopeful of the home advantage. However, going into the weekend we were under no illusions how tough it would be, we were in a group with Cheshire, Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. All counties much bigger than ourselves with a rich tennis history. But we had a full capacity team meaning we could rest people if injuries started to creep in.
The first day saw us play Cheshire, it was a hard fought day that felt like everything was in the balance several times over, we had epic 3 set matches in every single round. Unfortunately our 3rd set conversion needed some work as we lost all 5 of those 3 setters & that was the difference between a win and a loss. 7-2 we went down to Cheshire.
Day 2 and we would face Buckinghamshire who were triumphant on their first day against Derby, and so keenly looking for to boost their promotion hopes for the last day. However we put up one hell of a fight, again we had 4 matches go to 3 sets again, this time we did manage to win one of them, but still that was not good enough. 5-4 Buckinghamshire was our final score and we would go into the last day battling to prevent relegation, which somehow seemed so unjust given everything had been so close thus far.
Alas, the last day arrived, all a little sore, we rallied today and our families too for extra support, alongside some of the Cambridgeshire committee execs too. Our first two rubbers, the nerves were already prevalent, both being extremely close, we eventually prevailed with rubber 5 where Chaaya boosted our 3 set ratio, Tash narrowly missed out at number 6 with a strong second set performance from her opponent.
We then struggled through the rest of the singles, with another 2 third set loses and a straights set loss, rubber 4 was the only other singles win which was Laura who after a very close tiebreak first set ran away with the second set to come through it quickly.
So, we were left in the position of being 4-2 down after the singles and needing to win all 3 doubles rubbers to stay in our group. It was a big ask, but we had everything to give. It started in the best fashion possible with Neha & Tash producing the doubles performance of the weekend and winning the 3rd pair doubles in style. Then both 2nd and 1st doubles again went to 3 sets, maybe you’ve seen a pattern here, nerves on the supporting sidelines were just given our 3rd set history throughout the weekend! But these are the moments that we play the game for, that we compete for and that we train week in, week out for. 2nd pair consisting of Megan & Laura eventually came through in an exciting tiebreak to keep the hopes alive. It was then down to Sophie and Annie at pair 1 to do the same. They had an incredible start to the tiebreak going 8-0 up, however Derby launched their retaliation, but we held our nerve and eventually closed it out. We had pulled off the come back, secured our position in group 3 for another year & broken the curse of the third set.
Bring on County Week….