Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire set for last-day showdown
- Credit: Archant
HERTS and Bucks ensured their Friday meeting would have a cup final feel to it after their respective wins at the Aegon Summer County Cup maintained their unbeaten records in Eastbourne.
Buckinghamshire turned round all three of their three-set matches, where they also lost the first game, out of the nine rubbers against Surrey which proved to be the difference after they won 7-2.
Bucks have never won the Aegon Summer County Cup and lost to Hertfordshire on the final day last year to end their hopes but they have produced some stunning performances at Devonshire Park.
Unbeaten pair Julia Bone and Jemima King have been in fine form and continued their hot streak when they again dropped just four games in their first two rubbers – and pro Laura Deigman was convinced her team could make a bit of history this week.
“I wasn’t here last year but I know we lost on the final day,” she said. “I don’t think we have ever won it but I think we have a better team out this year and I am confident in the team to go on and win it.
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“It would be a really nice thing to do. I have had a great week as part of a team and it is always nice to be able to play for other people as well as yourself.”
Hertfordshire ended Warwickshire’s hopes of an unlikely late tilt for the title as they pulled away with three wins out of three in the evening rubbers to end with a 7-2 victory.
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Former WTA top.400 player Amanda Elliott and 15-year-old Emily Arbuthnott – ranked no.1 in Britain by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) at under-18 level – have proved a tough nut to crack as a partnership and were raring to go again ahead of their Bucks showdown.
“We can go into the game with a lot of confidence after last year,” said Elliott. “We have been playing well all week so I’m really looking forward to facing Buckinghamshire.
Arbuthnott added: “It has been my first County Cup and I have really enjoyed it – I definitely want to play again next year as I love playing doubles.
“It has been different playing against older players because they are that bit cleverer in the doubles but it is certainly more interesting and can only help.”
The northern derby between Lancashire and Cheshire proved to be the day’s most exciting tie at 3-3 going into the final round but it was Cheshire who prevailed 5-4 to secure their Group 1 survival.
Surrey and Lancashire are yet to win and play each other on the final day which means Cheshire spend their fourth year in five in the top group after formerly experiencing a 70-year absence – and Katie Sweeting admitted she could finally let out a sigh of relief.
“It was certainly a really close one and we’re local rivals really so it was a big win for us,” said the Cheshire player.
“We just seemed to play the big points better but there was a lot of pressure going into the final round so we did great to fight really hard and turn it around. I guess it is pressure off now so we can just enjoy it.”