Herts ladies lose title decider with Warwickshire

PUBLISHED: 17:25 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 26 October 2009

Double action from Eastbourne

Double action from Eastbourne

AFTER a week of fantastic tennis, Herts ladies came within a whisker of taking the championship at the Summer County Cup in Eastbourne. Going into the event, held at Devonshire Park, their main aim was to consolidate their place in Group 1 of the county

Players on court

AFTER a week of fantastic tennis, Herts' ladies came within a whisker of taking the championship at the Summer County Cup in Eastbourne.

Going into the event, held at Devonshire Park, their main aim was to consolidate their place in Group 1 of the county structure.

However, the Herts aces raised the bar and took their doubles play to a new level.

The squad finished off with a do-or-die match against Warwickshire, with the winners set to scoop the title, and unfortunately the Herts team fell at the final hurdle, losing 5-4.

However, county ladies' captain Sarah Donovan was understandably delighted with the performance of her team.

She said: "Just to stay in the league is most people's main aim, such is the mixed nature of the group, so to come so close to winning the title is amazing really.

"We didn't start too well, and I had a word with the girls, and told them it was all a bit flat really, but after that they deserve tremendous credit for raising their game.

"They responded in the best possible way."

Herts began on the Monday with a tough loss against defending champs Lancashire 6-3.

The Herts pairings of Katharine Baker and Gosling tennis ace Katy Williams, and former Dame Alice Owen's pupil Holly Bagshaw and Kate Elliott from Brookmans Park were particularly impressive, despite the overall defeat.

This prompted a team talk that evening where, as Donovan stated, they "changed the pairs around and tried to work on a winning formula."

This obviously worked as on the second day they defeated Bucks 5-4 and this was followed by an amazing display of tennis, beating Surrey by the same scoreline on the Wednesday.

At this stage, with the exception of Warwickshire and South Wales, all teams were sitting on wins and losses and so mathematically any final position was possible.

With this in mind, the team took care of South Wales on the Thursday 6-3, with Baker and Elliott hammering their opponents 6-0, 6-0, and meanwhile prayed for Surrey to snatch a win over Warwicks on the same day.

This happened, meaning that both Warks and Herts had one loss going into the final day, and the other counties had two or more.

It was then a fight for the title between Herts and Warks on the final day.

Warwickshire came out of the gates quickly with a 2-1 lead going into lunch.

Herts retaliated valiantly in a nerve-wracking middle round, bringing the score back to 3-3, with Times Territory starlets Bagshaw and Williams securing a rubber victory.

Unfortunately in the final round, Warks outplayed Herts and took the title with a 5-4 win.

Donovan added: "From the flatness on the Monday in losing to Lancs, to how we played from then on was amazing. There was such a difference.

"The last match against Warks was so close and was anybody's really.

"Although it was disappointing not to get the win that would have got us the title, things are really promising at the moment."

Bizarrely, with all the comings and goings in the group, Herts ended up coming fourth, a position which belies how well they performed in the tournament.

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