Another year had flown by and Essex Ladies were keen to continue their success from last year and perform to division 2 standard. The team this year was slightly different, we had new recruits Amy Cockell (Friday)and Iva Saric (Saturday and Sunday), both who had a 4 month and 5 month old daughters respectively. Joining them were Mandy Wainwright, Melanie Hall and myself, captain Sophie Cockell.
The first day we were drawn against Durham and Cleveland who on paper looked to be the strongest team. We were 2-1 down after the 2 singles and first doubles and Amy and Sophie fought hard in the 2nd doubles but unfortunately lost it in the third set. Due to injury Durham and Cleveland conceded the last match which could have proved to be crucial in the long run.
The following day we played Devon and had a confident 4-1 victory, Durham and Cleveland also beat Yorkshire so we needed to win the following day and Devon to beat Durham and Cleveland for us to win the division on rubbers.
We played Yorkshire and managed to gain a 2-1 lead. By then Durham and Cleveland had already beaten Devon so we knew we were playing for 2nd or 3rd place. Both doubles went on at the same time and unfortunately Mel had a nasty fall in the 2nd set and had to retire from the match leaving Iva and Sophie to battle it out.
They had a very close match on centre court, managed to win the first set but lost the 2nd on a tie break. At 8-8 in the championship tie break there was a controversial point where the opposition shouted out mid-point and even though they won the point the referee rewarded the point to Essex to give Essex match point. They didn’t manage to win that one but did win 11-9 meaning Essex came 2nd in their division.
It was an amazing effort from all, especially the new mums and a great achievement as the standard is so high.
We are looking forward to next year already!