TENNIS: In-form quartet to fly the county flag
The irrepressible form of the Northamptonshire 10 & Under boys' team will look to step up another level when they face the top seven other counties in the country at Sunderland on Friday.
Flying the flag has never been a more appropriate analogy for the proud quartet of Jakob Bonnett, Matthew Moloney, Angel Angelov and Harris Chacksfield as they bid to repeat the rampaging tournament success they have enjoyed twice over the course of the last month, only this time at a very elite level.
For the county flag, emblazoning the Tudor rose and set out in predominantly red but also black and white colours, will be flying on Wearside. Designed to commemorate the county men reaching Group One of the LTA Summer Cup in 2001, it has only made fleeting appearances since.
The boys will be seeking to repeat the excellent form they showed in Grantham a fortnight ago where they won all four regional matches against Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire over two days to qualify for these national finals.
That followed an eye-catching blitz of Lionel Cox Trophy at Queenswood School over the May bank holiday where they proved the pick of 10 counties, defeating hosts Hertfordshire in the final.
The only rubber dropped at Grantham saw Northants No.1 Bonnett beaten by Nottinghamshire’s Phoenix Weir only for Moloney and Bonnett to clinch the deciding doubles 4-0, 4-1.
Harris Chacksfield was able to glean valuable doubles experience although the final match with Leicestershire wasn’t necessary with the title stashed away.
The county girls team of Alexandra Manojlovic, Megan Ransford, Charlotte Johns and Amie Reynolds were in action at King’s Park and secured a win against Oxfordshire while only losing to Berkshire on a tie-break shoot out, Manojlovic winning three out of four at the head of the order.
Meanwhile, the eye catching form of the county lads has received extra recognition with Moloney being chosen to take part in an on court demonstration at Wimbledon in three weeks time.
NORTHANTS Over 45 men found the going tough in their opening National League fixture, going down 5-0 to Kent at Romney.
THE loss of Jonathan Searle from the County A armoury seems likely to have little detrimental effect in the challenge Barry Wilson’s side will deliver in trying to recapture their Division One crown from Corby TC A this summer.
Searle, who was married at the weekend before embarking on his honeymoon this week, had been sidelined by a troublesome shoulder injury and had not played in any of County’s four matches to date. It seems unlikely his recuperation will allow him to play a part of the senior men’s LTA Summer County Cup campaign in Oxford at the end of July.
Yet while the loss of Searle would normally have resulted in a significant bar to County’s chances, youngsters such as Henry Masters and Cameron Yuill have stepped up to the plate while Corby’s own challenge has been somewhat diluted, with Dallington A emerging as likeliest rivals.
County A visit Northampton C on Thursday evening, 24 hours before Corby TC A host Northampton B while Dallington’s next action is scheduled for the Abington a grass on Monday night.
Last Friday, Corby TC A were 5-3 winners at Northampton A with Joe Tyler and Alan Jordan winning three sets, beating Tom Cunningham/Paul Essom 6-1, 6-1 and halving 4-6, 6-2 against Tim Graham/Andy Trott who defeated Oliver/Richmond/Jovan Kangrga 6-0, 6-3. That said, 13-year-old Kangrga was still able to celebrate his first sets in the top divisions of men’s tennis as he and Richmond were 6-3, 7-5 winners against Cunningham/Essom.
Meanwhile Dallington B appear on fast track for a quick return to Division One, the latest evidence arriving on Monday night when they trounced Ferrers 8-0, the pairings of Oli Reis/Sam Smith and Alex Ballinger/Nick Lloyd proving too hot for Mark and Lee Gay and James Roberts/Gareth Street.
Monday also saw a defining outcome in the top section of the ladies division with the County A quartet of Laura Mineards/Catherine Thompson and Kate Clayson/Suzanne Clarke displacing Dallington A at the top with an 8-0 win at the hands of that opposition. Experience held sway, despite the visitors fielding a strong line-up of Imogen Allen/Zoe Yuill and Alex Lewis/Abigail Pearce. So, very much business as usual at Church Way!
Northampton A’s mixed Division One credentials will be put on the line on Friday night when the current leaders host Dallington A in a re-arranged fixture.
Newly-emerging Roade look like launching a weighty challenge in Mixed Division Three after a recent 6-2 win at Dallington D in which the pairs of Ollie Mason/Jo Jackson and Alex Dunn/Amy Pattison both won three sets, at least two of those players returning to their forming stamping ground.