Leicestershire trio of Tilly Dale, Owen King and Grace Sherwin grabbed seven medals between them. Tilly and Owen grabbed two each. Tilly winning a bronze in the mixed with Albie Marriott of Oxford and a gold with Grace in the doubles. Owen winning a gold in the mixed with Grace and a silver in the doubles with Tom Bonser of Notts.
Grace went one better to win three medals. The two golds with Owen and Tilly along with a bonze in the singles.
Team Leicestershire’s Sophie Watson had a very busy and successful February, travelling the length of the country competing in the north and south of the UK and experiencing equal success in both!
First up was the U17 Silver at Teeside on their way to visit friends where Sophie teamed up with Lincolnshire’s Megan Diggle to win a gold medal in the WD before heading off to the U19 National Championships on 9/10th Feb – a great experience for her.
She then headed off to Bournemouth for a few days with Sophie Hillman where they teamed up in WD to play the half term Hampshire U17 Silver on 13th Feb. After winning their group and seeing off a tough pair in the final, the girls brought home gold again for a great end to half term for Sophie!
Saturday 17th February saw several Team Leicestershire juniors attend the penultimate U17 Gold event of the season in order to pit their wits and rackets against the best players in the UK at this age group.
Making a great start in the mixed, Izzy Pike & Harry Clare reached the quarter-final stage for the first time where they found Warwickshire pair Milly Evans & Nathan Moore too strong on this occasion. This feat was equalled by Jess Rodgers in the GS where she won her box but was unable to quite overcome Nottinghamshire’s Megan Brierley, battling through a tough 3 setter but losing out in the 3rd.
Having also won her group in GS, Jess Allen then pulled out a stunning win in her quarter-final, beating Surrey’s Charlotte Atkins in straight sets to 12 & 17, thereby earning herself a place in Sunday’s finals day. Facing #1 seed Sophie Hillman in her semi-final, Jess steamrolled her way into the final with another superb win 21-13 21-11 to face Megan Brierley who was no match for Jess on dominant form, earning herself the gold medal with a 21-19 21-14 victory!
On Sunday 4th February the U18’s hosted Staffordshire at home in Babington, hoping to keep their unblemished Shires League record for this season….
Martin Beynon, Harry Clare, Tom Cowperthwaite, Luke Hoult
Eve Dale, Ella Haines, Hritika Modi, Izzy Pike
Getting off to the best kind of start, the mixed pairs of Martin & Eve, Harry & Ella, Tom & Hritika and Izzy & newbie Luke cleaned up the mixed doubles in short order and without dropping a set. Moving onto the singles, the team consolidated their position by winning 3 out of 4 singles – both boys and girls.
By now in a 10-2 lead and with the match win almost a formality, the team went all out to try to win as many level double games as possible in order to strengthen their overall place on the U18 League table. All 4 pairs – Tom & Harry, Martin & Luke, Eve & Hritika and Ella & Izzy – reeled off the final 8 games in a row for a final scoreline of:-
U17’s Izzy Pike and Jess Rodgers made the long trip to Hereford on Saturday 3rd Feb for the U19 bronze – and a trip down memory lane to revisit the venue where they won the first of their many gold medals together back in 2015!
With Jess focusing today on singles, she made short work of a very challenging group, digging deep to beat the 3/4 seed in 3 extremely tight ends 22-20 19-21 21-17! She just missed out on a place in the semis, losing to Staffordshire’s Emily Chan in a closely contested game.
In the level doubles, Izzy paired up with Sussex partner Robyn Haysom for the first time, the girls winning an easy first game before moving on to defeat the #2 seeds from Oxfordshire in 2 ends for a place in the semi-finals where they defeated Devon’s Learna Herkes and Welsh player Aimie Whiteman in 2 gruelling sets 21-19 21-19.
With the tournament having run over time, the girls had to go straight back on for the final against top seeds Maisie Marriott & Bronwynn Ready where they lost out in straight sets, taking home a silver medal and for Izzy, an unbeaten record of reaching the finals of the level doubles in 3 out of 3 U19 events played this season!
Sunday 4th was the rearranged fixture against Cheshire previously snowed off before Xmas , a long drive for the team and parents but worth it.
The match was won easily 17-3 with mixed doubles all going easily to Leicester then all girls games dispatched quickly in two games apart from a couple. The boys proved more tricky as their first boy was a very strong experienced player who proved hard to avoid in the men’s doubles giving Cheshire 2 out of 4 in men’s and a singles win.
Saturday 27th January Under 11 Warwickshire Bronze
Today was the turn of the Leicestershire littlies – Matilda, Sylvie, Katie, Lola, Quinn, George, Ollie and Jonty all taking part. First up was singles…..
In the girls singles, Katie, Lola and Sylvie all made it through to the top half of the draw going into the knockout stage, with Sylvie making it through to the quarter finals. Matilda had a very tough box but managed to come away as the winner of the consolation draw
Boys singles saw Quinn, George and Ollie all going through to the top half of the draw. They all played amazingly well but unfortunately Ollie lost his game in the last 16 with Quinn making it through to the quarter finals. George played round 1 and 2 fantastically, beating the number 5/8 seed in round 2 to make it through to the quarter finals. Up against a young lad who had beaten the other 5/8 seed but came through to win 11-8 11-5 and through to the semis. We always knew this was going to be a tough one playing the number 2 seed and someone who was a year older than George. Final score was 11-8 13-11. It was a fantastic game and George was more than happy to come away with his first ever medal in his first national tournament.
Later in the day the team played doubles and mixed and they all played out of their skins and showed that Leicestershire are the ones to watch. Well done everyone!