Forza U15 Irish Open

Forza U15 Irish Open 2017

On the weekend  of September 1st-2nd, Sophie Watson travelled to Lisburn Racket Club in Ireland for the first tournament of the year.

She reached the quarter finals in both singles and mixed but went one better in the level doubles, beating the #1 seeds in the semi final to go through to the final where she and partner Megan Brierley from Notts narrowly lost out 21-18 in the 3rd end. A great performance to achieve a silver medal again in an international event.

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Sophie & Megan
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Gold & Silver Medallists

Eve celebrates end of exams with gold!

Having finished her GCSE’s the week before, Eve Dale travelled north to the Thornby Pavilion Leisure Centre for the Durham U18 Open and the last tournament of the season.

Playing mixed doubles today with Danny Hyde from Lancashire, Eve progressed through to the semi-finals after 2 straight sets wins in the group stages before booking a place in the final after a close 3 set game against the seconds seeds Richards and Hooper.

Despite losing the first end 21-17 to top seeds Ryan Curtis and Megan Hassall, Eve & Danny came back strongly to take the second 21-19 before coming out victors in the 3rd and deciding end 24-22 to win gold once again!

Congratulations Eve!

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Eve & Danny


U16 Open Gold for Jess & Izzy!

Fresh from last weekend’s successful campaign with the Team Leicestershire U16’s at the Shires League Finals, Izzy Pike & Jess Rodgers made their way to the Cheshire U16 Open to play in one of the last tournaments of a very busy and successful season for the pair.

Jess played her way out of her singles group including an excellent 21-10 win against the seed, Chloe King, before earning a place in the semi final with another good win to 18 against Worcestershire’s Aditi Bhat. Warwickshire’s Mia Kirk proved too strong in the semi-final but it was a bronze medal for Jess, and with the Leicestershire pair seeded #2 and on the opposite side of the doubles draw to Kirk and her partner Catherine Wong, maybe a chance to even the score later in the tournament?

As expected, Izzy & Jess progressed through without a loss to the final where they indeed were to face the Warwickshire pair. Having played each other twice before with both games being very close and the tally being a win apiece, both pairs were expecting another tight match. However, the Leicestershire girls grabbed control of this match from the very first point, with excellent service returns and finding the spaces around the court being a feature of their game. The Warwickshire girls were  effectively shut out of the game, with the final scoreline being an easy victory 21-8 and another gold medal for Izzy & Jess!

Izzy & Jess

U16’s take on Shires League Finals!

Having earned a place on Finals Day by beating an excellent Hampshire side by the narrowest of margins in the playoffs, Team Leicestershire’s U16’s travelled to Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury on Sunday 14th May with a determination to prove worthy of their place in this season’s final 8….

The team:

Sameer Chenia, Harry Clare, Rowan Clark, Joe Goodenough

Jess Allen, Tamsin Betts, Izzy Pike, Jess Rodgers

With the top 4 counties of Surrey, Bucks, Warwickshire and Essex playing one of the bottom 4 in the first round, the team knew they would be in for a torrid time in the first rubber! Having drawn Essex, it was time to make a start. Typically strong in the mixed doubles, Leicestershire flew into an early lead with Harry & Izzy just squeezing past their opponents 21-20, closely followed by Rowan & Jess and Joe & Tamsin both winning to 17 for an early 3-1 lead. Moving on to singles, Harry and Joe both worked to earn wins and although only Tamsin would manage a win for the girls, Leicestershire stayed in touch to trail by 5-7 going into the last 8 level doubles games.

With the strong Essex boys taking 3 of the 4 boys games, Essex only had to take one of the 4 remaining girls encounters for the outright win. Jess & Tamsin just edged past the Essex 1st pair 21-20 while Jess & Izzy dispatched the 2nd pair 21-16 to close the gap to 8-10. As the levels reversed, Izzy & Jess worked hard to keep touch with the Essex top pair, knowing they had to win to keep Leicestershire in the rubber. Could they do it? Yes they could! A 21-18 win leaving Jess & Tamsin with just the 2nd pair to beat, which they did with their usual calm demeanour and superb defence 21-18.

As the teams gathered round the courts at 10-10, calculators worked furiously on both sides and it was a while before it could be confirmed: a win for Essex by just 2 points! Although disappointed to have lost so narrowly, the team can be proud to have chased one of the top counties so close and only missing out on a top 4 finish by 2 points!

Leicestershire 10   Essex 10 (Essex win by 2 points)

With Cheshire confirmed as our next opponents, the team were determined to capitalise on an excellent performance in Round 1. Once again, they flew out of the blocks, winning 3 of the 4 mixed with Harry & Izzy, Rowan & Jess and Joe & Tamsin recording easy victories. Although Sameer and Harry and Jess & Izzy were unable to overcome their top 2 singles opponents, both Rowan & Joe and Jess & Tamsin worked hard for wins, with Rowan and Joe doing particularly well to beat their more highly graded Cheshire counterparts. Going into the level doubles, this left Leicestershire leading 7-5 and needing to win 4 of the remaining 8 games to win outright.

With both Harry & Rowan and Sameer & Joe winning one apiece, could the girls do the same? Yes they could! In fact, they cleaned up all 4 of their level doubles for a good Leicestershire victory:

Leicestershire  13   Cheshire  7

The last rubber of the day was a playoff for 5th/6th place against a Yorkshire side unlucky to find themselves outside the top 4 going into the Finals. The team knew they would need to put in a big final effort if they were to push themselves ahead of a side which had already beaten them during the group stage and which was at full strength after having fielded a slightly weaker team during the last encounter.

Once again, mixed doubles gave Leicestershire a positive start with both Harry & Izzy and Rowan & Jess putting in excellent wins for a 2-2 scoreline going into the singles. With Yorkshire fielding 8 very strong singles players, Leicestershire were unable to put a win on the board, leaving them 2-10 down and Yorkshire only needing to win 1 of the last 8 level doubles games to win outright. It was too big a mountain to climb this time. Harry & Rowan wrested their game from the 2nd Yorkshire pair while both Jess & Tamsin and Izzy & Jess managed a win apiece but it wasn’t enough. The final score:

Leicestershire  5   Yorkshire  15

So Team Leicestershire ended U16’s Finals Day and the 2016/17 Shires League season in 6th place, a fantastic achievement for a team which had to do it the hard way after facing both Warwickshire and Yorkshire in the group round followed by another very tough match against Hampshire in the playoffs. And but for those 2 points, they would have achieved a stunning upset to earn them a top 4 finish alongside powerhouse counties such as Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Warwickshire! Congratulations to all the players!

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Team Leicestershire U16 Shires League Finalists: Rowan, Joe, Sameer, Harry, Jess A, Jess R, Tamsin & Izzy

Medals at the Primary Midway!

12th March 2017

Following round 1 of the Midway, Leicestershire started the 2nd round in 2nd place. The players rose to the challenge beating Cheshire in match one 8 – 2 with some clinical play in the mixed doubles followed by some outstanding performances in the singles to take a commanding lead and a good win.

Nottinghamshire again gave us a great challenge in a very even and competitive match. The mixed was shared with even points difference. In the singles, Baptiste dug deep to come from behind and take a well-earned singles victory whilst still relatively new to the sport. Fallon put on a commanding display. Things didn’t fare so well in the doubles with three pairs, although playing hard and fighting for points, just missed out. Big and thoroughly deserved win from Matilda and Sansha kept the match to 5 – 5 with Leics taking the spoils by just 11 points. A credit to all for keeping their heads up and taking everything they could.

Our next match was against Yorkshire 1 who, like Notts, had a real go at us. We had a very positive start with Will & Fallon and Baptiste & Carly getting solid wins in the mixed. Carly took the only win in the singles bringing the match to a nail-biting conclusion again in the doubles. Will & Mitchell notched up a very strong win to 5 and Fallon & Sylvie beat a strong Yorkshire pair to 16. The other two pairs, Archie & Baptiste and Sansha & Matilda, both had very tough games knowing that every point mattered. Playing with real heart they picked up enough points enabling us to win the match by a mere 5 points. A real team effort.

Our final match was against the round one leaders Warwickshire. Up to this point, Warwickshire had only dropped 2 games across their first three matches so even a 10 – 0 win could not knock them off the top spot. Could we take more games from them than the others? Could we better our 6 – 4 loss from round one? Game on! Mixed – Mitchell & Carly took a good win 21-8. Archie & Sylvie battled against a very good and experienced pair, narrowly losing out 15-21. Singles – Will finally got the better of his Warwickshire nemesis in an exhibition worthy match with both boys on top form, with Will taking the game 21-17. Carly was clinical beating the very strong Warwickshire singles girl 21-11. Fallon continued playing without fear, took on and got the better of her opponent 21-13. Baptiste took 15 points against a well-established tournament player showing great determination.

Doubles – Will & Mitchell attained their triple in doubles over the Warwickshire pair in what are always close games. Baptiste & Archie had to dig deep against another tournament hardened pair who in the end proved too strong. Up last, the girls doubles. Fallon & Sylvie and Matilda & Sansha (the latter three girls playing up an age group or two) played hard ands with confidence against well-ranked circuit players, earning every point, but were beaten leaving the match at 5 -5, again down to points difference. Unfortunately in this match, we were not able to keep our points difference high enough and we lost by 14 points.

Final result. A great experience and team performance leading to a very well-earned second place and silver medal. Well done Leics U12’s Primary squad – you’ve done yourselves and your county proud.

Report by Adam Sewell, U12 Team Manager

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Primary Midway Team: Archie, Matilda, Mitchell, Sansha, Carly, Sylvie, Fallon, Baptiste & Will


U18’s Go Mad in RIO!

21st and 22nd of January 2017 saw the return of Leicestershire to the prestigious guest list for the York RIO (Railway Institute Open) tournament after being absent for a number of years. With great excitement, and very short notice, a team was assembled and the invitation was accepted much to the delight of John Foster, the tournament organiser. The RIO tournament, fondly known as a ‘mini ICT’, is held over a weekend with all the teams and managers housed for the duration in the Wheatlands Lodge, York.
On Saturday all the teams arrived at the railway institute, there was an introduction and welcome by John Foster and the tournament got underway!
Leicestershire’s first match of the tournament was against Yorkshire! This was a close match with the girls dominating the wins. Leics were 2-1 up after the mixed, Ryan and Eve, Harry and Izzy securing straight set wins. No wins for the boys in the singles, Yorks proving to be too strong, but the girls brought us back into the lead 5-4 with Hritika, Issy and Jess winning all theirs. After the boys doubles the match was all square 6-6, Sameer and Harry took a straight set win against the third pair while Tom and Nikhil, Martin and Ryan lost in close deciding games.  Yorks pushed into the lead after Eve and Hritika lost in the deciding game against the Yorks top girls pair. Ella and Issy went on to win their match making it all square again which left it down to Jess and Izzy to play the deciding rubber for the match……they won it in style in two straight games! 
First win of the tournament against the hosts 8-7………….it was at this point that Leics were told they were going to be ‘barred’ again!!
On a high after the win we then came up against a very strong Surrey side. A team talk by manager Chris and new partnerships announced for this tough match! First up was the mixed, usually our strongest event, however, Tom and Ella fought hard but were overwhelmed by a very strong pair, Martin and Jess put up a good fight but lost in the deciding game against their opponents, Ryan and Eve managed a win in the deciding game against the third pair, giving the team some hope!! Next the boys singles, Nikhil, Sameer and Harry all worked hard but the Surrey boys proved to be too strong. Hritika, Issy and Izzy also had hard games but were unable to overcome their opponents. Surrey had won the match by this time having taken 8 rubbers already but undaunted the team rose to the occasion and played their best, Eve and Jess managed to take one game in their match but lost in the decider. Surrey 14 Leicestershire 1.
Another team talk and new pairings again for our final match of the first day against Hertfordshire. Ryan and Ella took on the first pair and very nearly took the first game 16-18 but were unable to secure a win this time. Martin and Jess, Harry and Izzy also lost their matches against tough opponents. Next up the boys singles, Tom in the top spot, played hard, had a close first game but lost in two, Nikhil won in straight games and Sameer won his in a close fought match winning in the deciding game. Herts were 4-2 up at this point. Girls singles next, Hritika in the top spot came up against a strong opponent and lost in two games, Eve faced their number two girl and won hers in a tight deciding game, Izzy also played a three setter but was beaten in the decider. The match stood at 6-3 to Herts going into the level doubles. Tom and Martin paired up against their number one pair but were beaten in two, Nikhil and Ryan won theirs in the deciding game….now 7-4 to Herts….next up Harry and Sameer took on their third pair, first game went to setting but was lost 19-21, so close, they still fought hard in the second game but lost 12-15. Match was now 8-4 to Herts. Eve and Ella paired up against the first pair but lost in two sets, Hritika and Issy only just lost to their opponents both games 15-17! Jess and Izzy won in straight sets….final score Hertfordshire 10 Leicestershire 5.
After a long day it was back to the hotel for showers, food and an evening of dancing for young and old, some drinking and lots of socialising!!
Sunday morning, after not much sleep ,it was back to the Railway Institute for the next group matches to determine the final positions for the tournament.
Leicestershire were in the second group playing for position 5-8 along with Yorkshire, Lothian and Nottinghamshire. Having already played Yorkshire in the first round we just had two matches to play against Lothian and Nottinghamshire.
We had a great start against Lothian, Martin and Ella, Ryan and Eve winning their mixed, the third mixed was conceded as the Lothian team were short of girls! Tom and Nikhil lost their singles but Sameer came up the rear winning his in style in two straight games against their third boy. Hritika and Issy battled hard but lost theirs and again Lothian had to concede their third as they didn’t have enough girls. Onto the boys doubles….Tom and Martin, Ryan and Nikhil, Harry and Sameer were all triumphant giving Leics enough wins to win the match! Only two girls doubles were played which went Lothian’s way, one conceded,. Final score Leicestershire 9 Lothian 6.
Final match was a local derby against Nottinghamshire, playing for fifth place. We had a great start with Martin and Ella, Ryan and Eve, Harry and Jess winning all their matches in straight sets. Tom stepped up to play their number one boy but he proved to be too strong in the end, although Tom took early leads in both games. Nikhil won his in a thrilling close match, Sameer did the same in three games. Leics 5 Notts 1…..Time for the girls to step up. All three girls, Hritika, Issy and Izzy had close three setters with young Izzy winning hers in the deciding game….Leics 6 Notts 3. Up next was the boys doubles…. Tom and Martin had a close match against the Notts first pair, as did Ryan and Nikhil, Harry and Sameer took theirs to three but just lost out in the decider….the match was all square at 6-6! Up next the girls doubles, Hritika and Ella lost, Eve and Jess won! 7-7….it was all down to the Iszy Duo to retain the honour of the local derby….first game was a close loss 12-15 but they rallied and took the next two games in style to win both 15-7! Final score Leicestershire 8 Nottinghamshire 7.
5th place for Leicestershire. All players received  engraved medals to mark the occasion. Leicestershire won a special award for making the tournament with a full team at very short notice! Martin, Eve, Tom, Ella, Ryan, Nikhil and Issy were all nominated for sportsmanship awards with Eve winning the girls best sportsmanship trophy! 
RIO 2017: Sameer, Tom, Martin, Ryan, Nikhil, Harry, Issy, Jess, Izzy, Eve, Ella & Hritika