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!
Saturday 6th January saw the first tournaments back after the Christmas and New Year break and the Warwickshire U19 Bronze gave Izzy Pike & Jess Rodgers a chance to build on their 2017 achievements.
With mixed up first it was early success for Izzy with Devon partner Owen Waters, justifying their 3/4 seeding with bronze medals; they tackled their semi-final with determination but were unable to overcome top seeds Brandon Adams & Elizabeth Hambling.
With the girls teaming up once again in the women’s doubles and with a tough draw in their box, they had to play at their best to defeat Yorkshire rivals Romilly Calvert & Lucy Walker and Megan Brierley & Mia Kirk, both in 3 close ends. They then dispatched Middlesex’s Marr sisters in a much easier semi final 21-13 21-13 for a place in the final which was to be against Worcestershire’s Elizabeth Hambling & Buckinghamshire’s Anchal Garg.
After playing brilliantly to take the first end 21-17 the Leicestershire girls faced a fightback from their very experienced opponents who came back strongly to take the next 2 ends for the gold – but another excellent silver medal for the Team Leicestershire girls nonetheless!
As the new season begins in earnest, the first U19 bronze event of the year saw several of the older Team Leics players make the trip to Cheltenham on Sunday 17th September, including Eve Dale, Tom Cowperthwaite, Marcus Kilby, Izzy Pike and Jess Rodgers.
With singles up first, Tom showed early season form by winning his box easily before overcoming the top seed in a very close fought quarter-final. In a tough semi, Tom just lost out to the #3 seed but a well-earned bronze medal nonetheless. In the ladies singles it was a similar story for Jess Rodgers who won her box without dropping a set before being knocked out in the quarters in the closest of games against the #2 seed.
With mixed doubles next, Izzy Pike with her scratch Devon partner won their box easily but were unable to overcome a solid Sussex pair in the quarter-finals losing in the 3rd set to 17. Tom and partner Maisie went one better; having won their box they progressed straight to the semi-finals where they lost the closest of matches to the Sussex pair 22-24 23-25 but another bronze medal for Tom! However, Eve Dale with regular Lancs partner Danny had no such trouble, storming their way through the draw with Eve dominating proceedings at the net and powering their way to the gold medal without dropping a set.
With just the level doubles left to play, Izzy & Jess beat the #2 seeds to comfortably win their box without dropping a set. Having dispatched their semi-final opponents in similar fashion, the final was an almost all-Leicestershire affair, facing Eve in her second final of the day, although today having to play with a new partner after her usual partner had to drop out. In a tight and very tense final, Izzy and Jess used their teamwork well to take the win and the gold medal! Team Leics players headed home having made a great start to the season with a tally of 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals.
Saturday 19th January saw a cohort of older Team Leics juniors make the short trip to Warwick for the U19 Bronze event.
In the mixed doubles, Cameron Collins and Wembley Prince took gold with Cameron also taking gold in the boys’ doubles with partner Ryan King and Wembley going on to repeat her gold medal win in the girls’ doubles with Ella Haines – a clean sweep for the Leicestershire players in the 3 doubles events.