THERE were contrasting fortunes for the Warwickshire men’s and women’s sides on the final day of the AEGON Summer County Cup at Eastbourne.
The newly-promoted men, who had been tipped to struggle in Group One, against all the odds finished as runners-up to Hertfordshire by winning their last four matches in style after a whitewash defeat to Herts on the opening day.
They thrashed strugglers Dorset 7-2 to bring the week to a triumphant conclusion.
First pair, Coventry’s Maniel Bains and Steven Lee, bizarrely lost the only two rubbers of the match to the top two Dorset pairs, while the other pairings, Elliot Barnwell and Andrew Fitzpatrick at two and thirds Nathan Rooney and James Southwell, each won three out of three.
Men’s captain Gary Naughton from Wolston was delighted at his young side’s performances.
“They’ve done great this week,” he said. “Elliot and Andrew have combined really well together and Nathan and James have been absolutely consistent and professional, winning far more rubbers than anyone would expect a third pair to do.
“It all bodes really well for next year – and, who knows, we could even be challenging Herts for the title.”
Sadly, the depleted women’s side were relegated after losing 7-2 to the powerful Buckinghamshire line-up that included their unbeaten first pair Julia Bone and Jemima Hayward. The partnership won three out of three to retain their unblemished record, on a rain-affected day when the matches were reduced to short-set encounters and the dead rubbers were decided on a championship tie-break.
With only one win, against fellow strugglers Leicestershire, Warwickshire looked down and out at the start of the day and Bucks were far too strong and experienced for them. Highlights of the week, however, were the showing of rising stars Jess Jackson and Hannah James who combined superbly and look outstanding prospects for next year when the side hopes to regroup and to bounce back into Group One.