Women’s Over-40 Intercounty Report 2009-2010
For the first time, the Northumbria Women’s Over-40 team reached the finals of the Intercounty competition. The campaign started back in October with the Stage One matches against Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire, hosted by Yorkshire, at Chapel Allerton. Unfortunately Buckinghamshire were unable to field a team on that occasion so 20 points were awarded to both Yorkshire and Northumbria and the remaining match between ourselves and Yorkshire went ahead. Yorkshire, the current champions of this event, duly proved themselves to be worthy of that title, fielding an extremely strong team, and securing a 5–0 victory without conceding a game to Northumbria.
1 Nicky Horn bt Eleanor Bowles 9-4, 9-3, 9-2 3-0
2 Andrea Santa-Marie bt Chris Park 9-2, 9-4, 9-3 3-0
3 Paula Arrowsmith bt Dawn Ward 9-1, 10-8, 9-3 3-0
4 Julie Field bt Lesley Vitty 9-1, 9-0, 9-0 3-0
5 Helen Townend bt Sue Hoburn 9-7, 9-6, 9-1 3-0
Stage 2 was hosted by Northumbria at The Northumberland Club, and we welcomed Cheshire and Cambridgeshire for our final set of group matches, knowing that one victory was likely to mean avoiding relegation from the premier group and 2 victories could mean a place in the finals.
Northumbria started the first match against Cambridgeshire, with convincing 3-0 wins by Sue Beecroft at 5th string, closely followed by Lesley Vitty at 4th string. Meanwhile Dawn Ward was playing a marathon match at 3rd string which could have gone either way, but fortunately fell to Dawn in a nail-biting finish, 10-9 in both the fourth and fifth ends. Neither Eleanor Bowles or Chris Park could follow in their team-mates footsteps, losing 3-0 and 3-1 respectively. However the result was 3-2 victory to Northumbria, and 15 more points in the bag.
1 Eleanor Bowles lst to Julie Dolman 3-9, 8-10, 7-9 0-3
2 Chris Park lst to Nikki Mounter 2-9, 9-4, 2-9, 6-9 1-3
3 Dawn Ward bt Anne Walton 7-9, 9-6, 1-9, 10-9, 10-9 3-2
4 Lesley Vitty bt Nicky Hastings 9-3, 9-0, 9-7 3-0
5 Sue Beecroft bt Rebecca Moore 9-7, 9-4, 9-4 3-0
Cambridgeshire then played Cheshire, resulting in a 5-0 victory for Cheshire.
In the last match of the day Northumbria pulled out all the stops in their final group match against Cheshire. Another solid start by Sue and Lesley brought 3-0 victories once again, and once again, Dawn was having another marathon match, this time clinching victory 10-8 in the 5th, having been 0-2 down. Eleanor was again unable to pick up a point against the top Cheshire player, but in the final rubber at 2nd string Chris managed to secure a 3-0 win, giving a final scoreline of 4-1.
1 Eleanor Bowles lst to Diana Parums 1-9, 1-9, 5-9 0-3
2 Chris Park bt Polly Woodward 9-5, 9-7, 9-5 3-0
3 Dawn Ward bt Jane Law 7-9, 6-9, 9-3, 9-0, 10-8 3-2
4 Lesley Vitty bt Liz West 10-9, 9-7, 9-4 3-0
5 Sue Beecroft bt Rachael Sutcliffe 9-6, 9-0, 9-0 3-0
Having played all our group matches and, having accumulated 52 points, we had to wait until the final group matches were contested at the beginning of January before our final position in the group was confirmed. Unfortunately the poor weather at the turn of the year meant the final group matches could not all be played in time, and it wasn’t until a few days before the finals weekend that it was confirmed that we were runners-up in the northern group behind Yorkshire.
The finals weekend was played at Nottinghamshire Squash Club on 27/28 February. Our team was strengthened by the return from injury of Carol Page at number 1, and, as on this occasion Dawn was unavailable to travel with the team, a ‘rookie’, Michelle Robertson, from Northern Squash Club was brought into the team. In our semi-final, Northumbria were drawn against Surrey, the winners of the southern group, and previous holders of the title. They proved far to strong and took the match 5-0, though Lesley came close to taking her rubber.
1 Carol Page lst to Isabelle Tweedle 1-9, 0-9, 6-9 0-3
2 Eleanor Bowles lst to Claire Baker 5-9, 5-9, 0-9 0-3
3 Chris Park lst to Tammy Bennett 3-9, 1-9, 4-9 0-3
4 Lesley Vitty lst to Kim Ricks 1-9, 9-5, 9-7, 5-9, 1-9 2-3
5 Michelle Robertson lst to Jo Robinson 2-9, 3-9, 7-9 0-3
In the other semi-final Yorkshire beat Kent 4–1.
In our 3-4 playoff match against Kent, we were more hopeful of a closer result, possibly even a victory, but once again our optimism was short-lived, and we went down 4-1, with Carol taking the only rubber for Northumbria and doing so very decisively. Eleanor had a close tussle with her opponent but could not take the fifth end.
1 Carol Page bt Karen Hume 9-7, 9-5, 9-1 3-0
2 Eleanor Bowles lst to Sue Giles 10-8, 8-10, 9-6, 6-9, 5-9,2-3
3 Chris Park lst to Angie White 8-10, 7-9, 9-5, 3-9 1-3
4 Lesley Vitty lst to Becky Czuczman 0-9, 3-9, 1-9 0-3
5 Michelle Robertson lst to Cathy Henley 9-2, 6-9, 0-9, 1-9 1-3
All eight players who represented the team throughout the campaign are to commended for their gutsy performances and team spirit, which took them to the finals as one of the top four teams nationally. Well done, everyone!
PS Surrey beat Yorkshire 3-2 in a thrilling final to take the Women’s Over-40 title.