The 121st Summer County Cup finished as it started under unbroken blue, sunny skies as Kent Men and Surrey Ladies lifted the respective titles at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne.
Kent were challenged all the way by Hertfordshire and on Friday morning either team could have lifted the trophy. Kent were quick off the mark on the day which led to a 5 – 1 lead by mid-afternoon, resulting in Kent taking the Summer County Cup title for the 7th time in the county’s history.
Meanwhile, there was tough competition at the bottom of the table as last year’s champions, Derbyshire, were having a hard fought battle with last year’s runners-up and current County Cup Race Champions, Surrey, to see who would stay in the elite Group One for the 2017 Event. Going into the final rubber, it was 3 – 3, with all 3 matches in the remaining rubber going to 3 sets. Surrey clinched the win in the end with a final score of 5-4 which ended another excellent week of tennis
The Ladies event was dominated by Surrey who lifted the title for a 50th time having won all 5 matches with the loss of just 4 rubbers. Newly promoted Kent had a fantastic week of performance and were placed second in the Ladies Event.
Having lifted the trophy for the 2nd time, Ladies Team Captain Mandy Spicer said, “It’s been a fantastic week on and off the court. They are a great bunch of girls and there has never been a dull moment! Each and every one of them has contributed towards our success. I’m particularly proud of Jasmine Asghar and Candy Reid for achieving 15 rubbers out of 15 especially as they had never met before this week!”
LTA Tournament Director, Julie Piper, said, “We have once again had a fantastic week of tennis, not only at the Group 1 Event at Eastbourne, but all groups across the country. I am always amazed at the commitment some of the players have, some putting their professional or coaching careers on hold for a week, to turn out for the pride of representing their county. It is a tough week of tennis for all players but is played in good spirits and there are always plenty of laughs on and off the court!”
This doubles only tournament is played at 13 different grass court venues around the country and is the oldest tournament on the domestic calendar. For many of the players competing, it will be the pinnacle of their tennis playing careers.
The counties being relegate to Group 2 for the 2017 Event are; Derbyshire and South Wales Men and Buckinghamshire and Norfolk Ladies.
The counties promoted to Group 1 for next year’s Event are; Middlesex and Suffolk Men and Hertfordshire and Middlesex ladies. Middlesex Men are returning to the ‘elite group’ for the first time in 30 years and so no doubt they will be anxious to make up for lost time!