Stage I - 23rd October 2011
CONGRATULATIONS to all those who played in the intercounties at West Herts on Sunday!!
With several key players absent and many more unavailable it was a rather makeshift team that went with some trepidation to West Herts. We were 5 at least with two Henley players being available at the last moment.
An early start at 10:00 saw Oxfordshire take on Bucks and first up was Joe Brooke at 1 comfortably beating Joe Yerrell 3-0 (11/9,11/8 & 11/2).
Sam Boughton at 5 had a hard first game losing 1-3 (12/14,11/5,6/11 & 5/11).
The cavalry from Henley then arrived but unfortunately they were not quite in their stride with Richie Hopkins losing 0-3 at 3 (4/11,3/11 & 6/11) and Felix Andrews being narrowly beaten 0-3 (7/112,9/11 & 11/13).
Although the result was 1-4 we felt that we could have scraped a win with a little more fortune.
Next up before lunch was Berkshire. Sam had an excellent game at 5 narrowly losing 1-3 (11/9,5/11,9/11&9/11) and showing great promise for a 14 year old. On the other court, Richie was getting into his stride having now warmed up and prevailed in a marathon game 6/11,11/5,9/11,11/4 & 11/8. Ritchie's authority on the court and with the marker was a joy to behold.
Felix now had his eye in and showed a great touch to win comfortably 11/6,11/3 & 11/5 whilst on the other court Joe continued his unbeaten run at intercounties by winning comfortably 11/3,11/2 & 11/2.
We had won a match! Duncan was now on, desperate to maintain the side's momentum and kept us all on the edge of our seats in winning 17/19, 11/5, 12/10 & 11/2.
We were now getting carried away. If we could beat Hertfordshire we might go through to the finals but unfortunately the lack of match fitness was starting to tell and Richie could not match his opponent's accuracy and went down 0-3 (8/11,9/11 & 2/11). Felix was similarly overwhelmed 6/11, 3/11 & 2/11.
The excitement was not over though. Sam triumphed in his final match winning 9/11,9/11,11/7, 11/9 & 11/8 against an opponent who could not match his determination and fitness.
Joe then had his hardest match against Angus Gillams who is ranked 8 in England. In a hard fought game Joe won the first two games 11/8 & 11/8 and just when we thought it was all over at 7/2 Angus managed to pull himself back into the game before Joe eventually won it 12/10.
A brief glimmer of hope and a chance to win again then. Unfortunately Duncan had the toughest game against a hard hitting Laurence Green and was never able to test him despite throwing himself around the court. The result 0-3 (3/11,5/11 & 7/11)
All the boys played their best and fought really well for their county, coming a very creditable 3rd.
- Hertfordshire 56 points
- Buckinghamshire 37 points
- Oxfordshire 28 points
- Berkshire 12 points
Many thanks to our hosts at West Herts. A very good venue and we were able to watch the Man U and Man City game at lunchtime.