TENNIS - Warwickshire teams set to begin County Week campaigns - The Leamington Observer

TENNIS - Warwickshire teams set to begin County Week campaigns

Leamington Editorial 24th Jul, 2023   0

COVENTRY, Warwick and Leamington players will be central figures as Warwickshire’s tennis sides begin their respective County Week campaigns in group three.

Newly-promoted Warwickshire are led by captain Gavin Henderson who will hope his team can consolidate their position in a strong group following an impressive run up through the divisions in recent years.

Warwick Boat Club rackets manager, Henderson, has again called on Warwick’s former national under-16 champion Harry Lazell who looks set to start at second pair with Solihull’s Alex Griffiths.

Leamington’s rapidly-improving teenager Ferran Redza, aged 16, who plays for Beechwood Club in Coventry, makes his debut, as does Luca Pow, the national 18-and-under champion.

Pow will partner tour player Mason Recci at first pair with much riding on their performances at Frinton-on-Sea.

An ever-present in recent years, Stratford’s Cameron Malik is also in the squad.

Coventry’s big-serving Richard Partridge and Simon Ferguson, who both coach at Four Oaks, will add their experience to the young side which faces the highly-fancied Buckinghamshire team on day one.

Henderson said: “We’re really pleased to have won several promotions over recent years and as group three is so strong, we’re looking to consolidate and give our youngsters some useful experience at this level.

“Bucks and West of Scotland look tough sides to beat but there are no easy matches in this group.”

By contrast, women’s captain Katie Shaw saw her team relegated last year after the final day’s play was rained off with Warwickshire on the verge of securing the last victory needed to secure their survival in group two.

Women’s tour doubles specialist Soumeya Anane, from Coventry, a doubles specialist adds experience to the side which includes several newcomers including Coventry coach Darja Maslova, a former top Latvian junior.

Also on the team is Exeter University medical student Mary Hoggard, aged 19, and Michelle Dzjachangirova, aged 21, a tour player who trains at the Shrewsbury Centre plus Solihull’s Savannah Yardley joins her sister Summer.

And Tamara Malazonia and Marina Beckinsale, known for their fighting qualities will also strengthen the side. Lois Porter, aged 18, from Balsall Common, and her partner, 21-year-old Madison Rumney, who combined well last year, look likely to continue their partnership.

Shaw said: “It was really frustrating to be relegated last year, thanks to bad weather on the last couple of days but I think our young side is well capable of bouncing straight back up to group two.

“Michelle and Darja are really experienced and they will certainly strengthen the side – and our youngsters Mary, Madison, Lois and Marina will learn a lot from the week.

“We play Lincolnshire on day one and we’ll be looking for a big win to set the tone for the rest of the week, as Cambridgeshire and Somerset are likely to be strong.”

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