Summer County Cup 2018: Suffolk Men and Surrey Ladies crowned champions
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From Monday 23 to Friday 27 July, 44 counties across seven groups rallied together for Summer County Cup.
Hosted at 13 sun-soaked grass court venues up and down the nation, the 123-year-old doubles-only tournament attracted some of Britain’s best county players, including none other than five-time Grand Slam champion Jamie Murray. The world No.13 followed in his mum’s footsteps as he dropped down to The Northern in Manchester for one day to represent the North of Scotland…
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester also enjoyed a slice of the action as she visited Devonshire Park in Eastbourne, which welcomed county players in Group 1 for the premier level of the competition.
The Duchess, Honorary President of the LTA, took time out to watch the action unfold and met defending champions Hertfordshire Men and Kent Ladies, along with the Head Groundsman Danny Negus and first-time Group 1 Referee Peter Grimsdale.
Throughout the week, six men’s and six women’s teams competed on the pristine grass courts, with the pride of representing their county to play for. The Duchess was on hand to offer words of encouragement to some of these teams, who were all fighting for the chance to avoid relegation and ultimately become county champions.
The competition concluded emphatically for Surrey Ladies who defeated Warwickshire to win the event for a record 51st time, while Suffolk Men made history by becoming first-time champions. The Men's event proved incredibly tight with just two rubbers separating Suffolk and Essex, and then just one rubber between Essex and Hertfordshire who came second and third respectively.
Check out all Summer County Cup results throughout the week here.
Who said what?
Suffolk Men’s Captain Jeremy Cowley
“As a team we have made history. For a small county such as ourselves to get to Group One for the 2017 event and stay there and then win the Championships in 2018 is fantastic. I compare it to Leicester City winning the Premier League!
“It’s been a great team effort - from the players to our sponsors such as Stringers’ World and Yonnex, to our supporters and the county. We all look forward to the 2019 event and defending our title.”
Surrey Ladies’ Captain Mandy Spicer
“I am delighted. Having nearly been relegated last year, to come bouncing back and win is a great team effort and I am so proud of the girls.”
Tournament Director Julie Piper
“There have been some hard fought battles at all 14 groups. My thanks go to all the venues, officials and, of course, players for their continued support of County Cup tennis. Overall it has been a great week of tennis.
“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 I am sure there are always plenty of laughs on and off the court!”
- Over the course of the week, a county plays a maximum of 45 rubbers (nine per day) so if a player competes in every rubber, it's possible for them to win 15/15. Hats off to Hertfordshire Men's Neil Bamford and Essex Ladies' Aimee Gibson who both played in Group 1 and joined the 15/15 club after winning all of their rubbers! Check out the roll of honour here.
- 2017 saw the introduction of the County Cup Race so counties have an extra incentive to perform to the best of their ability. Valuable points are tallied up at County Cup events throughout the year and as it stands, Surrey currently top the leader's board with Middlesex and Kent hot on their heels!
- Kent Men, South Wales Men, Middlesex Ladies and Yorkshire Ladies finished top of Group 2 which means they will be promoted to Group 1 in 2019.
Want more tennis this summer?
There's still time to sign up for the County Championships, running throughout the final week of August in each county across Great Britain. There are singles and doubles events for players agesd from 8 to 88, with fun, social activities that run alongside the main tournament - from family doubles competitions to well-deserved BBQs! Sign up here.