Victory seals Brooks ladies’ place in Bournemouth finals

Victory seals Brooks ladies’ place in Bournemouth finals

Victory seals Brooks ladies’ place in Bournemouth finals

First published in Sport

Holcombe Brook’s Aegon National Team Tennis ladies team booked a place in the Bournemouth finals in July after a home victory in the play-offs against Nottingham club Lady Bay last Sunday.

Handicapped by Yasmin Clarke’s unavailability and new rules about qualification, Brook captain Tony Lawson was forced to play teenager Laurie Clark for her first ever game at this level, and the 16-year-old from Horwich did not disappoint.

Nicola George was first off court after comfortably winning the battle of the number three players. Jessica Ren at two was far more seriously challenged, after taking the opening set easily 6-3 she had a titanic struggle to eventually win a see-saw second set 8-6 in the tie-break.

The pattern of the Ren match was followed in the top players battle, the Brooks Anna Fitzpatrick won her opening set against Emily Crowe comfortably and then took a much tighter second set to win 6-2, 7-5.

That left just the young Clark on court, playing an opponent, Nina Luggi, ranked two levels above her.

Her match had started badly for her as she lost the first set 6-0, but by the time the other singles matches were finished she had levelled the match one set all.

And the youngster was unfazed by the added focus on her match as she reeled off a succession of clean winners to take the final set 6-1 and seal the tie in the Brooks favour 4-0, with no need to play the doubles.

A delighted Lawson said: “I did not expect a scoreline like that.

“I was so pleased with Laurie. We have without doubt unearthed a star for the future.”

Holcombe Brook and Essex club, David Lloyd Raines Park, are the only two clubs in the country to qualify for both the ladies and men’s finals weekend starting on Friday, July 10 in Bournemouth.

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