Counties produce top tennis at Devonshire Park

County Tennis winners Kent
County Tennis winners Kent

Kent men and Buckinghamshire women have been crowned Aegon Summer County Cup champions in the tightest finals week in over 30 years.

The tournament now in its 119th year sees the country’s best county tennis players battle it out for the most prestigious honour in British amateur tennis.

Buckinghamshire women went into the final day with maximum points having won all four of their earlier encounters. Only a loss to their final opponents and closest title contenders, Hertfordshire, could ruin their chances of retaining the title they won for the first time in the county’s history a year ago.

Speaking after the final win, Bucks captain Alison Longfield said, “We are over the moon! The week has been really tough on the girls with such a high standard of opposition and the weather has been amazing but the heat has been hard at times. To get back-to-back wins is new ground for us and with such a strong field this year we came in to this with guarded expectations. A lot of people in our county got very excited after the win last year so I’ve no idea what celebrations they will have in store for us this year.”

Claire Webb and Helen Lawson were amongst the stars of the Buckinghamshire team. The pair lost only two of their 14 rubbers over the week.

Longfield added: “It’s a real team effort and we managed to get everyone in the team at least one rubber. It’s great for continuity that we have so many players returning and wanting to represent Bucks. It’s exciting for next year! We’re all off for ice-creams now.”

Kent men were crowned champions after the second round of rubbers on the final day after they took an unassailable lead against South Wales and extinguished any chance Surrey had of retaining the crown.

It was against reigning champions that Kent made their ambitions clear on the first day of the tournament. An emphatic 3-6 win set the tone for the week and the 2014 champions remained undefeated for the duration of the tournament.

Andy Burgoyne, the Kent men’s captain said, “It’s a great moment for us all. This is something we take seriously and to get the win for the first time since 2007 is a big deal for us. We have had 45-year-olds and 15-year-olds playing for us this week.

“Apart from anything it shows what a great game tennis is, for all ages. But it also shows that we have strength in depth and we should be strong contenders for 2015.”

Julie Piper, Tournament Director, speaking after the event said: “It has been another fantastic week here in Eastbourne. It has been one of the closest fought Group 1 events in memory. On Wednesday all, men’s and women’s matches ended 5-4.

“It could not have been closer.”