Leicestershire Women’s Stage 2 Inter-County Match Report

On Saturday 12th March Leicestershire Women’s team travelled to Duffield for the second stage of the Inter-County Competition. After narrowly finishing third in the first stage back in November, Leicester were playing to avoid relegation in this round. However, Durham and Cleveland had withdrawn from the group which meant that they would be the relegated team and took the pressure off the remaining teams. With all of the teams competing being depleted of players mean’t that any team could take the win.
Leicestershire’s first match was against Derbyshire, despite their number 1 being a top female professional Leicestershire still managed a 3-2 win. No guesses where one of the losses came from!
First on was Sally Hurman who last played a County match many years ago. Her opponent Molly Tomlinson a developing junior. After a nervy start Sally lost the first game 11-9, she then found her game and took the next two games 11-7, 11-9. Unfortunately Sally couldn’t take the fourth losing 11-8 but had a very close fifth game but lost out 11-6. Two valuable points for Leicestershire none the less. Sally Jee returning to the Leicester team after a few seasons grace also returned to her winning ways. after a close first game Sally was one down losing it 11-8 but the second game was the match decided which Sally fought hard for and took 14-12. She continued the battle to take the third game 12-10 and completed the match 3-1 with an 11-7 in the fourth. With the Match score at one a piece,  Sophie Wylde had an up and down match but despite the close game scores she always looked in control. Sophie took the first game 11-5 but narrowly missed the second game losing 15-13 but came back to take the remaining two games 11-4 and 12-10. Sara Matharu also returning to the team after a couple of seasons out took to the court to play Lesley Sturgess, historically they have always had close matches frequently going to five. This match looked like a similar encounter, Sara took the first game 11-8 but narrowly missed the second game losing 12-10. Sara reversed the score to take the third game 12-10 and take a 2-1 lead. The fifth game was close up to six all before Sara took the game 11-6 avoiding a fifth game, phew! Despite the surprise of Millie Tomlinson playing at number one she was gracious to concede four points taking the match 11-1, 11-3, 11-1. They were a well earned four points!! Leicestershire won 3-2.
The second match against Worcester followed straight on and despite some tough games from the first match Leicestershire won 5-0.
Sally Hurman again lost the first game 11-9 but  comfortably took the next three 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 for a 3-1 victory. Sally Jee faced a multiple National Champion in Bett Dryhurst but managed to respond to Bett’s accuracy winning 3-0, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9. Sophie looked like she in for a long match after narrowly losing her first game 11-9 but she played great squash and took the next three games, 12-10, 11-1, 11-8 winning 3-1. Sara also looked like she might be in for a battle too losing her first game 11-8  but held on in the second game to win 11-9 and take the next two games 11-5 and 11-3, another 3-1 win. Rachel managed to take all three games by hanging in winning 11-7, 12-10, 15-13. Giving Leicestershire the 5-0 victory.
Leicestershire will remain in Division one for next season and hope to be playing for promotion at next seasons stage 2.
A huge thank you to Sally Hurman for returning to the County stage after a long absence (I think you’ve got the bug back!) and playing great squash. Thank you to Sally Jee who has been a reliable team player for Leicestershire for a few years. Also a big thank you to Sophie who played amazing in both matches despite being in the middle of her finals. Welcome back Sara, you have been missed.
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