New County Team Champs for 2010
Congratulations to Surrey, the new County Team Champions for 2010, following a full day's play at the Letchworth Sports & Tennis Club. Last year's winners, Kent, took the runner-up spot this year, with hosts Hertfordshire finishing third. Middlesex avoided the wooden spoon with their sole victory over the eventual recipients of that particular honour, last year's runner-up, Oxfordshire.
Surrey and Kent therefore carry forward the right to represent England in the next FIR Champions League event - best of luck to all who make it out there.
For a while, it was all in the balance as Surrey played Herts in the final match, with the enticing prospect of a three-way tie and a countback which would have seen Herts well clear on points difference had they won, but it was not to be. Over the 16 disciplines of the four rubbers in that final match, Surrey clambered home by the narrowest margin of any match during the day, just 11 points. The last rubber off the courts was the battle of the titans, with Surrey top dog Jason Granville (world ranked No 16) playing Herts supremo Ed Batson (current English Open title holder). Ed managed to restrict Jason to single figures in the final three disciplines, but the damage had already been done in the table tennis, with Jason playing the best table tennis Ed had ever come up against, according to the post-mortem chitchat, where Jason's consistency and accuracy restricted Ed to only 3 points (all games 15-up).
Huge thanks are due to the smooth organisation on the day of the centre's resident racket sports guru, John Garland; to Dominique Ford for getting the event off the ground and chivvying all the team captains who then struggled valiantly to firstly gather together their teams and then keep them as intact as possible in the run-up to the event - not always easy. Lastly, plaudits go to those willing volunteers from the centre who stood in at very short notice to fill the gaps in a couple of teams - the event would have been so different without you. Similarly, the flexibility of a certain member of the Kent team deserves mention, who sacrificed his place in last year's winning team for the good of the tournament - and ended up on this year's winning team! No names, no pack drill, but we hope he's not letting his son forget that fact for some time to come.
This tournament is unique in the ERA calendar with its emphasis on team effort over individual performance, and it's suspected that the number of competing counties, or failing that, regional teams, could easily reach 16 if more folk were willing to reserve the date in their diaries when the UK Tour dates are announced at the start of the season. So be proud of your county, get organised early and give it a shot next year - your county needs YOU!!!
Complete team lists and match results may be found at County Team Championships 2010 Results
This season's winning squad, Surrey:
Left-to-right: Geoff Jordan, Amanda Holmes, Rakesh Gupta (Captain), Jason Granville - not present, Paul Bishop