8U Brooklands vs Hoole - Summer Finals
By Angela Cuddy
You could feel the tension in the air as we all arrived at Hale to play the 8U Cheshire finals match. Hoole were our opponents and we knew that they were an excellent team. The boys had made the finals in the Winter League but lost out to High Legh, this meant they all wanted this win, so much.
After 2 rounds, we were all tied. Gabriel was playing some sublime tennis, winning both his first two rubbers against their 1 & 2 seeds. Thomas and Bodhi both picked up a vital rubber each after 2 games. Elijah had battled so hard in the first two matches but just lost out in both, 15-17 and 13-15, they were tough defeats but we needed him to put it to one side and bag himself a few rubbers too.
Round 3..... Gabriel and Elijah got their rubbers, playing the 3 & 4 seeds. Thomas had just lost out in another marathon match against their number 1 seed 13-15, so eyes rested on Bodhi's game against the 2 seed. He was 6-9 down and it all looked over and done as his opponent was serving with match point, but Bodhi kept his nerve and slowly crept back into it. I umpired this game and knew that this could be pivotal to the result if we got it. Bodhi had match point at 10-9 but couldn't convert it, then his opponent had match point at 10-11 AND 11-12 but couldn't convert. I honestly felt my hands shake as I said "13-12, match point to Bodhi".... He kept such a cool head in that rally, winning the match point and the rubber that edged us in front. We just needed 2 out of the last 4 rubbers and the win was ours.
Round 4 saw Gabriel, cool as a cucumber, take the first rubber 10-1. Can we just appreciate for a second how well Gabriel played on this finals day. Under all the pressure, he really did put on a faultless show of tennis. Thomas and Bodhi both gave it everything but narrowly lost out, both of their rubbers finishing 7-10. Now we looked over to Elijah, the score was 8 all.... Elijah won the next point, 9-8 and it was his match point. He wasn't going to let this one slip out of his grasp as he hit cross court to his opponent's backhand, each time his opponent's return was getting shorter, Elijah waited until he was half way up the court, hit the same backhand but with greater angle and lower to the net and it was a winner.
I saw them all look around at each other with whispers of "have we won?".... Lindsay knew we had but duly walked over to the opposing captain to check she agreed with the scorecard and then confirmed it to the boys. Their faces were everything, they are such a lovely team, always checking on each other and never wanting to leave the tennis courts after they have played, they really do deserve this so much.
Everyone was smiling and the Hoole team graciously shook hands with our boys and congratulated them. Well done mini reds!!!