The county junior team played host to Avon and Somerset, overseen by Dave Adamson, team coach, at Deer Park to finish off the season. The team for the day was boys: Jack Collings, Olly Tyndall, Billy Shilton; girls: Beth Williams, Margaret Pang.
Against Somerset, Olly and Billy made a confident start, quickly putting the team 2-0 up. Next up was Beth vs Beth (Atkinson) and Jack vs Jack (Cross), which both turned out to be close encounters that, unfortunately, didn’t go our way. A similar fate awaited Margaret who went down in 5 to Beth. Things then swung back in Gloucestershire’s favour as Olly and Jack were able to add 1 a piece, to square off the match at 4-4. Unfortunately, the final two matches went to Somerset with a noteable performance from their number 2 Jack Cross, at least 14 inches taller, much improved, and unbeaten on the day. Final score: Gloucestershire 4, Somerset 6.
Avon turned up two players short, with only two boys and one girl, and it was at this stage the Gloucestershire finally got into gear. Olly started with a good win over Avon number 1, Josh Kashdan, while Jack got the better of, pen-holder number 2, Robin Francis. Avon number 1 girl, little sister, Jess Kashdan, playing up, was no match for our girls, as Beth and Margaret both won their matches comfortably. Finally Jack came off on top in a 4-setter vs Josh to give Gloucestershire a comfortable 9-1 victory to end the season, along with an early finish to have us home in time to see the Grand National.
Although the loss to Somerset was a little disappointing, it could easily have gone our way. It has been particularly pleasing to see such an improvement in the younger members of the team along with good support from the older players, who made valuable contributions in the face of looming exams. On balance I feel quite optimistic for subsequent seasons.