English League Cup Finals: Rose Bowl
report by Kate Hughes.
On Saturday 7th June, Kate Hughes and Charlotte Spencer represented Leamington Spa in the Rose Bowl Finals at Westfield Table Tennis Centre, Wellingborough. This event is a contest between the top eight league teams in England, who have qualified through regional , zonal rounds.
Leamingtons first match was against Cambridge – a team who were taking part in the finals for the first time. Kate Hughes beat Tracey Sambrook 13-11, 11-4, 11-1. Charlotte Spencer then had a close battle against Yan Guo losing 9-11 in the 5th set. The girls teamed up for the doubles and won 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-1. Kate then got the better of Yan Guo 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 to guarantee Leamingtons first win of the day. Charlotte lost to Sambrook but the match had already been won , so was less significant.
Leamingtons second match was against Bracknell and Wokingham. Kate and Charlotte were on excellent form in this match, winning all five sets 3-0; remaining in full control throughout.
The final match in the group stages was against No. 1 seeds Bournemouth. The team were without No. 2 Veteran Sanja Clements, but did select the forthcoming Commonwealth Games player Chloe Thomas from Wales. Chloe won both singles against Kate and Charlotte – demonstrating the benefit of being able to train full time and play abroad in Sweden.
However, the Leamington duo battled hard to both beat Linda Hales (Kate winning 3-0, and Charlotte winning 3-1) , thus the match was going to be decided by a decisive doubles. Leamington won the first end 11-7; only to lose the second 3-11. The third went to Leamington 11-8, but Bournemouth fought back to win the 4th and 5th 7-11 and 6-11. The doubles loss meant that Leamington had lost 2-3 to the top team.
Leamington then played Leicester to decide 3rd and 4th positions. Charlotte played top 20 senior Karen Smith first and lost closely in 4 sets. Kate then played Jessica Birbeck and despite two close ends she still won 3-0 to level the score at 1-1. Next up came the crucial doubles. This went to 5 sets; but Leamington came out victorious winning 11-2 in the 5th set. Karen got revenge against Kate in the next singles (following the regional loss) to level the match at 2-2. Charlotte and Jessica then played the last match of the day to decide the 3rd place. With both girls playing their 8th singles of the day; it was a battle between the two; with Jessica Birbeck winning 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-4 to give Leicester 3rd place and push Leamington into a slightly disappointing 4th place.
Kate won 6/8 singles, Charlotte won 3/8 singles, and together they won 3/4 doubles.
Bournemouth were crowned 2014 Champions beating Leeds 3-1 in the final.