Buckinghamshire ended a 118-year wait for their first ever Aegon Summer County Cup title by cantering home against reigning champs Hertfordshire with a session to spare in Eastbourne at the weekend.
The side, led by team captain Alison Longfield, beat Herts 5-1 in a best-of-nine rubber match so were not in need of the evening session as they played some superb tennis to end Herts’ unbeaten record and maintin their own in the process.
While it is Bucks’ name on the trophy it was very much a victory made in the Vale as six out of the eight players train at Halton Tennis Centre.
Julia Bone and Jemima King were the standout pairing during the week at Devonshire Park and gave Bucks the perfect start when they won their opening rubber 6-3 6-1 – the pair ending the tournament having dropped just one set.
Fifteen-year-old Emily Arbuthnott has starred for Herts and, along with partner Amanda Elliott, kept her side in the game by winning their rubber 7-6 (4) 6-2 to make it 2-1 to Bucks after the morning.
But Bucks came roaring out of the blocks in the afternoon session to take all three rubbers and take the title away for the first time in the county’s history leaving Longfield reflecting on their long, hard road to victory after collecting the trophy.
“We have spent six years as a team trying to win this and we have played through rain, wind and nearly snow to get there,” she said.
“We have played on some dodgy old AstroTurf as well as these amazing grass courts so it feels just amazing to have finally done it.
“We have had a core group of players who have been together for a long time so it is a testament to them to have finally done it as well as the new players coming in.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls. They are probably getting bored of all the hugs I have been giving out but they totally deserve it.
“I couldn’t sit still during any of the games but this is a great time for Bucks tennis – this has been an amazing week.”
Hertfordshire had proven to be the team to beat during the tournament and have blooded some exciting young players such as Arbuthnott and Katherine Whiteaway who were in their debut tournament.
And Herts captain Sarah Donovan was magnanimous in defeat and backed her side to come back stronger next year.
She said: “We don’t like losing but Bucks deserved it. I genuinely thought it could go either way and they just played better than us on the day.
“Well done to them. We’ll let them borrow the trophy for this year but we’ll be back strong next year.”
Bucks team: captain Alison Longfield, Helen Adams, Julia Bone, Alexandra Clark, Laura Deigman, Lereesa Easterbrook, Jemima King, Helen Lawson, Claudia Marsala, Alice Patch, Tor Pisani, Kathryn Sharples and Claire Webb.