Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire have pulled ahead of the chasing pack at the Aegon County Cup after maintaining their 100% records by dispatching Lancashire and Cheshire in Eastbourne.
Despite a spirited performance from Lancashire in which they won three rubbers to end the match 6-3 down, Bucks’ greater experience shone through – Julia Bone and Jemima King a particularly impressive pairing who dropped just five games in three rubbers.
And Bucks’ non-playing captain Alison Longfield insisted her side were determined to make their Friday game against Hertfordshire a winner-takes-all affair.
“We lost in the last game of the tournament last year to lose the title,” she said. “So we really want to go one better this year and win on the final day.
“We will want to regroup for the next round of games and then really cast our eye forward to the final game against Hertfordshire.”
Professional Laura Deigman found out Lancashire were no walkovers after losing her first rubber 7-5, 7-6 (4) and throughout the day’s play the northern side were plucky in defeat.
And Lancashire captain Rachael Hyland expected her team to come out fighting over the last two days.
“It is just really unfortunate for us that we probably faced the three strongest teams on the first three days so then it feels like a bit of an uphill struggle,” she added.
“But our pairings are getting better with every game so we’re really up for making the next two day’s count.”
After losing two tight three-set matches early on, Cheshire were never able to really battle back against Hertfordshire but were left more concerned by the fitness of youngster Pippa Carr who had to retire with an ankle injury.
And after securing the 7-2 win and watching her young players impress yet again, Herts captain Sarah Donovan revealed her plan to reward the team.
“In my experience Wednesday is always a really tough day being midweek so we are delighted to get the result and we’ll relax now,” she said.
“I think we’ll go for a paddle in the sea and then I’ll take them for a burger and some ice cream. I think the evening will be the evening for burger and bed.”
Buckinghamshire squad: 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.
Herts squad: Captain Sarah Donovan, Emily Arbuthnott, Alissa Ayling, Katherine Baker, Jennifer Brown, Mollie Crouch, Amanda Elliott, Kate Gowar, Helen Rabot and Katherine Whiteway.