The English Leagues Cup Competition Zonal Rounds have now taken place and the teams established for the finals in July. There were 30 entries in the Wilmott Cup (Senior Men), 12 in the J M Rose Bowl (Senior Women), 18 in the Carter Cup (Junior Boys) but unfortunately only four in the Bromfield Trophy (Junior Girls).
Eight Zonal Rounds took place with groups of three or four teams. There were some very close matches and the final results in some were not decided until the last match.
Zone 1 of Hull, Leeds and Stockton saw some very tight matches with Stockton (Andrew Wilson, Tony Wilson, Danny Welsh) making it through to the finals after two 3-2 victories.
In Zone 2 Nottingham just dipped out to Kettering in their final match, all depended on the last game as the score stood at 2-2, John Fuller defeated Craig Feargrieve of Nottingham to see Kettering through to the finals. Jack Coleman was Kettering’s other player.
Zone 3 again saw close matches with Telford, Potteries and Birmingham all winning one match. The Potteries team of Brian Johns and Garry Dodd went through on games difference.
Cambridge came out on top of Zone 4, a four team group, their team of Shaun Hall, Kevin Gray and Simon Pryke overcoming the Ipswich brothers of Jake and Ryan Collins by 3-2 in the final match after four five setters levelled the score at 2-2. Shaw came a creditable third and Watford were in fourth position.
Zone 5 consisting of teams from Aylesbury, Banbury, Guildford B and Leamington Spa saw the Leamington duo of Laurence Sweeney and Mark Jackson defeat all the other teams with Mark remaining unbeaten throughout the day.
The holders, Wembley & Harrow, had a close call in Zone 7 but are through to the finals again with Eli Baraty having to beat John Robinson of Guildford B in the deciding game to make it 3-2 and thereby winning both their matches. Ryan Maynard was Wembley & Harrow’s second player. Didcot came in third.
Zone 7 saw Reading (Hari Gehlot, Mark Banks, Ramesh Gehlot) come out comfortable winners winning all their matches 5-0, Guildford C were second, Maidenhead third and Bracknell & Wokingham fourth.
In the final group, Group 8, the Hastings pairing of Nathan Derby and John Wilson pipped the Portsmouth team of Alex Rorke and Lee Orton into second place with a 3-2 scoreline, Guildford A finished third with Bromley not attending.
Finals Teams: Stockton, Kettering, Potteries, Cambridge, Leamington Spa, Wembley & Harrow, Reading and Hastings.
J M Rose Bowl
The 12 entrants were divided into four groups of three with the top two teams going through to the finals.
Zone 1 saw Mansfield A withdraw before the match took place so Chester & Ellesmere Port and Leeds are straight through to the finals.
Zone 2 saw the Derby ladies of Jane Vickers and Abbie Milwain have comfortable wins over Birmingham and Mansfield B, Birmingham finished second so go through to the finals and Mansfield B came third.
Zone 3 saw North Herts (the holders – Sandra Harper and Jan Laing) have two close 3-2 wins over Leicester and Cambridge with Leicester also qualifying from their second position.
Some very close games in Zone 4 saw the Guildford ladies of Sally Cimiotti and Sarah Horsnell top the group with Hastings second and Watford a very close third.
Finalists: Chester & Ellesmere Port, Leeds, Derby, Birmingham, North Herts, Leicester, Guildford, Hastings.
With 18 teams entering, two groups of five and two of four was the format, with the top two from each group going through to the finals. So lots of play for the youngsters.
Zone 1 saw the trio of Dom Sussex, Sam Rose and Kevin Vandabona of Plymouth finish a comfortable first, winning all their games, West Wilts won three so finished second and Yeovil, Didcot A and Didcot B all finished with one win apiece.
Zone 2 saw another group of five teams with the Crawley & Horsham team (Don Barna and Alex Forshaw) just making it to first position over Reading with Don Barna beating Daniel McTiernan in the final game with the score at 2-2. Hastings won two to finish third, Guildford were fourth and Banbury fifth.
Zone 3 consisted of teams from Chesterfield, Leamington Spa B, Hull and Birmingham with Hull the victors and Birmingham (the holders) also through to the finals.
Zone 4 saw the Leamington Spa pair of Laurence Sweeney and Matt Outhwaite topping the group (Laurence having the day previously helped the senior team to victory) with North Herts joining them in the finals, and, Peterborough third, Leicester having previously withdrawn.
Finalists: Plymouth, West Wilts, Crawley & Horsham, Reading, Hull, Birmingham, Leamington Spa A, North Herts.
Four teams only entered, from Guildford, Chesterfield, Plymouth and Derby, so all automatically qualify for the finals.
My thanks to all those leagues who supported the competition this year and to all those who hosted fixtures.