Shropshire’s men’s and ladies tennis teams have both made long journeys to play in this week’s LTA Summer County Cup.
Hundreds of tennis players are taking to the courts to represent their counties across the country as the popular event is held for the 126th time.
First played in 1895, County Week is one of the longest-running tennis tournaments, with the pandemic meaning 2020 was the first time other than during two World Wars that it did not take place.
Matches will be played throughout this week, starting today (Monday) until Friday, with 44 counties across seven groups competing at 13 grass court venues around the country.
Shropshire’s ladies team, captained by Holly Mowling, have travelled to Suffolk to play in Ladies’ Group 6 at Felixstowe.
The other teams in the county’s group are Staffordshire, North of Scotland, West of Scotland, Devon and Northamptonshire.
Shropshire’s men’s team, captained by Alex Parry, have also headed east, in their case to Norfolk to play in Men’s Group 7 at Hunstanton.
The other teams in the group are Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Northumberland, South of Scotland and Wiltshire.
Teams for each tie consists of three doubles pairs, with this year’s event again seeing over 200 ties and almost 2,000 rubbers played during the week, as counties across Great Britain strive to earn promotion and avoid relegation from their respective groups.
The two leading counties in each group earn promotion to the group above them for the 2023 competition, with the bottom two counties relegated to the group below.
Captain Holly Mowling, who leads a Shropshire ladies team also featuring Sue Dunn, Hanna Cadwallader, Tamzin Pountney, Clara Hill, Imani Shah and Elena Griffiths, said: “This year I am missing a number of my long-standing players, but I am looking forward to involving the counties top juniors who are the future of this ladies team.
“This event will be a great experience for all of them. Clara is making her senior debut while Imani and Tamzin are making their summer County Week debuts after both impressing in the Winter County Cup last year. Elena Griffiths is also making her debut for the ladies county team.
“We are expecting a tough week with a number of our top players missing from the team and we are facing some tough opposition, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Men’s captain Alex Parry, who is joined in the county team by Luke Henley, Tom Loxley, Matt Jones, Ed Gibbs, Joe Smithyman, Ian Gillespie and Matt Lee, said: “We are missing four regulars, but we are looking forward to a week on the east coast.
“I’m not sure how other teams are faring this year but we will give it a good go.”
Tennis Shropshire chair Fiona Jones said: “I wish both our ladies and men’s teams good luck for the forthcoming week.
“We are fortunate that we have two such experienced and capable captains in Holly and Alex, and under their leadership we know that the teams will give their best.”