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Despite a promising start from Lancaster’s women’s tennis team, the York girls pipped them to the post for a Roses victory. York won by five matches to four after three doubles and six singles matches.
The day started well for the Lancaster team , even though the clouds were gathering overhead. The matches began a little later than the planned 12.30pm start, but Lancaster were not fazed as they daubed red stripes on their cheeks and began to warm up.
Olivia Marshall and Laura Mermet were the first to finish their doubles match, beating the York pair 6-1 6-3. Marshall was particularly upbeat, saying: “It was a great match. There were some moments where we didn’t play our best, but we got the important points where we needed too.”
Laura Mermet added: “It was a fun match. There was a lot of volleying.” Both Marshall and Mermet praised the York team for the gracious way in which they reacted to their opening defeat.
In the second doubles match, Captain Krista Ozolina and her partner Harriet Comley played the match of the day, beating a solid York pair 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 13-11. It was a battle from the beginning for the reds, with a constant exchange of breaks of serve, some frustrating points, and some close line-calls for the reds. The York team were slow to start, crying out and deploring their own serves, but after edging the first set tiebreak the match became a tightly fought affair.
The players were on court for so long that instead of the usual third set, they decided to play a tiebreak to decide the winner. Fortunately, Ozolina and Comley pulled through after a couple of double faults from both sides and some hard-hitting ground strokes from Ozolina.
The captain was clearly elated after the match: “It was really intense, both teams played well. We were just luckier on the points that mattered.”
Yet despite a promising start for the reds, the York women’s team picked up the pace and began to outstrip Lancaster. A tough match for the final doubles pair Jemma Cardy and Maddy Ward led to a loss of 2-6 2-6, and despite two wins in the singles for Lancaster, York picked up four wins to take them to the final score and a Roses victory.
The York team were certainly calm and collected when it came to their groundstrokes in the singles, and the support from the sidelines was in their favour. Despite the “I Am Lancaster” banner in the sky, the final four singles matches – involving Krista Ozolina, Harriet Comley, Laura Mermet, and Sofija Dolgova – all went in York’s favour.
Speaking after her doubles loss, Jemma Cardy said: “We enjoyed it, but I don’t think the score reflected the match. It was a long match, with lots of games going to deuce. We’re disappointed.” Cardy also expressed her nerves after her singles match despite winning 6-3 6-3, and it seems that the lack of supporters watching, the cloudy afternoon, and the nerves conspired against the women’s team.
Ozolina’s opponent was particularly strong after a shaky start; her serve was excellent and even Ozolina’s strong forehand could not contribute to a Lancaster win.
With the hope of many points coming from the tennis, the result is disappointing. The season for the women’s tennis team has been excellent up to this point after coming second in the BUCS Northern 2A league, but despite coming out on top in the doubles, York really pulled away in the singles – a difference that ultimately led to a York win.