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Essex Boys secure top flight promotion
ESSEX Boys’ under-18 team have gained promotion to Division One of the County Cup Championship following a thrilling success in Redbridge.
The squad of Sam Bayda, Shamael Chaudhry, Robert Heaton, Jared Linzell, Kane Patience, Ryan Peniston, Thomas Styles and Lewis Thompson were all in fine form.
And that delighted head coach Will Calvert.
“It was a fantastic achievement and I’m very proud of what the players achieved,” said Calvert.
“Essex is lucky to have so much remarkable talent to call on and the team spirit over the weekend can only be described as fantastic.
“I take my hat off to a fantastic team who committed completely on every point of every match over the three days and have recorded an outstanding result for the county.”
The promotion means Essex are now one of the top four counties in the country for their age group.
Their success was hard fought though and began with a narrow 5-4 against Middlesex.
Bayda and Chaudhry both triumphed and victories from Linzell and Peniston soon put them 4-0 up.
However, Middlesex hit back before Linzell and Chaudhry won in the doubles to secure an overall victory.
But the clash against Hampshire & Isle of Wight was far more straight forward as Essex recorded an emphatic 7-2 win to set up a day three promotion shoot out with a formidable Dorset side.
They included the British number one and number six in their squad, but Essex started well when Chaudhry fought back from losing the first set to triumph.
That lead was cancelled out when Bayda lost to the highly ranked Piers Farhang, but Peniston put Essex back in front with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Adam Watson.
Dorset looked set to level again when Linzell trailed by a set and 3-0 against Daniel Gilbert, but he fought back superbly to triumph in a match which lasted three hours.
Dorset fought back hard when Patience lost a high quality three-set match to Josef Doderidge.
And a pumped up British number one, Adam Glynn, then levelled the tie defeating Thompson, who injured his shoulder after hard fought matches on day one and two.
This meant everything depended on the doubles and Essex were quickly a set up in one rubber and a set down in the other.
Linzell and Heaton lifted their game to win the second set for Essex and take the rubber into a match-deciding tie break.
Heaton saved a match point with a superb second service, half volley pick up and Linzell then clinched the match with a winning forehand through the middle of the court.
The cheering Essex supporters ran to the other court where Peniston and Styles were also involved in a deciding tie break, which they soon won before starting some jubilant celebrations.