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Starlets come up short in Birmingham

Starlets come up short in Birmingham

Following the great results in the recent Manchester Silver event it was on to the second of the series in Birmingham for LDS star juniors, Sophia John and siblings Lily and Natalie Main. It was to be a bruising weekend following the fabulous efforts in Manchester as all performed below their potential.

The weekend started well with John beating Essex’s Hannah Morley 3-0 quite comfortably on Friday evening. The two have often been involved in close battles, but on this occasion John was simply too good.

Saturday saw all three players in action with Lily Main up first. She had a torrid time against the much improved Sophia Lee from Warwickshire, but fought hard along the way eventually going down 3-0. Her younger sister Natalie showed her class overcoming late substitute Megan Light from Hampshire in her first round match. John was up next against it when she faced no2 seed, Suffolk’s Emma Bartley. John never got going and seemed to have racket issues going down 3-0.

The quarter finals were full of drama in the Under 13 category where the Main sisters competed. Natalie, faced Hampshire’s Florence Kerlsey, with whom she had a head to head deficit of 2-1. Main looked as though she would make short work of her opponent as she raced to a 2-0 lead. Kerlsey is a renowned battler though and fought back to level. In the deciding 5th Main raced to a 6-1 lead and looked home and hosed, perhaps she thought likewise as Kerlsey fought back to lead 7-6, Main levelled before Kerlsey finished the match off without conceding a further point. Lily meanwhile was battling for 9-16 places and got off to a slow start losing the first to Olivia Keefe of Hampshire. Main, however, levelled and looked to be taking control, sadly for the LDS player unforced errors in the third and fourth games cost her a match she perhaps ought to have won.

Sophia John was back in action in the evening session up against another Hampshire player in the shape of Olivia Besant. John looked good taking the first but couldn’t maintain it as she went down 3-1 to the awkward left hander.

Sunday morning saw Lily Main get a walkover, her opponent having to withdraw injured, whilst Natalie faced Yorkshire’s Fran Hall, one of the dark horses of the tournament. Natalie struggled to find her length against a consistent opponent in the first two games, but with two games balls in the third looked to fight back, however, she couldn’t convert any and lost 3-0, meaning a play-off for 7/8 place.

Sophia John, now returned to the newly refurbished University campus site faced Essex’s Ella Hall. The first two games were shared in a very tight battle, but John faded badly going down 3-1. John received a walkover, again due to an injury withdrawal, giving her a final position of 15th.

The Main sisters had very different matches in their final fixtures. Natalie overcame some interesting tactics by her Cheshire opponent Isabel Sargent to win comfortably 3-0 to finish 7th overall. Lily on the other hand faced Gloucestrshire’s Emily Coulcher-Porter who played forehand for every shot! Main’s took some time to settle and lost the first, before taking the second 11-2 and looked on course to take the remaining games comfortably. However, her opponent had other ideas as she took the next by the same score. Main regrouped to take the fourth comfortably conceding only 4 points to take it to a deciding fifth. She took it in the end but not before a lung-bursting rally at 9-9 proved decisive and a much relieved Main triumphed to take 13th place.

Next up are the UK nationals where Sophia is seeded 19 in GU15, Lily 10 in GU13 and Natalie 5th also in GU13. All three will be hoping to outperform those as they face the best from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and of course England.

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