Wilton Ladies Crowned AEGON National Champions 2017 – Three Years In A Row!
This year Wilton Ladies approached the AEGON Team Tennis Finals in a confident but never complacent mood. For the first time we had become South East divisional champions and were unbeaten in the six league matches. Fortunately our strongest squad of eight players were all available. Despite being top seeds the draw was not as favourable this year.
In the quarter final we had to take on University of Bath. Our two teams seem to gravitate towards one another as this was the fifth successive year the two teams had had to play one another. As always it was close. Aimee Gibson (Wilton’s Queen of Clay) started Wilton’s title defence with a convincing win at No 4. Laura Deigman (playing at 3) won a very tight first set before running away with the second. Olivia Nicholls suffered her first ever defeat whilst playing for Wilton against the extremely talented Alex Walker but Beth Grey restored our lead by defeating former Top 100 player-Melanie South. Matches had to move indoors and Louise Holtum partnered Laura to a good start. Again, however, Alex Walker provided a thorn in Wilton’s side by helping her partner to a 11-9 match tie break win. With our star ITF pairing of Beth and Olivia to play the sixth rubber we were still well-placed. We won the first easily but then went 2-5 down. That was, however, as near as Bath got as the Wilton pair took 5 games in a row to win the match and put us in the semis.
There we took on local rivals David Lloyd Raynes Park. At 3 and 4 the opposition two very young but very talented players. One proved too good for Laura but Aimee dug deep and ground out a win in inimitable fashion. This left Beth to give us the lead with a straight sets win against former British No 1 Katie O’Brien. It rained again but victory was confirmed indoors by Laura and Louise with no need for the other doubles to be played.
So again Wilton were in the final-this year against the 2013 and 2014 winners-Cumberland Tennis Club. Louise replaced the injured Laura and scored a relatively straight forward victory. Not quite as straight forward as Olivia’s win which was by the remarkable score of 6-0, 6-0 (against a 2.1 rated opponent). Whilst these two matches started and finished Aimee Gibson continued to chase every ball and was rewarded with another straight sets win. The finest match of the weekend was then contested by Beth and another former top British pro (Naomi Cavaday). It was hard hitting clash which Beth eventually won in the third.
So the result was 4-0 to Wilton-a rare occasion when no doubles needed to be played in a final. Thus Wilton have become only the third club (along with Edgbaston Priory and Holcombe Brook) to have become National Womens Champions for three successive years. No team has achieved four in a row…yet!
Click here for the official write up and full scores.