Well here we go…my first ever captain’s report and hopefully not my last!
The ladies 035/40s team consisted of an experienced master in Helen Barnard, Sarah Creed who made her first appearance in a masters top before covid struck and the three newbies myself, Jenny Mckenna and Rebecca Baker.
After 100 photographs and a bacon sandwich – I think Becs thought we were going on a hen doo, we set off on our travels to Galway. Helen made her way by ferry and oh were we glad to have her camper van in Ireland. Head taxi lady saved all our legs from the walk back and fore to the hotel and club every day!
Our first match was against a strong English side. We knew we needed a good start and we thought we had it when Helen took a 2-1 lead but unfortunately her opponent Natalie Lawrence kept fighting and took the tie 3-2. Next up was the ever so excited Becs. Keen to make her first Welsh cap a good one, that she definitely did, but unfortunately lost a really tight 3-1 to Sophie Beake. Onto the captain to keep us in the tie which thankfully I was able to do with a 3-0 win against an old friend Emmeline Gale. No pressure Sarah but you need to win but Kate Bradshaw wasn’t taking any prisoners and took the win 3-0. Although we had lost the tie we still wanted a win from Jenny just incase a countback occurred and she didn’t disappoint beating Polly Roylance-Smith 3-1. What a long, tight, first match we had – so long all the food had gone! Chauffeur Helen took us back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep ready to go again on Saturday! Sarah took the good night’s sleep to the extreme telling herself how good her drop shot was in her sleep!
Next up the hosts Ireland! Game of the match has to go to Becs, sadly losing a 5 set battle after being 2-0 down against Ali Magee. Great 3-0 wins for the rest of the team gave us a 4-1 match win. I could tell we were at a masters event when Jennys dashing to the toilet in between games although her physio expertise was very much appreciated with a very random foot/toe injury I occurred the day before the tournament!
Last up Scotland – us girls thought Helen was the quiet and calm member of the team – wow that changed at her team talk at 2-2 against Jenn Saldanha – Thankfully her pumped up chat to herself led her to a 12-10 win in the fifth. Becs was being the nice, want to make friends with everyone, happy self until the 2nd game of her match – took my ruthless title winning it 11-0. She went on to get her first win of the weekend. Another convincing win for myself, Jenny and Sarah and a 5-0 win gave us 2nd place and the silver medal!
What everyone had been waiting for the party, after setting the fire alarm off and nearly evacuating the whole hotel with her new fancy curlers (no names – Becs) we all dolled ourselves up ready to dance the night away and have a couple of drinks but not too many as we had an early start for our trek to Dublin and back home in the morning! Most of the team stuck with the plan but one decided she could go out in Galway and get home at 4.30am and be fine for the travel home (no names – Becs) not sure she thought it was a good idea on Sunday however we did have a very quiet bus and plane journey home haha!
I have to say it was an honour to captain this team, everyone gave it their all and to come away with a silver medal and so close to beating England I couldn’t have been prouder – roll on next year!!!