ODIHAM tennis ace Ryan Golesworthy captained the Hampshire under-12 boys tennis team to the runners-up spot in their first-ever National County Cup finals appearance.
The top eight county teams in the country contested the finals in Bolton, with the Hampshire team, coached by Colin Jakeway, consisting of Golesworthy, Outek Dinapala, Cameron Clarke, Henry Bowden and Ouyoung Dinapala.
Their opening match was against Somerset, which they won thanks to three singles wins.
Next up were Hertfordshire, who on paper looked a lot stronger than Golesworthy’s team, but they fought hard and didn’t drop a set.
Game three saw Hampshire line-up against Lincoln-shire and Goles-worthy spearheaded the charge, beating the Lincolshire side’s Great Britain player without dropping a game in a sublime performance. The rest of the team performed strongly and Hampshire made the final without dropping a singles rubber.
The final was six hours of fantastic tennis played in a great atmosphere against favourites Yorkshire.
Hampshire played their hearts out, with the first two matches being decided by third set tie-breaks.
Hampshire fought bravely and at times nearly had the upper hand, but Yorkshire played some great tennis and the tie was lost.
On the way to the final, Golesworthy beat two GB players and only narrowly lost to a third GB boy in the deciding tie-break shoot-out after two hours of very high-quality tennis.
To reach the final, Hampshire had to fight their way through the qualifying competition, which they did by winning 10 of their 12 singles matches against Surrey, Kent and Dorset.
In the last group game, Golesworthy beat Dorset’s Great Britain player Toby Samuel 5-4, 5-3 to put Hampshire into the national final.