Sussex U18’s v Channel Islands 12 January 2019
The first priority for Sussex parents and players at this rare match against the Channel Islands was to enquire about a possible return event in Jersey, preferably in the summer, perhaps even taking in the famous “Battle of the Flowers”. Discussions commenced, contact details were exchanged, negotiations continue!
This was the first match of the season for the U18’s, their only other one having been cancelled by Bedfordshire who were unable to raise a team. The extra time thus available for preparation paid dividends and Sussex cruised to a relatively comfortable 17 – 3 victory. Unusually the U18’s had eight players who had already represented the County at this level last season, and their experience showed. Stephen Boxall was the only player on debut and he won his mixed with Alyx Maskell and narrowly lost out in his singles after three close sets.
Sussex won all four mixed matches, all girls’ singles and all boys’ doubles. Ben Smith and Alex Bayley were taken to three in their first doubles but won through comfortably in the third set 21 – 12. The girls’ doubles produced the hardest fought matches of the tie, but Eloise Matthews and Nicole Wood ensured the spoils were shared by winning their two.
It was a pleasure to play against the youngsters from the Channel Islands who, unfortunately, have play all their matches away from home. After an early morning start and this match against Sussex, they were off to stay overnight in Reading ready for another match tomorrow against Berkshire. We included their players in our team photo.
Team: Alex Bayley, Katie Bicknell, Stephen Boxall, Scott Haysom, Alyx Maskell, Eloise Matthews, Ieuan Rice, Ben Smith and Nicole Wood.