Loughborough W1 5-0 Nottingham W4

This week Victory Hall held the Semi Final round of the Women’s Midlands Conference Cup between Loughborough 1’s and Nottingham 4’s. Loughborough’s top female player, Lois Peake, who is also ranked in the top ten in England, was not available to play this important match. So it was Ella Patel’s chance to step up and help Loughborough on their way to the cup final. Nottingham notably have a vast number of decent players, so in advance this game looked as though it would have been an interesting one.

They started with two singles matches. Jessica Birbeck (Lboro) beat Rhiannon Evans 3-0 in sets, putting a score on the board for Loughborough. On the other table, Nottingham player, Esther Zoos gave Ella Patel a spot of trouble and managed to steal a set using her strong forehand hit. However, Ella dominated most rallies using controlled play and took a 3-1 victory. For the second round, things were looking positive for Loughborough as they only needed to win one more match to take them to the final. Jessica was looking strong in the first two sets, and managed to keep the ball tight to stop Esther hitting those strong forehands. In the third set, Jessica struggled to control Esther and was at the wrong end of too many powerful hits and lost the third set. In the fourth set, experience shone through and Jessica took the set 14-12 after a close and tense battle. On the other table, Ella showed no signs of trouble as she beat Rhiannon comfortably in straight sets. Loughborough quickly defeated Nottingham in the doubles match although, in this case, there was not much to play for.

So, Loughborough 1’s are now in the final of the Midlands Conference Cup where they face Nottingham 3’s on the 8th March. The match will be held in the EHB games room and could be an interesting final. Loughborough 1’s have had an unbeaten season so far in both league and cup matches, so let’s hope they can keep it up. They will undoubtedly have plenty of support from the home crowd which should inspire them to a victory.

Jess Birbeck


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