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Cov pair can't save the day for County women.

Byline: TENNIS Sally Jones

WARWICKSHIRE'S depleted women's side lost 5-4 to Kent on day one of the Aegon Inter-County Championships despite a fine contribution from Coventry duo Soumeya Anane and Natasha Hillyer who won their three rubbedrs without dropping a set.

Junior international Alannah Griffin battled hard, partnering 17-year-old newcomer Katie Malazonia, at second pair but could only win one out of three.

Last-minute call-up Tamara Malazonia, 14, fought bravely as she partnered the big-hitting but inconsistent Holly Reid before Coventry's Lizzie Massie paired up with Reid for the final rubber against the Kent firsts but both partnerships found the gulf in experience too much to bridge.

"I was really pleased with how all our youngsters kept fighting" said captain Katie Shaw. "Soumeya and Natasha did superbly to win three out of three, which gave us a really respectable score.

We face the title-holders Surrey tomorrow which will be a big task but it's tremendous experience for these young girls to hold their own in the top level of county tennis."

Warwickshire men pulled off a thrilling 5-4 victory over Leicestershire in Group Four at a scorching Hunstanton thanks to three nerveless victories from their second pair.

Junior international Bjorn Thomson and the big-serving Richard Partidge, from Coventry, a coach at the Virgin Active Tennis Centre, battled back from a break down in the second set against their opposite numbers with the match poised at four rubbers apiece.

Teenagers Ben Brewster, 15 and Karan Tumblr, 17, gave a good account of themselves but found their opponents' extra power and experience too much to handle.

Captain Nathan Rooney and Stratford coach Steve Lee from Leamington Spa clinched a crucial two out of three rubbers, Lee, 34, producing some of the biggest serves of the day in his 18th County Week.

"Bjorn and Richard really did the business" said Rooney. "They held their nerve when the matches got close.

"Steve and I were struggling physically come the third match of the day but luckily we'd already won the two that mattered. We're all gunning for our second promotion in a row to try to get up into Group Three by the end of the week."

Warwickshire women 3 Kent 6 (Warwickshire names first): Soumeya Anane/ Natasha Hillyer beat Kent 1st pair Sarah Cantlay/ Holly Richards 6-3 6-4; beat 2nd pair Florence Abbot/ Mia Smith7-5 6-3; beat Kent 3rd pair Jacqueline Darby/ Sophia Thomas 6-3 6-1. Alannah Griffin/ Kate Malazonia lost to Kent 1st pair 2-6 4-6; beat Kent 2nd pair 6-3 7-5; lost to Kent 3rd pair 5-7 3-6. Holly Reid/ Lizzie Massie lost to Kent 1st pair 2-6 0-6; Reid/ Tamara Malazonia lost to Kent 2nd pair 6-7 2-6; lost to Kent 3rd pair 2-6 1-6. Warwickshire men 5 Leicestershire 4: Ben Brewster/Karan Tumblr lost to Leicester 1st pair Thomas Kisiel/ Sam Preston; lost to 2nd pair Jack Simpson/ Marc Westgate; Lost to 3rd pair Benjaming Mullis/ Matt Richmond 2-6 4-6. Richard Partridge/ Bjorn Thomson beat Leicester 1st pair 6-3 7-6; beat 2nd pair 6-3 7-5; beat 3rd pair Benjaming Mullis/ Baraby Thorold 6-4 3-6 6-1. Steve Lee/ Nathan Rooney lost to Leicester 1st pair; beat 2nd pair 7-6 6-4; beat 3rd pair Mullis/Thorold 6-4 6-7 6-3.

CAPTION(S):

| Bjorn Thomson on net duty as Richard Partridge serves in sun-kissed Huntstanton.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 19, 2016
Words:552
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