WARWICKSHIRE men secured promotion against the odds after a string of superb performances in group three of the LTA Summer County Cup.
The men’s side have now achieved back-to-back promotions as Gavin Henderson’s team recovered from losing two of their first three matches to clinch second place in group three with wins against Norfolk, West of Scotland and Berkshire.
And third pair Cameron Malik and Luca Pow starred for Warwickshire while the new second pairing of Alex Griffiths and Simon Ferguson also impressed.
Men’s captain Henderson said: “I’m speechless. We went into this week just hoping to consolidate and stay up in group three.
“When we lost to Buckinghamshire on the first day, we scarcely dreamed we would be in with a chance of promotion, but everyone – from the newcomers to our long-serving stalwarts – was on fire.
“There was this huge desire and passion plus great teamwork and they just spurred one another on. Everyone played their hearts out and I’m so proud of them all.
“Cam Malik and Luca Pow were a revelation at third pair – such a great combination of explosive hitting and canny strategy.
“Solihull’s Mason Recci, Harry Lazell from Warwick, Simon Ferguson and Alex Griffiths all had a great week, as did Coventry’s Richard Partridge and our debutant Ferran Redza from Leamington Spa.
“All of them battled through on crucial points, on this sort of form, the sky is the limit and it will be fascinating to see how they cope next year in group two.”
Warwickshire lost 7-2 to eventual group winners Buckinghamshire in their opening game before whitewashing Norfolk 9-0 at Frinton-on-Sea in Essex.
A narrow 5-4 defeat against Derbyshire followed before a crucial 6-3 win against West of Scotland and a big 7-2 victory against Berkshire ensured Warwickshire clinched the second and final promotion place.
The team of Malik, Pow, Griffiths, Ferguson, Mason Recci, Harry Lazell, Richard Partridge and Ferran Redza won a combined total of 28 rubbers, four ahead of third-placed West of Scotland.
And Warwickshire’s women’s side avoided relegation from group three despite a final day defeat against Gloucestershire in Cheltenham.
Katie Shaw’s team began their campaign with a 5-4 win against Lincolnshire before slipping to a 6-3 defeat against eventual group winners Somerset.
However, a 6-3 victory against Cambridgeshire would prove crucial after an agonising 5-4 defeat against Derbyshire left Warwickshire in danger of a second successive relegation.
And despite a 6-3 loss against Gloucestershire in their final fixture defeats for both Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire meant that Warwickshire retained their group three status.
The team of Lois Porter, Madison Rumney, Tamara Malazonia, Summer Yardley, Savannah Yardley, Mary Hoggard, Michelle Dzjachangirova, Darja Maslova and Marina Beckinsale won 21 rubbers to finish two points clear of the drop.