Doubles are Guernsey’s downfall
GUERNSEY’S top players came agonisingly close to retaining the Bucktrout Trophy in last weekend’s inter-insular.
In fact, team captain Rob West had called it ‘the one that got away’ after losing 7-5 on Jersey soil and therefore falling a single point short of a draw, which would have enabled them to retain the trophy they had won heroically in 2021 – their first title in 14 years.
It ran even closer than the scoreline suggested.
The outcome rested on the final doubles rubber, in which Guernsey’s Jo Dyer and Imogen Wegerer had forced a championship tie-break against Clare Clarke and Antonija Sokic only for the Jersey girls to edge it 10-7 and send the Caesarean Tennis Club into hysterics.
With that, Guernsey, who were two ahead after the singles, had gone from winning all four doubles rubbers last year to being whitewashed in return.
‘The overriding feeling is probably that it’s the one that got away,’ West said.
‘We were leading 5-3 after the singles and needed one win in the doubles and did not get the job done, for whatever reason.’
The captain did not blame one particular factor for the fall from grace in the doubles, though he mentioned the change in squads – Guernsey had three first-timers and it was similar for Jersey – and that the sister isle may have been more driven after falling behind in the singles.
‘It’s not saying they were a lot better or we were a lot worse,’ he added.
‘It’s just sometimes who you match up against on the day.’
Guernsey had taken the majority of singles wins, coming through that section 5-3.
Domestic No. 1 West had lost out against Caesarean counterpart James Faudemer, while teenager Marcus Thomas fell on the tie-break against Tomas Nadassky in a duel of two debutants.
But that was balanced out by Nico Robinson defeating Scott Weaver 6-4, 6-3 and debutant Ben Wentzel coming through a real battle against Aaron Higgins 2-6, 6-4 and – after saving a match point in a championship tie-break – 11-9.
The women made the difference in winning three from four.
All three of their victories came in two sets, with Lauren Watson-Steele beating new arrival Karin Chymcakova 6-3, 7-6, Dyer taking down Antonija Sokic 6-0, 7-6 and Lauren Barker winning 6-3, 6-1 against Clare Clarke.
Unfortunately, debutante Wegerer could not back up her teammates’ success when she faced Sarah Jones.
The Guernsey men struggled to push Jersey in the doubles, but the two Laurens managed to force a tiebreaker – which they lost 10-7 – before the Sarnians suffered a similar fate in the decisive rubber.
Jersey team manager Sonia Smith was in disbelief about their rebound in doubles fortunes.
‘I honestly don’t know how they did it,’ she said.
‘After losing all four doubles matches last year, it was a big focus for us in preparation, so we wanted to improve on that.
‘But to take all four of the matches... I didn’t think was possible, so I am so proud of them all.’