West calls on top CI players to get behind County Cup
TENNIS stalwart Rob West wants the top players in the Channel Islands to get fully behind the LTA Winter County Cup in the future.
The combined team from Guernsey and Jersey struggled in the most recent county event, but West said the islands can do better.
‘It’s just a case of getting people to compete, getting people available at all the right times and doing it consistently for two to three years in a row, so we can make a real push,’ said West.
‘The difficult thing is we have not got much strength in depth at this level if a few of our people are unavailable. It’s partly just the size of our county.’
The coach and multiple Guernsey champion took some positives in the recent showing. The combined Guernsey-Jersey men’s team finished third of four in Group 6b, topped off with a 7-1 pasting of the Isle of Man, but the women did not secure any wins in Group 6a.
The men, who played in Somerset, started with a 7-2 defeat to the deft hands of eventual group-toppers Cumbria and then lost by the same scoreline to Wiltshire.
Sole Guernsey representative West got two points – one singles, one doubles – on the scoreboard in their redeeming victory over the Isle of Man.
‘Overall, it was a nice weekend,’ West said. ‘We were light on players, as we only had the six of us in the team – we had no reserves. We all played a lot of tennis, which was fun.’
While praising welcome wins from Jersey’s relatively inexperienced Aaran Higgins and Andy Roxburgh, he added: ‘It would be nice to have a bit more strength in depth.’
In Cardiff, the women lost 9-0 to Berkshire, but Guernsey’s Jo Dyer and Lauren Barker later both beat their singles opponents from Cornwall before joining forces to take a doubles rubber.
After that 6-3 loss, they suffered an 8-1 defeat to the South of Scotland. Tennis development officer Barker’s 6-3, 6-0 singles win over Gillian Mcilroy had prevented the whitewash.
‘The ladies, if we got our strongest team out, they would be very competitive,’ West added. ‘They would get out of that group easily.’