Rugby ace Diya stars as Warwickshire aces shine - The Rugby Observer

Rugby ace Diya stars as Warwickshire aces shine

Rugby Editorial 31st Aug, 2018   0

RISING star Diya Dhokia played a crucial role in the Warwickshire U9 tennis team’s victory in the West Midlands Junior County Cup at Edgbaston Priory Club.

The nine-year-old, from Rugby Tennis Club, helped the team beat Shropshire, Staffordshire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire on successive days.

Dhokia earned her call-up after a string of fine results including overall victory in the prestigious Rugby Evening Classic U9 mixed championship earlier this season.

Captained by James Roe, Warwickshire’s eight-strong mixed team started strongly, beating Shropshire 8-1, winning the opening round of boys’ singles matches.

Sam Kingston (Kenilworth) and Archie Delves-Payne (Leamington Tennis Club) each came back from a set down in their rubbers.

Alice Wilson-Marsh (Kenilworth) then took her opening singles in straight sets before Diya battled gamely to win an epic three-setter 8-6 in the decider.

This secured overall victory before the doubles rubbers to give Warwickshire a flying start.

The county trailed 2-1 to Staffordshire after the three boys’ singles but Diya and Christina Pham (Sutton Coldfield) each cruised through their singles in straight sets.

Alice Wilson-Marsh upset the form-books to beat nationally-ranked Under 9 Isabella Walker in a thrilling three-setter.

After Warwickshire lost both the boys and girls doubles, however, everything depended on the mixed rubber but Archie Delves-Payne and Diya cantered through in style, 7-1 7-3 to secure a 5-4 win.

Group leaders H&W took the first two singles against Kenilworth boys Aryan Mehta and Sam Kingston in straight sets.

However, Matthew Gardiner (Blossomfield, Solihull) attacked ferociously to overcome unbeaten Theo Houston.

Warwickshire girls including Diya won all three singles but when the county lost the boys’ and girls’ doubles, the tie was evenly poised at 4-4 with the Championship riding on the final mixed doubles.

Gardiner again stepped up to the plate and he and Wilson-Marsh went for their shots boldly, outhitting their opposition 7-1 7-1 to secure the match and the Championship, to the delight of team captain James Roe, the Kenilworth head coach.

“I’m really proud of our youngsters,” he said.

“They played their hearts out and battled away in the toughest situations with a smile on their faces.

“The match against H&W was super-close but our mixed doubles stars were our secret weapon, keeping their nerve and snatching the Championship in style.

“It bodes well for Warwickshire tennis to have such a good crop of youngsters coming through and from right across the county.”


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