One of the oldest competitions in the annual British domestic sporting calendar takes place next week as the LTA Summer County Cup returns with hundreds of tennis players taking to the courts across the country to represent their counties.
First played in 1895, County Week is one of the longest-running tennis tournaments, with the pandemic meaning 2020 was the first time other than during two World Wars that it did not take place. Now firmly back on the agenda, this year’s nationwide competition runs from Monday 18 to Friday 22 July when 44 counties across seven groups will compete at 13 grass court venues all over the UK.
With free admission for all spectators, County Cup week provides an opportunity to watch top-level players take part in a competition that has been graced by some of the most recognized names in British tennis including Kent’s current US Open champion, Emma Raducanu.
In addition, Harriet Dart (Middlesex), Jodie Burrage (Surrey), Ryan Peniston (Essex), Jack Draper (Surrey), Joe Salisbury (Surrey) and Dan Evans (Warwickshire) were all regulars on the County Cup circuit before their careers took off. Preceding that, Andy, Jamie and Judy Murray, Sue Barker and Tim Henman also represented their counties in this prestigious competition, as well as most recently Andrew Castle, who has been nominated to play for Somerset at West Worthing Club, Sussex.
County teams are organized into seven women’s groups and seven men’s groups, with teams for each tie consisting of three doubles pairs. This year will once again see over 200 ties and almost 2,000 rubbers played during the week, as 44 counties across Great Britain go head-to-head to earn promotion and avoid relegation from their respective groups.
Hertfordshire Ladies are the defending women’s champions having defeated arch rivals Surrey on the final day to win the 2021 event. Meanwhile, Kent return to the Group One event after a four-year absence, but more remarkable is Northumberland, whose ladies team are back in the elite group for the first time in 89 years.
On the men’s side, Kent are the reigning men’s champions after clinching the 2021 trophy, while Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire both make a welcome return to the top group.
Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park will once again be staging the premier Group 1 matches and the traditional home of the event will witness six women’s and six men’s teams battle it out for 2022 County Cup honours.
‘A special part of the tennis calendar’
LTA Tournament Director Julie Piper said: “It is fantastic to be back for the 126th County Week. There is always a great atmosphere and real excitement amongst the players which is part of what makes this long-standing traditional event such a special part of the tennis calendar. Entry for spectators is free of charge and I would urge all those who are able to attend to do so and support the players and witness five days of hard-fought, competitive tennis.”
This year’s County Week also has the potential for new names to be added to the roll of honour, with Northumberland ladies and Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire men all aiming to win the overall title in the respective events for the first ever time.
The Eastbourne event at Devonshire Park is the pinnacle of the County Cup hosting Group 1, with a further 12 grass court venues around the country staging events for Groups 2 – 7 in each of the men’s and women’s competitions. The leading two counties in each group earn promotion to the group above them for the 2023 competition, with the bottom two counties relegated to the group below.
Play will get underway no later than 10.30am each day (weather permitting) and entry is free for all. For more information, including the draws and orders of play, head to the County Cup section of the LTA website.
All draws and results can be found by clicking the button below:
Draws & results