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IC of GB vs IC of Bulgaria, 26th - 29th November

Match Report for IC of GB vs IC of Bulgaria
 
Date: 26th – 29th November
Where: Sofia, Bulgaria
Team: Paul Riley, Ashley Compton-Dando, Niall Sweeney, Stephen Woodley, Sally Godman, Siobhan Nicholson, Jackie Robinson, Vicky Van Thiel and Frankie Merz
 
IC of GB won by 13-3
 
Not only was this the inaugural match for IC of GB vs IC of Bulgaria but this was also the first match ever for the IC of Bulgaria so we were very honoured to be part of the ‘double’ inaugural match.
 
We made one Honorary International member of the IC of GB: Stefan Tsvetkov (main founder of the IC of Bulgaria).
 
Off the court, we could not have been treated better. Everything was organised for us and our supporters and the IC of Bulgaria’s generosity was fantastic. We sampled excellent Bulgarian food at two wonderful restaurants on the Thursday and Friday. Then on the Saturday we went to a traditional Bulgarian restaurant with Bulgarian traditional dancing as well as belly dancers.   
 
The Bulgarians were struggling to get players out to play in the match mainly because a lot of the players do not continue playing once they stop on the tour or after University. We hope that our visit with our wide ranging ages on the team inspired the Bulgarians to stay active by continuing to play tennis especially with the prospect of playing in other IC matches as something to practice for.
 
The main organisers of this match, Stefan and Borislava Tsvetkov, were particularly encouraged and realised the importance of building up the fixture list for the IC matches. The Bulgarians, compared to other European ICs are not that well off financially but Stefan realised that it is important to grow the fixture list so a suggestion to him was to also consider having local matches to keep the travel costs down including against the Bulgarian Juniors and / or Bulgarian University tennis team(s).   
 
It will be good to see how the IC of Bulgaria grows in their fixture list over the next few years. A return match date was not set but ideally we would like to aim for the IC of Bulgaria as our guest some time in 2011. It would also be good to invite the IC of Bulgaria as our pre-Wimbledon guests at some stage over the next few years.
 
The match venue had two indoor courts so we decided on the Friday to play 2 sets in each match and if it got to a set all, play a 10 point tie-break for the third set. The results were as follows:
Paul Riley vs Ilia Kushev – 2-6 1-6
Stephen Woodley vs Vladimir Bogdanov – 6-0 6-1
Sally Godman & Siobhan Nicholson vs Dora Rangelova & Dora Nikolova – 7-5 6-3
Jackie Robinson & Vicky Van Thiel vs Hristina Bratanova & Mariana Pechean – 6-2 6-0
Ashley Compton-Dando & Niall Sweeney vs Chavdar Ganev & Ilia Atanasov – 6-1 6-3
Frankie Merz & Stephen Woodley vs Dora Rangelova & Chavdar Ganev 3-6 (stopped due to time)
Score at the end of Friday was IC of GB – 4 IC of Bulgaria – 2.
 
On the Saturday, we decided to do the first to nine games format with a normal tie-break at 8-8. This was mainly to prevent a log of waiting to get on court due to having 2 courts. The results were as follows:
Paul Riley vs Ivo Bratanov – 3-9
Jackie Robinson vs Hristina Bratanova – 9-5
Siobhan Nicholson vs Borislava Tsvetkova – 9-5
Vicky Van Thiel & Frankie Merz vs Mariana Pechean & Ekaterina Genova – 9-1
Paul Riley & Sally Godman vs Stefan Tsvetkov & Hristina Bratanova – 9-2
Ashley Compton-Dando & Niall Sweeney vs Hristo Mihaylovski & Atanas Georgiev – 9-6
Stephen Woodley & Frankie Merz vs Ekaterina Genova & Atanas Georgiev – 9-2
Ashley Compton-Dando & Jackie Robinson vs Hristo Mihaylovski & Dora Nikolova – 9-8 (6)
Sally Godman & Siobhan Nicholson vs Borislava Tsvetkova & Dora Nikolova – 9-4
Stephen Woodley & Vicky Van Thiel vs Vladimir Bogdanov & Mariana Pechean – 9-0

Score at the end of Saturday was IC of GB – 9 IC of Bulgaria – 1 with the overall score being IC of GB – 13 IC of Bulgaria – 3.