SOMERSET’S Over-35s women’s team, who only gained promotion to Division 1 last year, took the Inter-County Tennis Championships title at the first time of asking on the grass courts at Eastbourne.

The Championships were held between 44 counties, divided into 11 groups of four teams for the tournament, which took place on the 25-27 August.

Somerset’s women’s team, consisting of captain Rachel Apsey, Ellie Lewis, Natalie Ackland and Kerry Quirk, got off to the perfect start by beating last year’s champions Middlesex 3-0. 

They followed this the next day with a very tight 2-1 defeat to local rivals Devon, meaning three teams were in with a shout for the title going into the final day’s play. 

Somerset played Dorset and after a closely fought first singles match, with Kerry Quirk edged out in a tense tie-break, doubles partners Rachel Apsey and Ellie Lewis won their game comfortably leaving the title delicately poised. 

Natalie Ackland won the final singles match, against the Dorset number one, to see Somerset crowned champions for the first time in the event’s history.