Captain Mhairi Beattie and Sarah McFadyen will complete a remarkable journey next week when they turn out for the East of Scotland ladies tennis team in group one of the AEGON summer county cup at Bournemouth.
The pair are the only survivors of the team which started out in group seven before gaining promotion every year.
Included for the first time will be 15-year-old Anastasia Mikheeva, fresh from making her debut in the girls singles at the Wimbledon junior event, where she lost 4-6, 3-6 to the eventual winner, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
The East selectors have cast a wide net. Skipper Mhairi says: “Emma Devine is flying in from the University of Oklahoma where she has just completed second year studies and Jo Stevenson, originally from Kirkcaldy, now plays for Surbiton. There are several regulars with Sonia Vickers, Millie Stretton and Kirsty Venter all playing last year.
“Our opponents this time will be Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Cheshire, Warwickshire and Kent who are familiar rivals having been promoted with us last year.” East women open against Cheshire while the men, in Group Two at Cromer, Norfolk, begin their bid for a place among the elite against Derbyshire.
East men have will give a debut to 6ft 4in big-serving St Serfs prospect Andy Melrose in a team that also has Austin Coventry, formerly with Colinton, returning to play for the first time since the early 90s after relocating to London.
Skipper Alan Macdonald is forced to do without Graeme Dyce (university project), Ross Murdoch (injured), James McKie, who is coaching in the USA and Neil McPhee, who has work and family commitments.
However, Sam McNeill and Euan McIntosh have returned from college in the USA and Scott Duncan will be available depending on how far he progresses in a Futures tournament in Ireland where qualifying gets underway tomorrow.