Junior players at Billingshurst Tennis Club have served up an ace season, winning big in the Sussex county team competition.
Billingshurst LTC entered ten junior teams into the highly-competitive Team Tennis Sussex leagues, which sees teams compete in singles and doubles matches against clubs from across the county.
All the club’s junior teams competed well, and three topped their leagues – the under-16 girls’ team of Olivia Falkner and Emily Sheehan; the under-14 boys’ A team of Olly Pepper and Travis Tiplady; and the under nines’ team.
The club’s junior section is thriving, with membership numbers increasing and playing standards showing a dramatic improvement following the introduction two years ago of a new coaching team, Matthews Tennis Coaching - run by LTA Level 5 Master coach Nigel Matthews.
The club saw a surge in their junior membership in 2017, and a dramatic improvement in their playing standards and results feeding through this year.
“It’s been a fantastic season for Billingshurst Tennis Club juniors this year and we’re very proud of them,” said club chair Jo Chambers.
“Our juniors now also feature heavily in both the senior ladies and men’s teams, which is great to see.
“The juniors have proved themselves to be excellent ambassadors in terms of how well they represent the club, win lose, or draw. It’s always about having fun, playing both competitively and fairly, and above all enjoying themselves.”
In recognition of their progress this year, two juniors, Olivia Falkner and Oliver Pepper, have been awarded a bursary to help develop their skills further, covering the costs of coaching and competition fees.
Last Sunday (September 10), the club’s courts were filled as both junior and senior players battled it out at the end of summer finals day. Supporters were treated to some thrilling matches, while enjoying some delicious home-made cakes and refreshments provided by club members.
“Finals day is always special and this year was no exception,” says tournament organiser Mark Snelgrove.
“The weather was perfect, and it was great to see some of our juniors competing in the senior events. It’s heartening to know the future of the club is assured with a whole new generation of keen tennis players.”
Finals day results: under-eights winner Harry, runner-up Jess; under-nine winner Arun, runner-up Luca; under-ten winner Arun, runner-up Sam; under-12 boys, Toby McGivern beat Laurie Mackarel 4-0, 4-1; under-14 boys, Olly Pepper beat Fred Snelgrove 6-3, 6-3; under-14 boys plate, Travis Tiplady beat Chris Goodier 6-1, 6-1; under-16 girls, Emily Sheehan beat Olivia Falkner 4-1, 4-0.
Seniors: men’s singles, Sam Phillips beat Simon Clifford 6-3, 6-4; ladies singles, Emily Sheehan beat Olivia Falkner 6-1, 6-1; men’s singles plate, Mike Rees beat Chris Goodier 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (5); Josephine Pratt (ladies singles plate), Selina beat Sarah Parrott 7-6, 6-4; men’s doubles, Phil Beicken and Simon Clifford beat Rob Falkner and Sam Phillips 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; ladies doubles, Denise Denny and Mandy Snook beat Janet Spicer and Sue Trinder 6-3, 6-3; mixed doubles, Olivia Falkner and Rob Falkner beat Olly Pepper and Emily Sheehan 6-3, 6-0.