After beating both Millfield School and St Peter’s High School Gloucester at the LTA Team Tennis National School Championships Regional Finals, the Claires Court Year 10 team qualified for the National Finals at Bolton Arena on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 December. The team, competing as one of the top four schools in the country from the 600 schools that entered in April, were ranked second for the finals; behind Culford School an establishment well-known for its excellence in tennis.
The round-robin tournament saw the squad take on Lancaster School, Merchiston Castle (Scotland) and Culford School, playing both doubles and singles games as part of the matches.
The Claires Court team of Seb Harris, Seb Tong, Jack Chapman, Nic Goslar and reserve/youngster Freddie Ridout, arrived at 8am at the impressive Bolton Arena. After the warm-up, the boys took to the court for their first fixture against Lancaster School. Beginning with the doubles, Claires Court got off to a flying start and holding their nerve to the end won their first match 4-2, in convincing style.
The afternoon saw them taking on a hard-hitting Scotland’s Merchiston Castle. It was always going to be a closely fought game, but Claires Court claimed the victory after a championship tie-break, in which Harris and Chapman played a superb game of doubles battling right to the end, the team winning four of their six games.
Leaving the arena on Saturday evening after 11 hours on court, the boys albeit tired, were buzzing after the day’s results knowing that they had secured at least second place in the National Finals. For Sunday’s game against Culford School the number one ranked side, Claires Court had nothing to lose, it was down to Culford to prove they were the best side there. After a closely fought match that came right down to the last singles game, when captain of the side Harris played to decide the winner, Culford School beat Claires Court four games to two and claimed the national title.
Jo Cox, Team Coach and Head of PE said, “It was a truly fine display of talent by each of the boys, with some outstanding play and highlights, including Goslar coming from 0-4 down to win his singles game against Merchiston Castle, Tong winning all of his matches the entire weekend and lastly; Chapman and doubles star Harris holding their nerve in the Championship Tie Break against Merchiston Castle to win 10-5 which resulted in Claires Court finishing in an extremely creditable second place.”
Photo: Freddi Ridout, 11 (reserve), Nic Goslar, 13, Seb Harris, 16, Seb Tong 15, Jack Champman 14