Girls U21 years Handicap Singles
Report and Photos 2018
GIRLS Under 21 years HANDICAP TOURNAMENT
24th to 25th November 2018
at Radley College Tennis Court Club
sponsored by Beard
LRTA U21 Handicap Singles 2018
We were again fortunate enough to have the sponsorship of Beard Construction for this year’s competition for which we thank Mark Beard.
This year we had a slightly bigger entry than last year and with some new young entrants. Playing over 2 days there were 5 groups of 3 players playing up to seven games. In our youngest group and playing in her first ever tournament, aged only 10 years 6 months, was Clemmie Batstone who took to the court against Eloise Flynn who at aged 11 years had just a little more experience. At this age the ability to serve well gave the server an 80 % chance of winning the point. In this match Eloise raced to a 4 – 1 lead then Clemmie took the service end and with some tidy serving herself grabbed the next game to make it 2 – 4. Clemmie has a great eye for the ball and has already learnt some good footwork when she prepares to play the ball. Eloise then returned serve very effectively to move to 6 – 4 up but then it was Clemmie’s turn to serve well and reach 5 – 6 including saving a match point with a great cross- court forehand. However, Eloise managed to get down to the service end again, taking the next game and the match 7 – 5.
Eloise then had the advantage to stay on court to play 11-year-old Honor Vallet. With a win under her belt Eloise looked a little more confident and started using 2 different serves and cruised to a 5 - 1 lead in spite of Honor hitting some lovely attacking forehands. Honor dug in and with some good length serves pulled back to 3 - 5. However, again Eloise got down to the serving end and won the next 2 games and the match 7 – 3.
In the final group match Clemmie played Honor who was having to give ½ 15. It was game for game to start with until 3 – 3 when Clemmie held the serving end to go 6 – 3 up. Honor hit some more cracking forehands and saved a match point to reach 5 – 6 but then Clemmie served very accurately to win the set 7 – 5.
The first match on court on Sunday at 9 am was a group 1 game, which was made up with players with the lowest handicap. This was a tough group with some very tight matches. India Deakin (61) attacking every ball against new to the game Alexandra Reyner (77) from Oxford. Alex has a wonderful eye for the ball and moved around the court very fluently but being so new to the game found it difficult to play the ball off the back wall. This match went right to the wire 6 all 40 all with India winning the final point. Alexandra’s next match was against Cesca Sweet (61) another very talented player from Wellington and new to the game. Alexandra was a little more used to her borrowed racket and the court so it was always going to be a tough battle for Cesca giving 16 points away, Alexandra winning 7 – 5. The final group match India v Cesca was played off level. Both players were fearless in their play and were whizzing around the court retrieving well plus taking every opportunity to volley. On this occasion India emerged the winner 7 – 4. This meant that India and Alexandra went through to the knock out stages. It was a shame that Cesca could not go through as well, it would have been interesting to see her play in further matches.
Group 2 produced some tricky matches with Isolde Taylor (67), very new to the game Poppy Hinds (90) and Alice Milton (71). Issy first played in the competition in 2011 aged 10 and with a handicap of 115! Issy’s experience came into good use giving so many points away to clean hitting Poppy. With Issy winning 7 – 4. Poppy, having become a little more used to the court, played Alice and edged out the winner 7 – 3. Alice who has good timing when hitting the ball then played against Issy. By now Issy was hitting the ball very tightly into the corners of the court giving Alice little chance to show her skills. Issy winning 7 – 1.
The next group saw Olivia Boulton (81) Mollie Johnson (90) and Harriet Harries-Jones (82). Olivia who has been playing regularly cruised through both her matches against new to the game Mollie and out of practice Harriet, winning both matches 7 - 1. In the match to see who would go through as runner-up to the group Mollie played Harriet. Whilst Mollie hit some solid shots, Harriet kept her cool and played steadily to not give any free points away and won 7 – 1.
Our final group was Marina Eastwood (82), Zara Cherry (95) and Katie Walker (101). Marina played very consistently against new to the game Zara winning 7-0. Marina giving 19 points away then played much improved Katie who hit some beautiful attacking cross court forehands. The score did not reflect the evenness of the game, with Katie winning 7 – 0. Katie then continued on her roll against Zara and whilst Zara began to strike the ball more effectively Katie proved to be too strong winning 7-1.
So, on to our knock-out matches. Katie Walker now deemed “a bandit” had her handicap knocked down to 90 and played little Clemmie (99). This match went game for game until 4 – 4 with Katie making a surge to take the set 6 – 4. On the way, just to show how much she had improved, Katie had to beat chase ½ yard and slammed the ball into the dedans! In our next preliminary play-off, Marina Eastwood played steadily improving Eloise Flynn. Marina had to give away owe ½ 30 Eloise rec 30. With Eloise using her 2 new serves very effectively against Marina, a determined player was always playing catch up but Eloise won 6 – 3.
In the first of our quarter–finals Harriet Harries-Jones played Poppy Hinds. Harriet, despite giving 8 points away, played very consistently and hit some beautiful sidewall serves which kicked out into Poppy horribly! A 6 - 0 win for Harriet. Olivia Boulton came on next to play Alexandra Reyner. This was a most entertaining match with Olivia showing how much her technique had improved and was hitting splendid return of serves into both the forehand and backhand corners. Unfortunately, Alexandra couldn’t quite get the right length with her previously attacking and bounding serve which resulted in her frequently being on the back foot. She did however take every opportunity to volley the ball very effectively when given half the chance. In the end it was a 6 – 2 win for Olivia. In our third quarter-final we saw India Deakin having to give owe ½ 30 rec 30 to Katie Walker. Katie played really well when allowed to but India read the ball well and had an answer for everything resulting with a 6 – 1 win to India. The last quarter-final saw Isolde Taylor v Eloise Flynn. Issy was owe ½ 30 - Eloise rec 30. Issy knew she had to keep the serving end and this she managed to do for much of the time not allowing Eloise into the game and use her effective serving with a result of a 6 - 2 win for Issy.
In our first semi-final India Deakin (61) played Harriet Harries-Jones (82). India continued with her beautiful attacking play but she was giving 20 points away to a very consistent Harriet. India played well catching up many points in each game but the odd error here and there just blew her efforts and the game away and Harriet was the victor 6 – 1. The second semi-final saw Olivia Boulton (79) rec 15 v Isolde Taylor (67) owe ½ 30. Whilst Issy served well and is much stronger these days at digging balls out of the backhand corner, this wasn’t enough to hold off Olivia who was by now playing miles better than her handicap suggested, winning 6 – 2.
So we had our finalists – Harriet Harries-Jones (82) v Olivia Boulton (79) who were required to play an 8-game set in the final. Olivia got off to a cracking start and went into a 2 – 0 lead demonstrating a variety of serves and hitting the ball with accurate width into the corners of the court. Harriet pulled back a game and she hit the ball well and to a reasonable length but she didn’t move Olivia around the court and many of her shots were played down the middle of the court allowing Olivia back into the rally. Harriet sneaked another game when she was 1 – 4 down. However, it was always going to be Olivia’s match as she retrieved well and hit her shots off both wings so sharply. The final score being 8 – 2 to Olivia.
Many thanks to Mark Beard, Chairman of Beard Partners in Construction our sponsors, who kindly came along to watch the final and present the prizes.
Our thanks also to Radley College for allowing us to host the competition at the school and to Nino and Benedict for their excellent marking.