Ace juniors battle it out at county showdown

The winners of the Beds Junior County Closed Championships
The winners of the Beds Junior County Closed Championships

The annual Bedfordshire Junior County Closed finals were held at Riverside Tennis Club and proved to be a great showcase of young talent.

There were 128 entries from across Bedfordshire, playing more than 150 matches on the clubs’ nine courts over the six days of the event.

The week started with the mini events which saw some excellent matches and exceptional talent on display – showing a great promise that Bedfordshire may produce some stars of the future.

Charlie Searle won the boys’ Mini Red event for the second year in a row and Megan Brook was girls’ champion at Mini Red.

Megan went on to be runner-up in the Mini Orange event, with Elizaveta Verzhbitskaya taking the title.

In the main draw finals, Claudia Johnson was the outstanding player of the tournament alongside Shanice Marshall Sefia.

Both girls played in four finals – Claudia winning four and Shanice three.

Cluadia beat Shanice in the girls’ 16+U finals in a match lasting nearly four hours – saving four match points and coming through 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.

Local players Will Athow and Ben Faulkner claimed the 18+U singles and 21+U men’s trophies respectively.

It was a good week for Riverside Tennis Club players as a whole, who made up more than 50 per cent of the finalists and put in some solid performances along the way.

The prizes were presented by Nick Kier from Beds LTA, Paul Athow from Stitch That, Print That, and Tony Woolf.

Tournament referees Neil Frankel and Rob Stean thanked all involved, saying: “We were pleased to host the event for the 12th year in succession and have seen some remarkable talent on show throughout the week.

“The event gives local players an opportunity to be crowned as county champions and offers up-and-coming players a chance to break through into county squads which will commence training again in mid-September.

“The county are introducing a new coaching set-up and we hope to be able to include many of the players who have shone through this week.

“It’s the success of tournaments such as these, alongside the quality of players being developed within the county, that really cement the players’ pathway to excellence.”