Young aces shining bright at Riverside

Youngsters battled it out at the Riverside Junior Open
Youngsters battled it out at the Riverside Junior Open

The ‘Stitch That Print That’ Junior Tennis Championships were held at Riverside Tennis Club over half term and proved to be as exciting as ever with a week jam packed full of local success.

The event was one of a handful of tournaments over the Winter season to be awarded LTA Grade 3 status.

This meant that it was truly a national standard tournament with players from all over the country coming to compete.

More than 300 players entered from around the country and competed over seven days. There were over 350 matches played on the clubs’ nine courts, including some excellent performances from Riverside players.

The week started with the Mini events which saw some close fought matches and some exceptional talent on display from the stars of the future.

In the Mini Red Finals, Riverside’s Rafe Wilmer and Daniel Doherty came second and third respectively after some tough fought competition.

Riverside players had more success in the Orange event, with Ezra Annafi battling through to take second and Megan Howlett coming third in the girls’ event. In the 10+U category, local players Megan Brook and Madeline Whitley also impressed.

Other local success was completed in the older age groups where Bedfordshire’s Callum Cawsey served and volleyed his way to claim the 12+U boys’ title with some fine performances.

Claudia Johnson retuned back to her home club to make her way through to the girls’ 18+U finals and eventually lost out to Aziza Aubin.

The prizes were donated and presented by Paul Athow from Stitch That Print That.

Tournament referee Rob Stean thanked all involved, saying: “This tournament was a great event from start to finish, displaying some excellent tennis.

“I would like to pay a special thank you to the organising committee, referees, court supervisors and helpers who played a massive part in the smooth running of the event.

“The event showcased some of the hottest Riverside talent up against some of the best players in the country and gives most of our players the chance to see where improvements need to be made.”

Director of tennis Neil Frankel was pleased with the how the week went for the Riverside Players, adding: “It’s been a fantastic week for the club – alongside the smooth running of the biggest annual tournament in the county, Riverside won three categories in the AEGON British Tennis County Awards.

“We’re delighted to accept Club of The Year, Disability Programme of The Year & also proud of Will Feaver who won Young Volunteer of The Year.

“We’ve now qualified through to Regional selections in these categories and look forwards to hearing whether we can progress to the National Award Ceremony.”