National Schools Tennis Championships 2021

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14 July 2021

After a fallow year in 2020 due to the pandemic, the LTA's flagship school's tennis event resumed in 2021 at the Nottingham Tennis Centre. The finals see the top 16 boys and top 16 girls teams in the country compete over 4 days of matches

Ralph Allen school U-18 boys team qualified for the finals by defeating Colston's, Prior Park and Beechen Cliff in the regional round. The girls team 'pre-qualified' and were amongst the favourites to win their event.

The teams travelled up to Nottingham on July 6 and stayed on the campus of the nearby Nottingham University. Matches started the next day.

The girls comfortably defeated Eastbourne College by 6 rubbers to 0 to move into the quarter finals whilst the boys were defeated 1-5 by a strong Merchiston Castle side ( 2019 winners) and moved into the plate.

The girls continued to play well in defeating Putney HS 4-2 and Culford 4-2 to reach the final against number 4 seeds, Surbiton. 

After a walk over vs Bromsgrove (covid), the boys had a titanic struggle in the plate semi-final v Thorpe St Andrew eventually winning 4-2 after nearly 5 hours of matches.

Saturday 10 July was finals day. The boys had another long battle, this time in the plate final  against Claires Court eventually losing 1-4. This placed them 10th out of 16 which represented a creditable performance. The boys squad of Archie, Rufus, William and Sam did the school proud and with most returning next year represent another opportunity to progress further.

The girls had a tough fixture with Surbiton. With most of the girls in both teams 'knowing each other', the match became competitive with some long rallies. Eventually the superior fire power of Ralph Allen proved to be the difference and resulted in a 4-2 victory. 

Well done to the girls squad of Grace, Amy, Olivia, Lola and Elsa . The girls were fantastic ambassadors for the school and can rightly feel proud of their achievements. For Grace and Olivia, it was a fitting way to end their RAS school careers.

A huge thank you to Cristina Richards who assisted me on the trip and to Chris Starkey, to Craig Proctor and Barry Scollo from Team Bath Tennis for all their technical and tactical input. Also, credit is due to our sponsor, Tallis of Bath, and to John Moore Sport for providing the playing kit.

Paul Wickens

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