Young players from a Fulham primary school have won the 2018 London Youth Games tennis tournament… beating 25 teams to the title.
Four youngsters from All Saints CofE primary in Bishops Avenue represented Hammersmith & Fulham at the ‘mini orange’ tournament, named after the lighter orange ball used in the junior version of the sport.
The year 5 and 6 stars – Joshua, Theo, Maia and Maya – took part in the games after triumphing in the H&F primary schools tennis tournament in May.
After winning all their individual matches at the London Youth Games, staged at the Redbridge sports centre in east London on 14 June, the All Saints team topped their group and went through to the semi-finals.
They were drawn against Newham, who had also won their group without losing a match, and who were favourites to lift the trophy having won it for the last two years.
After a tough match, with some rallies lasting 20 shots, the score was 2-2, with the All Saints team being declared 19-16 victors, based on the total number of winning shots.
In the final, against a team from the City of Westminster, the Hammersmith & Fulham youngsters won 3-1, achieving 28 points to Westminster’s 14.
It was all incredibly tight, with 12 of the matches being won or lost by a single point.
All Saints were later praised for their sportsmanship after shaking the hands of each opponent and umpire after ever match.
Despite competing against large inner-city primary schools with twice the number of pupils to draw on, All Saints clinched gold.
Delighted head teacher Carol Gray described the victory as “fantastic”.
“I’m extremely proud of our year 5 and 6 players,” she said, adding that the school was fortunate to be located opposite the Bishops Park tennis courts where pupils from the school play in clubs before lessons start, and take part in coaching after class.
Mini orange tennis is designed to help players aged 8 and 9 improve their skills before taking part in matches on full-size courts. Shorter rackets and softer orange balls are used, making the game 50% slower than regular tennis.
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