Head: Mr Phillip Stapleton
Tennis has become so strong at West Buckland in recent years, so Rachel Thompson, our Head of Tennis, has written the following summary of some of the key highlights in the sport across the whole school.
I strongly believe that there are some important benefits of playing tennis, including time for fun, the development of skill, strengthening of the mind and the opportunity for competition and tournaments which help to prepare our children for life through sport. I am, therefore, encouraged by the number of children continuing to take part in the West Buckland Tennis Programme and I love hearing about the success of our higher performing players!
The tennis summer season has been well under way for our West Buckland budding stars! Commitment to training has been excellent and our players continue to be determined and focussed.
They have travelled the counties of Devon and Somerset taking part in a number of competitions that help to stretch them and to challenge them both physically and mentally.
Our U9 county players have achieved success in singles’ and doubles’ competitions held in Ivybridge, Barnstaple, Bridgewater and Sherborne.
Whilst Freddie L has enjoyed a hat-trick of wins in Grade 4 U9 tournaments, his friends and training partners are hot on his heels. Lincoln B was the Bridgewater U9 singles’ runner up and Bradley L and Eric L finished 3rd and 4th respectively. A little more relaxed but still as competitive (I can assure you!), the boys are also enjoying the beginning of their doubles careers. Bradley L and Lincoln B successfully and proudly won the Bridgewater U9 doubles competition. Other U9 players are also broadening their horizons: Tommy W has enjoyed the opportunity to take part in a county mini tennis festival, while Jessica M and Molly P will be teaming up with Freddie L and Bradley L at the Devon Summer Games on the 19th June. Our Year 2’s all took part in the recent North Devon Schools tournament, with the A team finishing credibly as semi-finalists. They lost out to eventual winners, Ilfracombe.
In the senior school, Rodrigo A and Evie B are working hard at county level as well as gaining valuable experience on the U12 and U14 circuit (There have also been a few U18 challenges too – wow!).
Evie has taken part in singles competitions in Martock and Ivybridge (finishing 3rd place at both) and was the Grade 4 U14 singles winner at the Tarka Open.
Rodrigo has competed in Ivybridge, Taunton and Bridgewater, winning Grade 4 U12 singles titles twice. I’m convinced that as young doubles players too, they will follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before. The North Devon Tennis League offers great opportunities for this and Evie is already representing a local club.
Our senior players are also continuing to gain experience in the league and this can certainly be seen in the fine display of tennis in our school fixtures. Tom W and Jack P are a formidable duo as first pair in the senior boys’ team – they recently faced each other as opposition in a league fixture – I will let you ask them which team won! Becky H and Min M (first pair in the senior girls’ squad) also continue to play in between the complexities of A-level study and they are also playing well.
Our junior teams have enjoyed a full fixture to date and as well as a number of friendly fixtures, the Aegon competition has provided opportunity in both singles and doubles. Both our U15 girls and boys division 1 teams have achieved success: with the girls having shaken off several teams as well as the big dogs from Exmouth and are awaiting regional round 1 news. The boys achieved a historic victory over Ilfracombe Academy and will now play Exmouth (last years National winners at the same age) in the Devon Final. Strength in depth is always a bonus and it has been fantastic that we are able to field Aegon Division 1 and 2 teams at both competition age groups. This has meant that boys and girls in Years 7-10 have been subjected to a taste of the competition on offer.