THIS year has been an exciting and very positive one for the junior section of Banbridge Tennis Club.
With the number of junior members growing steadily over the last few years, it was possible this year to enter eight teams into the Belfast and District Junior Leagues, comprising of five boys teams and three girls teams across the under 14 and under 18 age-range.
All the teams enjoyed the competitive experience and gained greatly in confidence as the matches progressed. Three of the boys teams were entered into separate divisions within the under 18 section.
The 'A' team was made up of some of our most experienced and talented players; Craig Campbell, David Beck, Ben Wilson and Chris Huey. This team equipped themselves very well in a competitive Division Three, securing four wins, one draw and one defeat.
This means that they finished as runners up and have qualified for the Knock-out Cup. The junior club would like to congratulate Craig, David and Chris for their achievements over the years in junior tennis and to wish them well as they move up to play at senior level.
The Under 18 B team also made progress and the boys, Niall Kelly, Hector DeCourcy-Wheeler, Ciaran Kelly and Tom Morrow were delighted to finish middle of the table.
They enjoyed close and competitive matches throughout the league and had decisive victories over Portadown and Hilden. Hector played some fantastic singles tennis when the pressure was on and Ben Jardine proved himself to be a very reliable and competitive substitute. Well done to all for a great team effort!
Continuing with boys tennis, this year the club was able to field three teams at under 14 level. They all enjoyed the experience of getting competitive matches at an appropriate level.
The 'A' team was made up of the junior players with the most match experience in the age group included Ben Jardine, Matthew McClune, Calvin Dillon-Burns and Conor Morrow in the ranks.
They were unlucky to lose to a strong Downshire team on their first outing but made up that ground by winning their subsequent matches to finish runners up in a highly competitive Division Two. Congratulations to the team and good luck for the knock-out cup.
The 'B' team also had a successful season with Peter Brown leading his team from the front as player number one! Also on the team were Ben Cosgrove, Bailly Dillon-Burns and Mark Goan. These boys finished a respectable third in their division with notable victories against Portadown and Bangor.
The C team consisted of another strong field of boys including Craig Campbell, Matthew McDonald, Alistair Orr, Mark McCoy and as substitutes, Alex Doogan, Joshua Edwards and Adam Wheeler.
This team gained valuable experience playing singles and doubles matches, including tie-breakers, for the first time in a competitive arena and they equipped themselves remarkably well finishing middle of their division. Watch out for these guys as they continue to develop their confidence and tennis style.
Now for the girls teams, three in total this year. The under 18 'A' team had a fantastic season coming top of their section, thanks to some wonderful tennis from Emma and
Ruth McNickle playing as first seeds and Alice Montgomery and Jayne Simpson playing as second pair.
They remained undefeated notching up three victories and two draws. They enjoyed close matches and had a particularly tough encounter against Cavehill, battling on an unfamiliar surface but they survived despite the pressure.
Congratulations to Jayne Simpson who won all her singles matches, and to Alice who partnered her and they remained victorious in doubles also. Certainly this is a team to look out for in the future especially as Banbridge can now boast a strong sister pairing to rival the famous Williams sisters, so watch out Serena and Venus! No
pressure Emma and Ruth!
The Girls 'B' team gained great experience and bonded well as playing partners this season. They were Rachel Russell and Leah Tranmer playing as first pair and Alex Huey and Rebekah Jardine, playing together as second pair.
They had some very close matches, which they all enjoyed. Thanks also to substitutes Rachael Suffern and Karen Waddell for their valuable contribution.
The Under 14 girls team had a very successful first season competing at this level. Sheena MacAuley played number one and her sterling efforts led this young team to three wins in five matches, another very respectable result at the end of the spring season.
Eimear Downey, Kate Searson and Olivia Loy made up the rest of the team and again watch out for these girls in the future. They showed real flair and promise in their first experience of competitive tennis.
Congratulations to all our young players for doing us proud on the courts. Good luck to our teams who are playing in the Knockout Cup. Thanks to everyone involved in supporting the Junior Club, our dedicated coaches, team managers, parent helpers and the hard working junior committee. It has truly been a team effort!