Exmouth Community College team net top national tennis title
PUBLISHED: 18:56 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:56 12 December 2018
Exmouth Community College (ECC) year seven and eight (Under-14) boys' team have been crowned national schools tennis champions after a nail-biting finish to the championship finals held in Bolton, Greater Manchester, writes Sam Saxby.
The team of five, comprising Ben Johnson, Chris Denton, Lucas Urquiza, Alfie Woodger and Sam Sidgwick, had previously battled their way through district, county and regional tournaments to reach the championship finals.
Along the way they had taken on and beaten teams from a number of highly ranked and prestigious schools such as Millfield, Truro School and Bournemouth Collegiate School.
The only team from a state school to make it to the championship finals, the boys from ECC won their opening matches against Merchiston Castle (Edinburgh) and Trent College (Nottingham) without losing a rubber before taking on the number one seeds Culford (Suffolk) in the decider.
Needing to win four of the six rubbers, wins from Chris Denton, Lucas Urquiza and Alfie Woodger in the singles left the team leading 3-2, but still requiring a win in the final doubles match to become national champions.
With the boys taking on highly ranked opponents, the pairing of Ben Johnson and Chris Denton managed to take the decider 6-3 to ensure that the team won the championship.
Head coach Liam Storey, who has worked with the youngsters at ECC for nine years, said: “The boys worked hard and were a great team all weekend.
“They showed immense support for each other and behaved professionally both on and off the court. A well-deserved national title for ECC!”
Storey continued: “The boys always show commitment in training, and they have had some great support from their coaches, not least Derek Blackmore, and they are fortunate to have top class facilities at LED Tennis Centre in Exmouth. But in the end, it’s them that went out on the court and won it, and full credit to them for their efforts.”