Holbrook is a hotbed for young talent

THE small village of Holbrook looks set to produce some of the county's tennis stars of the future following a hugely successful season on court for its club and primary school.

Stuart Watson

THE small village of Holbrook looks set to produce some of the county's tennis stars of the future following a hugely successful season on court for its club and primary school.

Holbrook Tennis Club's junior section has rapidly expanded and improved since the introduction of development and performance squads by head coach Richard Daynes.

And it is at the very bottom of the age scale that the club has been most successful this season, its Mini Red team (4-7 years) becoming the inaugural winners of the Tennis East Champions League.

The young side - comprising of Thomas Armitage, Ross Spinner, Max Pittman and Ben Winter - began their campaign in the brand new 42-team competition back in May when they won an initial zonal qualifying event at Copleston.

This qualified them for the County Finals at Bury's Culford School last month where they defeated five other clubs to become Suffolk champions.

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Holbrook then went up against the respective county qualifiers from Norfolk and Cambridge in a Masters Final at Framlingham College. There, victories over EA Tennis (Norfolk) and Cambridge LTC set up a final against Norfolk's Bannatyne's LTC and, with the match tied at three wins each, Holbrook won a tense tie-break shoot-out 2-1 to become champions.

Success has been mirrored at Holbrook Primary School where pupils have been gripped by tennis fever.

Such is the interest in the sport that the school has been able to enter 11 different teams into competition this year, with 29 children playing for various teams.

Of those 11 teams, five made County Finals. Three of those - year six mixed, year five boys and year five mixed - were crowned county champions, while the year three boys finished runners-up and the year five girls came fourth.

In addition, the school's internal spring term competition proved very popular, with 121 children taking part. The very youngest children undertook tennis skills lessons, while the older pupils played matches.

All of the children earned points for their team, the Yellow and Green teams sharing the trophy with 244 points each, while individual winner and runners-up certificates were awarded for each age group.

The school continues to enjoy strong links with Holbrook Tennis Club thanks to the Suffolk School Partnership (SSP) providing funding for one of the club's coaches to come in and offer lunchtime lessons to year five and six pupils. The SSP has also contributed tennis equipment to the value of £280.

This has meant that the majority of the school's pupils have given tennis a try and, as a result, many have joined Holbrook Tennis Club's Saturday morning junior tennis sessions.

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