Ipswich School's tennis success

IPSWICH School's boys' tennis team gave a good account of themselves in the National Schools' Championship Finals despite missing two key players.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH School's boys' tennis team gave a good account of themselves in the National Schools' Championship Finals despite missing two key players.

It was the third year in a row that the Suffolk school have qualified for the right to contest the Glanvill Cup after a strong qualifying campaign culminated in a convincing 10-2 victory over Chemsford's King Edward VI.

The five-man squad of Mark Hemy, Alex Beynon, Harry Martin, Matt Heal-Cohen and Will Shephard had been responsible for such comfortable progression to the finals, however, due to various circumstances, it was a new look squad that travelled to Hertfordshire's Queenswood School.

With Martin away playing international hockey in the Netherlands and Matt Heal-Cohen on a school expedition to the Peruvian Andes, Andy Reid (who alongside Matt Richardson had featured in the successful cup run) and Sam Heal-Cohen stepped in as replacements on the biggest stage.

Ipswich could have done without such disruptions against such strong opposition and they duly lost all four singles matches in the first round of matches against Langley Park School.

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In the first round of the consolation event the Suffolk side were handed a tough draw against last year's beaten semi-finalists Richard Huish College and once again they lost all four singles matches.

The third match against South Lyme School was the first time the Ipswich boys were given a chance to express themselves against opponents of a similar standard.

Sam Heal-Cohen, in his first match at this level, battled well to win in two close sets before Reid followed suit with another impressive straight sets victory.

The number two singles was another close affair, with Beynon battling back to win 10-3 in the third set match tie-break. Hemy then produced the performance of the day in winning the second set against a highly rated opponent and, despite losing the deciding set, can take great heart from some of the tennis produced.

Excellent wins from Reid and Hemy in the number one doubles and Beynon and Shephard in the second string eventually gave Ipswich a comfortable 5-1 win.

The school's final match against Loughborough Grammar School was once again close. Reid produced his best performance of the week to win at number four and Shephard surprised everyone with a comprehensive win against a previously unbeaten player.

Beynon came back from losing the first set to win, Hemy narrowly lost to the opposition's number one, while wins in both doubles gave Ipswich a 5-1 aggregate win.

That result meant that Ipswich finished the finals with two wins and two defeats to finish a commendable 13th place overall considering the absentees.

Ipswich School tennis coach James Ashton said: “The boys can be proud of the tennis played during the week. All five of them played very well at times and with three of the team available again next year the future looks bright for tennis at Ipswich School.”

IPSWICH School's successful run in tennis's Glanvill Cup has capped a superb season for them in the sport across a variety of age groups.

No fewer than four of the school's sides have won county titles this year, while a further team lost just one match to finish runners-up.

The Under-13 girls' and boys' teams were the first to secure county titles at Framlingham last month.

The U13 boys team - made up of Henry Cutting, Luke Edmond, Darren Kappala-Ramsamy and Henry Patten - began the finals with a match against Orwell Park School which they comfortably won 6-0.

They went on to face Woodbridge School in the final, again winning 6-0, to secure the county title.

Meanwhile, the U13 girls' team of Hannah Martin, Katie Reid, Natasha Heal-Cohen and Mollie Fry drew 3-3 with Brandeston Hall but still went through to the final on total number of games won.

In the final, despite an excellent performance from Heal-Cohen, Woodbridge School won 6-0. This was the only match that the Ipswich School girls lost in a very successful season.

The U15 girls' team began their county campaign with a 4-2 victory over Bury's King Edward VI before taking on Culford School in the final.

Annabel Driver and Lizzie Devenish got Ipswich School off to a strong start, winning their doubles 6-2, while Abigail Thompson won her singles by 6-3.

The performance of the day came from Amber Papenfus, who defeated her highly-rated singles opponent 6-4 before teaming up with Thompson to win their doubles match.

Wins from Devenish and Driver, the latter battling back from 5-3 down to win by 7-6, gave Ipswich School an excellent 6-0 victory and the county title.

Ipswich's U15 boys' A team faced Woodbridge in the county final. Alex Flory went down 7-6 after having match points at 5-3, while Sam Heal-Cohen ground out a 6-4 victory.

Harry Martin and Andy Reid won their doubles match 7-5, Flory and Heal-Cohen also won their doubles encounter convincingly, while Andy Reid won his singles match 6-2.

Martin and Woodbridge's Matthew Kirby, two of the best players in the county at this age group, provided a singles game which was excellent to watch. With the match going to serve until 4-4, Martin secured the crucial break and served out for a 6-4 win to give Ipswich School a 5-1 victory overall and the county championship.

Elsewhere, Ipswich's U15 B team - comprising of Henry Arrell, Jonathan Palmer, James Wheaton, Thomas Sawden, Jim Davis and James Murray - was unbeaten throughout the season, wins over King Edward's School (5-1) and St Felix (4-2) securing the county title.

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