School bids for LTA club status

Amberfield School are hoping to register as an official Lawn Tennis Association club following another fantastic season of success on the courts.

By Stuart Watson

Amberfield School are hoping to register as an official Lawn Tennis Association club following another fantastic season of success on the courts.

Altogether, seven varying age groups within the independent girls' school have reached county finals this year, the under-15 team also going on to reach the Nestle Team National Schools quarter-finals.

Amberfield's Director of Tennis Kathy Martin said: “It is such a big achievement for such a small school of around 250 pupils to get to the national quarters.

“A lot of the schools that we came up against, the likes of Queenswood for example, are known for bringing in established club players on tennis scholarships, whereas all our girls though have learnt and developed their tennis at Amberfield.

“I think that is the way it should be, with schools identifying talent first and then pushing them on to clubs after that, not the other way round.

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“We are now hoping to register as an LTA club so that the girls can play for us as a club and as a school. We have already received a grant from the LTA which I am planning on putting towards a new fitness programme.”

The Under-15 team of Florence Irvine, Maddison Jones, Sophie Maitland and Amber Rainford, started their successful run by winning the County tournament.

Then, in the regional finals, Amberfield beat Thorpe St Andrew in the semi-final and the Perse School, Cambridge in the final.

In the National quarter-final, Amberfield played at the David Lloyd Centre in Basildon, where they were narrowly beaten by The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Middlesex by four sets to two.

Irvine beat her opponent 6-0 in the singles and, with her doubles partner Rainford, they had a close match to narrowly lose 4-6.

Jones and Maitland won 6-1 in the doubles, while Maitland lost 6-4 in her singles match.

Martin said: “We start tennis with them in nursery school with Saturday afternoon fun sessions. Then, in school, we really do start with them from year one.

“It really does make a great deal of difference when you can coach them from that early age because they want to learn and have no pre-conceived ideas.”

With the majority of pupils at Amberfield School playing tennis at some level, the school grateful for the use of the Next Generation Gym for their facilities.

While the school has two outdoor tennis courts, they are now hoping that LTA status will lead to further funding to create two new courts.

Amberfield School's Tennis Roll of Honour

U15 'A': Maddison Jones, Sophie Maitland, Florence Irvine, Amber Rainford and Posy Ash.

National quarter-finalists.

U8 'A' Mini Red: Nia Braidford, Amelia Williams, Natalie Wills and Katherine Shaw.

Suffolk champions.

U8 'B' Mini Red: Hannah Stokes, Eloise Head, Louise Dickman and Isabelle Meredith.

Suffolk runners-up.

U10 Mini Orange: Victoria Christie, Emily Gorham, Isabelle Marsh and Liberty Galvin.

Suffolk runners-up.

U11 Mini Green: Anya Foster, Olivia Stokes, Alice Deakin, Rosie Green, Flora Hill, Rachel Ryan, Victoria Christie and Emily Gorham.

Suffolk runners-up, Framlingham College Festival runners-up.

U8 Mini Red Mixed: Nia Braidford, Amelia Williams, Natalie Wills and James Deakin.

Third in Suffolk.

U11 Team: Flora Hill, Rachel Ryan, Abbie Hutchinson and Tallulah Mansfield.

Third in Premier Division.

Ella Wood Trophy Squad: Emily Gorham, Kiara Hammond, Isabelle Marsh, Amelia Williams, Natalie Wills, Eloise Head, Hannah Stokes, Rebecca Taylor.

Amberfield won the Ella Wood trophy for the ninth year running.

National Junior Club U12 team: Lara Chittick and Flora Hill.

Suffolk League Division Two champions.

Suffolk Schools Event

U15 doubles winners: Florence Irvine and Olivia Vartan.

U11 doubles runners-up: Flora Hill and Rachel Ryan.

U15 singles runner-up: Florence Irvine.

Suffolk Closed Tennis Tournament

U8 Winner: Nia Braidford.

U9 Runner-Up: Victoria Christie.

U14 Winner: Maddison Jones.

U16 Runner-Up: Maddison Jones.

Mini Red, Orange and Green Grand Final

10 Amberfield girls qualified for this event.