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Players face cream of Essex in singles
5:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
A HOST of south Essex players took part in an annual singles tournament featuring some of the county’s leading players.
Thorpe Bay’s Harry Randle and Thundersley’s Chris Gardiner fared best at the Bryan Watts-Eddie Kirtland Autumn Singles Tournament.
The event pitched Essex’s seniors and most promising junior players in a two-day event that formed part of the selection for the LTA Inter-County Winter Singles Championships.
Among the other south Essex players were Westcliff Hardcourts’ Andrew Berry, Chris’ brother Paul Gardiner, Rayleigh’s Nick Hilder, Hockley’s John Western, Leigh’s Jack Stammers and Peter French from Billericay.
Chris Gardiner lost 6-2 6-0 in the semi-final of the main event to eventual winner Richard Wire, who beat Ilford’s David Wright 6-1 6-4 in the final.
The Loughton player is a former junior national champion and will lead the Essex team in Bath for their Division One campaign in the inter-county championships after the county won promotion from Division Two in 2012.
Randle continued his good form this year by defeating Jared Linzell 6-4 6-2 in the final of the A group consolation playback.
The Thorpe Bay players successes this year include winning the Essex Closed Men’s Singles event and his home club’s singles championship.
Berry also indicated his increasing potential by winning matches in his consolation playback events.
Essex County chiefs hope that integrating younger players with seniors will speed up their progress in the sport.
The tournament was held at the county LTA headquarters in Redbridge and is named in memory of well known south Essex player Bryan Watts and after Essex Tennis’ current sponsor Eddie Kirtland.