THE Rayleigh Junior Schools Tennis Tournament has taken place for the ninth year in succession.

The event gave hundreds of children the opportunity to play tennis as Rayleigh Lawn head coach Ryan Wilson and his team of assistant coaches went into the town’s junior schools to run class tournaments for all the Year 3 and 4 pupils.

Following that, all the individual class winners attended the finals of the competition, held at Rayleigh Lawn Tennis Club.

Four tournaments took place - Year 3 boys, Year 4 boys, Year 3 girls and Year 4 girls - with each tournament having around 200 children take part, meaning 800 schoolchildren participated.

The tournament stages in the schools were short matches to four points with each individual boy and girl class winner progressing to the final.

The tournament finals were all run in tie-break format and the participants were placed into groups, with the winners and runners-up progressing through to the semi-finals.

The girls finals started with the Year 4 tournament, which was contested by two Rayleigh Lawn players and won by Ayurda Saigal (Grove Wood), who beat Layla Rowe (Rayleigh Primary) 7-3 in the final.

This was Ayurda’s second year as champion, having last year won the girls Year 3 competition.

Grove Wood had three players in the semi-finals, as Connie Sutton and Tilly Hoar made it through the group stages.

The Year 3 girls tournament saw Amelia Higgs of Edward Francis crowned champion. Amelia beat Rayleigh Lawn club-mate Olivia Kais (Rayleigh Primary) 7-1 in the final.

Sunday saw the boys finals kick off with the Year 3 tournament.

The final was contested by Flynn Barker (Rayleigh Primary) and Frank Polley (Our Lady of Ransom). This proved to be the closest final of the weekend. The score was tied at 6-6, before Frank held his nerve to win the match 8-6. Riley Hughes and Lewis Borland, both of Edward Francis, made the semi-finals.

The finals finished with the Year 4 boys tournament. The first semi-final was an all Rayleigh Lawn affair, with last year’s Year 3 winner Zach Robinson (Wyburns) defeating Kylan Makris in the first semi-final. In the other half of the draw, Harry Rixon (Grove Wood) disposed of Teddy Basham (Our Lady of Ransom). This was the second year running Teddy had made it through to the semis.

In the final, Zach and Harry both put in great displays, having exceptionally long rallies, with Zach prevailing 7-2 to be crowned champion for the second year running.

A club spokesman said: “Apart from discovering local talent, the tournament was also about giving as many children as possible the opportunity to try tennis.

“Anyone who would like their child to try tennis in the school holidays should sign up for the Rayleigh Lawn Tennis Club summer camps or try the weekly classes that run through the school holidays.

“These can be booked at”