THE Rayleigh junior schools tennis tournament has taken place for an 11th time. 

During Wimbledon fortnight Rayleigh Lawn's head coach Ryan Wilson and his team of assistant coaches went into the Rayleigh junior schools to run class tournaments for all Year 4 pupils.

And, on Sunday, all of the individual class winners attended the finals of the competition, held at Rayleigh Lawn Tennis Club.

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

The tournament finals were all run in tie-break format.

The participants were placed into groups, with the group winners - and runners up in the boys event - progressing to the semi finals.

The day started with the girl’s tournament and Rayleigh Primary had both their representatives, Poppy Michael and Lilly Stock, making it through to the semi finals.

Lilly lost out to Edward Francis' Ella Higgs in a hard fought match while Poppy managed a 7-5 win over Our Lady of Ransom pupil Isabelle Hookings in another tight match.

Ella and Poppy, who are both coached by Ryan Wilson and his team of assistants, put on a great show in the final with Ella triumphing 9-7 in a tense affair.

Echo: Fun afternoon - for the boy playing at Rayleigh LawnFun afternoon - for the boy playing at Rayleigh Lawn

The boys tournament followed and this time Grove Wood had two players reaching the semi-final stages, where Olly Lupton defeated schoolmate Seth Buckle.

The other semi final saw Wyburns' Jack Craig defeated in an excellent match by Edward Francis and another Rayleigh Lawn player Linus Easton.

Just like the girls final, it was an incredibly close affair that had several outstanding rallies before Olly pipped Linus at the post to win 7-5.

The event is an excellent way to give opportunities to youngsters, most of who don’t play tennis and along the way unearth some local talent.

A Rayleigh Lawn spokesman said: "So many of our junior players that joined our club on the back of this tournament, have stayed with us for a number of years.

"Many have progressed through the junior ranks and now represent our adult teams helping our club to become one of the most successful clubs in the area in both local and Essex wide competitions."

Several of the junior academy will also be competing at this Sunday's adult Southend and District Finals which is also being held at Rayleigh Lawn

They include 17-year-old Emily Thompson, who is in the ladies singles final and possibly 18-year-old Louis Rawley, who can make the mens singles final if he can get past Sam Wood of Deanes in the semi-final being played this week.


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