The British Junior Handicap Singles Tournament 2017
Sponsored by The Dedanists' Foundation
Wellington College December 16th/17th 2017
The British Junior Handicap Singles Tournament was held at the Wellington College court for the first time. The event was sponsored by The Dedanists’ Foundation and attracted a record entry of 37 junior players. This record entry reflects the growing number of youngsters now playing our wonderful game.
The “B”grade event for players over 75 handicap was played on the Saturday. After many close fought matches the four youngsters who got through to the semi finals were Samm Daniel 85h/c (Wellington), Henry Henman 81h/c (Radley), James Parsons 88 h/c (RTC) and Julias Gasson 80 h/c (Oxford). Two more close matches resulted in a final between Samm & Henry which was won by Samm 6-1.
The “A” event for players of 75 handicap and better was played on the Sunday. The group stages produced semi finalists William Flynn 38 h/c (Seacourt), Hugo Pennant 69 h/c (Wellington), Toby Marriot 75 h/c (RTC) and Jack Kinnear 75 h/c (Wellington). Two high quality semi finals lead to the final between William & Hugo. William who had been successfully giving enormous handicaps all day finally succumbed to almost impossible odds as Hugo went on to win the coveted trophy 8-2.
Our thanks go out to Dan Jones and Adam Player for excellent marking throughout and to The Dedanists’ Foundation for their sponsorship.
Seacourt has a history for junior talent but there are currently far less juniors playing at the club than at any time in recent years. In an attempt to kick start a junior renaissance , The Dedanists' Foundation offered to fund 6 free junior memberships at the club (normally £75) plus 3 month’s free coaching. We took this offer along to the Board at Seacourt who were obviously delighted and decided to match our offer by also offering 6 more free places.
This gave us a total of 12 free memberships to offer plus a term’s free coaching. In order to reach out to a completely new generation of players our Ambassador, Paul Weaver contacted the Headmaster of the local state school, Hayling College and invited him to a meeting at Seacourt to have a look round and meet Alex Garside (MD) and Nino Merola (Head Pro). At that meeting Paul agreed to take 3 consecutive morning assemblies at the school to make a pitch to years 7,8 & 9 (age 11-15)
These assemblies took place on 2nd/ 4th October. Paul gave a short talk about the history of Real Tennis and pointed out the astonishing fact that 9 of the worlds' current professionals had previously attended school at Hayling College. The assembly was closed by showing the new Dedanists’ Foundation Real Tennis Promotional Video which went down really well.
Within 4 days Seacourt had received 36 applications for junior memberships! Although originally only 12 free memberships were on offer, the club wisely decided to make the most of this great recruitment opportunity and offered a 6 month free membership and free coaching for a term to all of the applicants. The “class of 2017” have just started their first coaching sessions. The Dedanists' Foundation believe that this format could be a blueprint for many other clubs to attract new junior players.
Bristol Club Open Day
On September 30th 2017 the Bristol Real Tennis Club held a Junior Open Day. The Dedanists’ Foundation supported and sponsored the event in the following ways:-
Designed and printed a flyer for the event.
Gave the club use of our Junior Kit Bag which contains 6 x junior rackets, 6 x goggles, cones, targets etc.
Designed and printed 2 large banners to go on the outside of the building to attract juniors attending the other sports facilities close to the Real Tennis Court.
Covered 50% of the costs of the day (courts etc).
Underwriting the cost of 3 groups of juniors attending ongoing regular group sessions up to a maximum of £400.
The Bristol club achieved exactly what it it set out to do and now has an ongoing program of junior tennis sessions. Enormous thanks to Chris Harland for all his hard work both on the day and in the build up to it taking place.
Spring Newsletter 2018