NEWS Stories from 2023
Hayling College Initiative 2023
On September 11th/12th Paul Weaver was able to return to return to The Hayling College after a 3-year COVID gap. Paul was ably assisted by Max Trueman the current World Junior Champion and an ex-pupil of the college.
With the support of the Dedanists’ Foundation and a contribution from the Seacourt Junior Fund, we were able to offer a free 6-month trial membership of Seacourt with free group Real Tennis coaching sessions to a maximum of 24 youngsters on a first come first served basis.
On Monday morning Paul took the year 7 Assembly at the college followed by the year 8 pupils Assembly on Tuesday. This included a talk about the Real Tennis court on Hayling and the great history that exists between the college and Real Tennis with about 12 ex-pupils who are currently professional players! They were also shown the Dedanists’Foundation promotional video on Real Tennis.
The response has been great and Paul is now on court with them every Saturday and Wednesday coaching 12 youngsters who are completely new to the game.
The British Junior Singles Championships
Queens Club London August 18th - 20th
A record number of junior players entered this year's junior championships at Queens. As well as the elite level juniors that went on to win the trophies there were a large number of youngsters who were fairly new to the game. The unique format of this tournament allows juniors of a similar handicap to play each other first before the better players get involved.
Many of the 42 young hopefuls that took part found the game through Dedanists’ Foundation initiatives at their respective clubs.
The Dedanists Pro-Am Doubles
Left to right, Richard Compton-Burnett,Stewart Lucudi, Lewis Williams,Rob Fahey
Left to right, Ian Hawkey, Rob Fahey, Chris Marguerie, Michael Llewelyn-Jones, Lewis Williams, Rob Fahey
Left to right, Ben Taylor-Matthews, Michael Llewelyn-Jones, Jonny Saunders, Rob Fahey
We held the 17th annual Dedanists Handicap Doubles Pro Am on 5th July 2023 at Queen’s. It was a great success and raised funds to be shared by the Dedanists’ Society and the Dedanists’ Foundation. The Society runs the British Real Tennis Academy for the best young players in the country. The Foundation funds clubs to recruit new young players and schools into the game
Sixteen amateur players, mainly Dedanists, paid £550 each to play and donate. With handicaps ranging from 23 to 65, they were representative of the amateur game as a whole. They each played three round-robin matches against amateurs of similar handicap for a place in the semi-finals - and played with four or more different professionals in the process.
We are especially grateful to the pros for playing in this tournament. Their very presence persuades amateurs to enter and donate. They moderate their play to bring out the best in amateur partners and opponents. They entertain us with the quality of their play and banter. They encourage us with gems of good advice. It’s great fun to be on court with them.
The players were as follows:
Rob Fahey, Dan Jones, Andrew Lyons, Bryn Sayers, Josh Smith, Ben Taylor-Matthews & Lewis Williams.
Ben Cawston ,Richard Compton-Burnett, Chris Marguerie, Simon Cripps, John McVittie, Tony Friend, David Mills,, Ian Hawkey, Colm O’Shea, Stewart Licudi, Luke Readman, Michael Llewelyn-Jones, Jonny Saunders, Andrew Lowenthal, , Mark Stevenson, Graham Marks, Willie Wilks.
Markers: Howard Angus & Neil Mackenzie.
Stewart Licudi, Willie Wilks, Johnny Saunders and Giles Michael Llewelyn-Jones won through to the semi-finals. Howard Angus reported that the standard of tennis in this year’s tournament was as high as ever. Michael Llewelyn-Jones beat Johnny Saunders in the final. At dinner, Josh highlighted the special achievements during this season of the British Academy and the Dedanists’ Foundation. David Mills, chairman of the Foundation, awarded the trophy and prizes with his own blend of sharp wit and racy humour.
Thank you to Josh, Carl and David for organising such a splendid day.
We have extended our Junior initiative, run jointly with the T&RA, to run over the school summer holiday period.
This initiative offers more than 2000 T&RA members, a chance for their children/grandchildren to have a free lesson at their nearest Real Tennis court over the school holidays this summer. For more details email Paul Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Junior Tennis comes to the MCC
Chris Bray is the new Head Professional at the MCC court. One of his first objectives has been to try and create a junior section at the club for the first time. Chris is one of the country's leading experts on coaching junior players and he came up with an ambitious plan to set aside 16 hours of courts over the week commencing 7th August.
The aim is to provide complimentary lessons for up to 40 juniors age 11 -16. The target market is the children/grandchildren of MCC members plus their friends, and pupils from local state schools. The programme will be 80% funded by the Foundation and the objective is to find enough youngsters who want to play regularly to set up a weekly session for them at the club.
The PLH Cup Final 2022/23 Season
Victory for Seacourt in a thrilling Final at Wellington
The final of this season’s PLH Inter-Club junior team competition took place on Sunday 11th June on the Wellington College court. The tournament is sponsored each year by The Dedanists’ Foundation. 12 junior teams entered the event and the two clubs that made it through to the final were Seacourt and RTC. As the matches are played off handicap, the final was expected to be close and it was, with Seacourt winning the title in the final rubber. The trophy was presented to the Seacourt team by David Mills, Chairman of The Dedanists’ Foundation. This inter-club junior team competition is aimed at giving juniors who are relatively new to the game a chance to take part in team matches and meet their junior counterparts from other clubs.
Left to Right, Alex Boulton, Tom Wallace & Will New
Paul Weaver with the RTC team (right) and the Seacourt team (left)
The Dedanists' Foundation Cup
National U15/U19 Handicap Doubles Tournament
The inaugural running of a new National Junior Real Tennis Tournament took place at the Bristol club over the weekend of 29th/30th April.
24 juniors from 8 different clubs took part, hoping to be the first to get their names on the Dedanists' Foundation Cup.
Taking this event to the Bristol club turned out to be a great success with a large number of parents and club members coming along to watch. In the U15 event on Saturday two very close round-robin groups produced four semi-finalist pairs. Bristol pair Caspian Rugg & Rafa Tujillo played twins ,Rose & Oliver Kay from the Hyde club in the final with Rose & Oliver coming out on top to win the trophy.
The U19 section was played on Sunday. Many close matches in over 4 hours of play produced a finalists, with Catherine & William James from RTC playing the local pair Elliot Watkins & Archie Campbell. In an entertaining match the Bristol pair struggled to overcome a large handicap difference and the title went to Catherine & William. A great weekend for siblings with both the U15 and the U19 events won by brother/sister pairings!
The tournament a s a whole was a great success with Bristol already signing up to run it again next year. Many thanks go out Ben Coleman who marked the entire event and to the Bristol parents who provided a great lunch on both days.
The Dedanists' Foundation is delighted to be the sponsor. As a handicap event it very much fits in with our core objective of encouraging young players of all standards to take up and enjoy the game of Real tennis.
The Dedanists’ Foundation ambassador Paul Weaver, approached the T&RA to discuss ways of working together to increase junior participation in Real Tennis.
Together, a plan was hatched to offer more than 2000 T&RA members, a chance for their children/grandchildren to have a free lesson at their nearest Real Tennis court over the Christmas and Easter periods.
The Xmas offer would be funded by the Dedanists’ Foundation and was open to all newcomers to the game under the age of 18. The response was tremendous with 24 youngsters being signed up in just a few days for a free lesson to take place during the school holidays. A total of 10 Real Tennis clubs around the country were involved.
Not only did this initiative allow 24 youngsters the chance to experience our game for the first time, but it also opened up a conversation with some clubs that had previously been difficult to engage. The T&RA are also delighted with the success and were keen to work with Paul to replicate similar junior initiatives in the future. The intention was to fund any similar initiatives on a 50-50 basis with the T&RA.
This process was repeated for the Easter holiday period. There were some slight reservations about the possibility of it not working again so soon after the Christmas success. How wrong could we be! We have received a staggering 40 applications for free junior lessons over Easter involving 16 different clubs across the UK.
Many of these clubs intend to use this initiative and the juniors that came forward as a basis to form brand-new junior sections at their clubs and they are keen to make sure that the initial free lesson is not just a one-off visit. As well as obviously being very popular with parents, these initiatives have also been very well received by the Real Tennis professionals:-
"Delighted to hear the Christmas Course went well, and hope that the Easter one will be even more so." - Chris Ronaldson.
"This is a great initiative for the youngsters and certainly helps the pros too." - Steve Brockenshaw.
"This is great Paul. Getting them all booked in. Really exciting!" - Will Burns.
So in the last 3 months with Dedanists’ Foundation funding, a total of 64 youngsters have been able to experience Real Tennis for the first time and the feeling is that we are in the process of creating a whole new future generation of Real Tennis players.
2022/23 Inter- Universities Tournament
The Inter-Uni tournament at Cambridge is now a major event in the uni real tennis calendar (6 universities and 42 players) and is a major attraction that draws students into real tennis. The Dedanists' Foundation sponsors the handicap event now re-named as The Dedanists' Foundation Handicap Singles. Importantly the Foundation also sponsors the event dinner which provided both excellent food and drink but also a great opportunity to come together and socialise between the competing universities. See below a report we have received from the captain of one of the university teams taking part.
Over the weekend of 10th-12th of March, the Middlesex University student team competed at this year’s Inter-University tournaments. We had 16 players in the Handicap Singles, with the top four players playing in the Inter-University Cup - in which two pairs played singles and doubles in level matches from universities across the country.
We are pleased to report that in the Handicap Singles, we had a record 6 players going through the group stages into the round of 16 - with a couple of others being unlucky not to progress also. The players who made it through were Nikos Kortotsi, Reuben Ard, Oliwia Lewandowska, Rohit Jain, Omotayo Ajikanle and Arianna Magnanini. Of those, four were able to qualify for the quarter finals which was another Middlesex record! This included two freshers, who have only been playing since October, so the future is bright. Going into the semi finals, only Reuben remained. After beating a talented rackets player 6/4, whilst being o15 down every game, he faced Durham’s Hugo Pennant in the final - who was to defend his title as Handicap Singles Winner. At 5/5, two crucial game points were taken by Pennant, meaning Reuben was 5/7 down. Despite digging in deep, Pennant went on to be 40/15 up. Reuben fought back to 40/40, game point, but could not quite get over the line - with Pennant winning 8/5 to retain his title. Congratulations to Reuben on a fantastic run, and to all of our other players who took part!
In the Inter-University Cup, Middlesex again had a strong run. Middlesex 1 pairing Oliver Vidana, and captain Faustas Vilimas made it all the way through to the semi finals - beating York and St. Andrews on the way, before losing a tight match 2 rubbers to 1, vs Cambridge 1. Middlesex 2 also had a successful run, beating Cambridge 5 and Cambridge 2 to qualify for the semi finals vs Bristol. Bristol had to withdraw, meaning Reuben would be in another final - partnered by Rohit, who was terrifying the Cambridge opponents in the semi finals. It was Cambridge 1 players, Arthur Adams, and captain Jin Lee, who triumphed, winning both their singles in closely contested matches. Congratulations to all four players on an excellent run - in which both teams made the semi finals, and Middlesex featured in the final for the first time ever.
All players had great fun and the team bonded well. We are pleased that the new intake showed great potential, and we look forward to building towards even more success next year!
Middlesex University Real Tennis Captain
The Foundation teams up with the T&RA to launch a New Joint Initiative
Just before Christmas the Dedanists Foundation linked up with the T&RA to launch a new initiative that offered a free lesson, at courts across the country to youngsters who had not played the game before. The offer went out on the Christmas T&RA newsletter to over 2000 T&RA members !
This initiative was met with a fantastic response with 24 new juniors setting foot on a Real Tennis court for a lesson for the first time over the recent Christmas school holidays! 10 clubs were involved and a total of 24 youngsters took part including 6 girls. The Dedanists' Foundation is delighted to have funded this and looks forward to working with the T&RA again to promote our joint aim, helping to find the next generation of real tennis players.