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Hale Gardens Lawn Tennis Club hosts its 2022 junior tournament

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GLORIOUS spring sunshine was the setting when Hale Gardens Lawn Tennis Club held their 2022 junior tournament.

The contest has been a historic fixture on the club's calendar since Diana Townsend and her husband started it in 1984.

Diana successfully ran it until 2017, when she received assistance from John Cliff due to failing health. Sadly, Diana died from Covid in March 2020, so this year John took over the reins in the first tournament since the pandemic.

U9 girls, with winner Isla Skeates (right) (56261459)
U9 girls, with winner Isla Skeates (right) (56261459)

There were concerns that numbers may be lower than expected with the competition being scheduled against a popular Bournemouth event. With this in mind, it was decided to concentrate on the most popular categories, the U14 and U11 boys and the U9 and U8 girls.

The U8 girls, with winner Valentina Rue Bennett (centre) (56261450)
The U8 girls, with winner Valentina Rue Bennett (centre) (56261450)

Ultimately, the tournament was supported by juniors from all over Hampshire, with some entrants travelling from the Isle of Wight and as far as Exmouth.

U11 boys R. Ocallaghan (right) and Zac Hand (56261461)
U11 boys R. Ocallaghan (right) and Zac Hand (56261461)

The U14 and U11 boys tournaments were held first. After two competitions of excellent tennis, playing the fast four system of games, the winner was David Lloyd Southampton's Jesse Frank Abu, who beat Bassett Lawn's William Addleton 4-3, 2-4 with a third set tie break of 10-6.

The U11 winner was Exmouth's R. Ocalleghan, who overcame David Lloyd Southampton's Zac Hand 4-1, 4-1.

The U9 and U8 girls played next with contestants from areas as far afield as West Hants, Portsmouth and Southbourne. There was some very competitive tennis, and the girls showed maturity beyond their years.

The winner of the U8 round robin was West Hants' Valentina Rue Bennet, with Southbourne's Jasmine Morris coming a close second.

The winner of the U9 round robin was Portsmouth's Isla Skeates, with West Hants' Morgan May in second place.

Hale Gardens chairperson Kenzie Revington would like to thank John Cliff, referee and coach James Lilley, and all the members who volunteered to assist. The much-complimented catering was provided by SO41.

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