The independent Schools Tennis Association (ISTA) Championships were held at Eton College over four days, hosting players of all abilities, boys and girls. This tournament always creates a great environment for the best players to compete and the young players to get inspired and this year proved no different. With the weather playing ball and our teams ready to go, hope was in the air for our pupils competing in the Under 19, Under 15 and Under 13 categories.
Our Under 19 Team consisting of Lara, Nancy, Imogen and Elizabeth started Sunday morning in the group stages. Imogen and Elizabeth qualified for the Loveband Plate where they were knocked out in the next phase of round robins. Lara and Nancy started the tournament with a 2nd place qualification ahead of Benenden’s first pair and only two games behind Reed's, which was enough to qualify for the main draw and the dreaded knockout stages. St Edwards' were to be our opposition and after a fantastic performance Nancy and Lara took the first set, 6-2. St Edward's started to fight back and took the second set 7-6 in the tie-break. The final set was to be decided by a Championship Tie-Break to 10 where sadly St Edward's won 10 -7, with our team just 3 points away from a knockout match against Millfield. The pair performed brilliantly and they should be proud of what they achieved.
The Under 15 Team – Rose, Daisy, Talitha and Chloe – played great tennis throughout the tournament. Talitha and Chloe played well in the first group and qualified for the Asbury-Bailey Plate, where their tournament ended after their 7th match in one day. Rose and Daisy played well to qualify from their group into the Asbury-Bailey Cup Knockout, where they lost to an impressive pairing from Benenden. After a long wait on the second day, the pair played incredibly well towards the end of the set, however, New Hall won on this occasion.
And on to the enthusiastic, positive and ever so slightly nervous Under 13s, with Eloise, Lucy, Honor and Dora raring to go. The group stages proved to be a challenge for both pairs, as within both groups they came up against pairings who played in full-time academies with national rankings alongside their names. However, our pairings dusted themselves off and came back on the final day of the tournament to perform fantastically in their final matches. Honor and Dora were just 3 games away from qualifying to knockout stages, which sadly wrapped up St Mary’s time at this year's Championships.
Thank you to all the girls and parents for making the tournament so enjoyable; I hope the girls learnt a lot and have been inspired to achieve even more in tennis over the coming years.
Mr Jonathan Hayes, Director of Tennis