2018 saw a significant change to the format of this prestigious tournament as it is now a mixed gender competition. As The Manor embarks upon becoming co-educational, on this occasion we teamed up with Abingdon Prep.
Manor pupils Poppy D and Flo S were delighted to be joined by Sam W and Max VP from Abingdon Prep to create a team. In preparation for the tournament, the children took part in early morning and weekend training sessions as an opportunity for the children to get to know each other and practice as a team.
With training complete our four tennis enthusiasts were ready to go.
Day 1 on Sunday 27 May
Upon arrival at Millfield School, we were greeted by torrential downpours, little did we know that we would have a weekend of beautiful sunshine ahead of us.
The first match was Max and Flo against Dulwich Prep playing on astroturf. Both started extremely well and quickly got used to the fast, low bouncing, wet courts. They won their matches by being very tactical and smart with their shots. Next, Poppy had a strong attacking opponent who was able to take advantage of the court surface. Poppy worked very hard and only just lost her match. Sam also played a superb match chasing every ball down and not giving up. He managed to win in a third set tie break. These results took us into the doubles 3-1 up.
Poppy and Flo played some brilliant doubles matches with Poppy attacking from the baseline whilst Flo was using her immense reach at the net to win the match. Sam and Max had a long battle with their opponents with neither pair giving in but Dulwich just secured the nail biting win with a third set tie break. As a team, we beat Dulwich 4-2.
Our next opposition was Marlborough who were definitely a more powerful team. The boys played first, striding out for a 2-0 win. Max fought hard and won in a brilliant three set match.
Whilst the boys played singles, the girls played their doubles matches and got off to a great start. They carried on with their strong performances together to win. Poppy and Flo then played their singles matches with Flo not dropping a game and Poppy having another tough opponent and only just losing out.
Going into the last doubles match, our results secured us a 4-1 up against Marlborough. Max and Sam worked well together and managed to maintain their momentum by winning their match in a second set tie break, beating Marlborough 5-1.
Due to the uncertainty of the weather, the doubles match was brought forward. Poppy and Flo therefore played against St Hugh’s but the standard had notched up, and although the girls played superbly, they narrowly lost in a third set tie break.
Day 2 Monday 28 May
We started the day 1-0 down against St Hugh’s. This next match would be our final one and would determine which team came 1st or 2nd in our box.
Both Max and Sam worked as a partnership and only just lost out in the first set. The match was much closer in the second set with the boys just missing out to taking the set and lost in a tie breaker on a sudden death point.
Poppy and Flo both came out fighting in their singles matches as they were now 2-0 down against St Hugh’s. They both showed resilience, putting considerable pressure on their opponents, Poppy lost 3-4, 2-4 and Flo lost 0-4, 3-4. I was so impressed with how well their showed their great characters, bouncing back during such tough matches.
By the time the Max and Sam played their singles matches, we were 4-0 down so couldn’t win overall. This didn’t dampen their spirits as they fought hard and won both their matches.
Losing 4-2 as a team to St Hugh’s placed us second in our box and competing for 3rd/4th position against Portsmouth Grammar School who were extremely strong competition. Max and Sam played first. The opposition was a year older and they managed to challenge them throughout but unfortunately the boys both lost their matches.
By the time Flo and Poppy were due to play their singles matches, the heat was starting to take its toll and staying hydrated was key. Both children we up against some hard hitting, tactical players and the girls played as hard as they could but just lost out. Portsmouth Grammar School secured a clear 4-0 with no requirement to play any doubles.
Poppy, Flo, Sam and Max all deserve a huge applaud for their performances and placed 4th in the Plate competition. They represented superbly as a team and can take lots of positives from this experience both on and off court.
IAPS Tennis Coach