The Queen Mary’s College team have started their 2016 Senior Students competition campaign, this year PE teacher and Tennis Team manager Sarah Goldson has entered two teams from the college, one boys and one mixed.
The boys team of Saul Irwin and Cam Speirs have been joined by new college first year recruits Andrew Dingwall and Dan Hutchison. The boys got off to a shaky start losing their first match against Alton Sixth Form, who beat QMC in a shoot out last year in the penultimate knock out round.
It was always going to be a tough opening match against Alton and even though the QMC were on home turf at Totally Tennis’ indoor courts they were unable to capitalise on the home advantage and lost 10-2 overall. In the singles, Dingwall played consistently from the back of the court and served well to win 6-4, Irwin lost 6-4 which was not too bad considering he lost the first four games and managed to fight back to level the score at 4-4 but was unfortunately got broken again. Both Speirs and Hutchison also lost with scores of 6-3 and 6-1 respectively. The doubles were a white wash with Irwin/Dingwall losing 6-2 and Speirs/Hutchison beaten 6-3.
(L to R) Hutchison, Dingwall, Irwin and Speirs
The team’s second match was away against Bishops Wordsworth School and despite it being held outdoors and not the team’s favoured surface the boys played far more consistently in this match, although they still lost 8-4 there was definite improvement overall.
In the singles Irwin played well especially at the net and won 6-2 but his three teammates lost, Dingwall was unlucky after he fought well throughout the match he lost in the tie-break 7-6 (3), Speirs lost 6-4 and despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise Hutchison had close games but lost 6 – 0. Irwin and Speirs won their doubles match 6-4 but Dingwall and Hutchison lost 6-1.
Goldson said, “The boys are out of the group stages with two losses out of three matches. This is the first loss in the group stages of this competition in about seven years. The team has some experienced players but has not got the strength of depth as yet in terms of match experience at this stage.” she added “I hope for better fortunes for the team later in the season.”
In the Mixed doubles Irwin was partnered with Dessi Bratonova while Luke Watts played with Jordan Mosquera. The team’s first match was against King Edwards who the college have been up against in previous years. The match was close, Watts and Mosquera lost 6-1 to top pair but beat pair two 6-3, Irwin and Bratonova beat second pair 6-2 but lost to top pair 6-3 to make things all square.
With things all square the match went to a shoot out with only one player from each pair being eligible to play. Watts and Bratonova were selected and played the shoot out, they won the toss and started well winning the first three points in a row to give a commanding lead which they never relinquised, the final score was 10-5. The next and final mixed match will be against Kingston College which will decide the overall group standings.
Goldson said “It was a tough choice with the boys but Dessi was clearly the stand out player during the first two matches, with a high level of consistency shown both from her serving and from the back of the court.” she added “This was a fantatsic achievement for the pair and team as a whole after a losing streak in shoot outs last year, Dessi was without question the player of the match. Both Jordan and Luke are unable to play regularly due to their timetables, but we were lucky this match was held on an inset day making the players fully available for the tie.”
The aim of the Senior Students Competition is to encourage lower rated players to play competitive tennis and provide the team with an opportunity to compete in a National Final. The entry period runs from June – September with local league matches being played October through to December with the winners of the local leagues progressing through to the knockout rounds from January. The National Final take place in March at Bolton Arena.