At last! The not-so-great British weatheris subsiding, giving the long-lost sun a chance to gingerly creep through thecracks in the clouds. Summer is on its way. A British summer is steeped intradition, from afternoon tea while watching the cricket to the iconicstrawberries and cream of Wimbledon’s Centre Court, British summers are a thingof beauty. Wimbledon being on our doorstep, or at most a short bus journey,gives children up and down the country tennis fever. After long wet winters thedoors of many tennis courts are unshackled from their rusty chains and stiffpad locks to let the next generation of aspiring Andy Murrays and MariaSharapovas in. Fortuitously, for the 5×60 team in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the doorsto Treorchy Tennis Club are always open and the members waiting to welcome anynew starter or competition.
On Wednesday 3rd of June 2015,the staff and members at Treorchy Tennis Club once again welcomed a new groupof young tennis stars competing in the annual 5×60 tennis competition who wereeager to get on court and let their top spin do the talking. Each schoolbrought a mixed gender team, split into two age groups (years 7 & 8 and years9 &10) ensuring suitable competition for all young people.
All 5×60 competitions have a certain levelof intensity which inevitably brings out the best in the players and producessome incredible sporting scenes. This competition followed the trend with tightmatches and frantic point calculating but there was an overwhelming sense ofrelaxation or even catharsis. Yes, each player gave it their all and played hardon court, but as soon as the final point had been played the icy grip the playershad on their racquets melted under the blistering sun and saw young people thatwere rivals ten seconds ago walk off court laughing and enjoying a day out onwhat can only be described as a glorious British summer days.
When players weren’t slugging it out oncourt, teams were mixing, enjoying and receiving coaching from one of thecoaches representing Treorchy Tennis Club. Having a separate waiting area wherethe players could keep mobile and continue to play was inspired and workedextremely well. Improvements in some players technique and understanding of thegame was visible after receiving coaching and made the following matches evenbetter with longer rallies, harder baseline shots and softer touches at thenet.
As certain as the rain in a British winter,a few teams stood above the rest and made it to the final. The final matcheswere a thing to behold, like a clash of tennis titans. Balls were zipping backand forth; each player waiting and hoping the other blinked first. The strengthand stamina of the young people involved in the final could be compared to thatof professionals and is something to which we can aspire.
After some grueling but exceedinglyentertaining points, players started to blink. A missed ball here, a lazy shotthere and before you knew it, it was all over. Cardinal Newman emergedvictorious in both age categories with their year 7 & 8 No.1 seed remainingunbeaten and losing less than ten points throughout the entire day. Y Pant Comprehensive put up a valiant fight in the year 9 & 10 category butnarrowly missed out on the silverware.
Beside the overwhelming sense of pride feltby all the 5×60 officers who saw their schools perform at their very best camea wave of relaxation as the competition closed. Everyone who attended enjoyed theday and all young people received first class coaching and a day out in thesun.
‘TennisWales have worked tirelessly in order to promote tennis in RCT and help makethe event the success that it is. They have offered training and equipment tostaff in order to help grow tennis and make sure there is opportunity foreveryone to take part in the sport.’ Rhys Rogers – competition organiser.
As I’ve written previously, the YEPS team and 5×60 officers havemade a commitment to all young people across RCT. We will continue to providethe very best opportunities, coaching and we will work tirelessly to createsustainable pathways for young people to not only enter sport but to progressand become the best they can be.
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