Youth sport - tennis: Talbot Heath School seal Qatar date

Youth sport - tennis: Talbot Heath School seal Qatar date

Youth sport - tennis: Talbot Heath School seal Qatar date

First published in Sport Bournemouth Echo: Photograph of the Author by

FIVE youngsters earned Talbot Heath School a trip to the World Schools Tennis Championships in Doha after seeing off all-comers to win the British title.

Talbot Heath beat defending champions and number one seeds Queenswood School 8-4 in a nerve-jangling showdown at the Team Tennis Schools National Championships Finals.

Lauryn John-Baptiste, Eliz Maloney, Anna Battersby, Esther Adeshina and Jodie Burrage had previously come through three encounters at the Graves Tennis Centre in Sheffield.

And the school’s reward for overall victory against their Hertfordshire opponents was the mouthwatering prospect of a trip to Qatar in March next year.

Some 16 teams took part in the finals and the early rounds were a breeze for the Dorset school.

First they were pitted against St Swithun’s School and only dropped one game across four singles matches and one doubles match.

Holmfirth High School proved more of a test but still Talbot Heath did not drop a single set – this time across six matches.

That was once again the case in the semis against Millfield School, with a maximum 12-0 win earned by the south coast team.

However, the final was by far the closest affair and the result went down to the final rubber.

Burrage, who recently beat former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli in an exhibition match, opened up with a 6-3, 7-6 defeat of Ema Lazic.

Maloney beat Katty Weymouth 6-2, 6-3, but that was sandwiched by wins for Rebecca Smaller and Georgie Walker over John- Baptiste and Adeshina respectively.

With the score locked at 4-4, John-Baptiste and Maloney handed the initiative to the number two seeds with a 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 win over Smaller and Lazic.

And in another tight game, Burrage and Battersby finished the job off with a 7-6, 6-4 defeat of Molly Reed and Weymouth.

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