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Landmark Season for Players from Newquay’s Heron Tennis Centre!

The leading junior and adult players from Heron and its Ace Academy have achieved some unparalleled successes and a narrow miss in Cornwall this past summer.

The summer is the main competition season for individual and team events in the county and the UK. Adult players from Heron competed in the Cornwall Doubles Leagues for men’s and women’s club teams. The Heron Men’s First Team also competed in the Aegon Regional League, which features the leading club teams in the South-west and includes both singles and doubles matches.        

Our belief at Heron and our Ace Academy, which provides aspiring and committed juniors the opportunities to fulfil their potential, is that our juniors should compete in adult matches as soon as our coaches think they are ready. This can speed up their mental capabilities, maturity and problem-solving skills. Our leading juniors competed in Heron’s adult teams, represented Cornwall and played in adult and junior events in Cornwall, around the UK and in Europe.  

Heron Men’s and Ladies First Teams

The Men’s First Team retained their position in both the Cornwall Doubles Premier League and the Aegon Regional League for the 2018 season. After two long and hard fought domestic league campaigns, the team were able secure enough points on both fronts to avoid relegation and claimed some vital victories during critical periods of the season.

The Cornwall Doubles Premier League has proved a particularly successful hunting ground for Heron’s men in recent years, as they have clinched the title in 4 of the last 6 seasons. This season however proved a more difficult proposition. With crucial players absent due to injury, the team were unable to achieve the consistency and cohesion throughout the line-up that is essential for a significant title challenge. Despite this, stable performances during the season from the experienced duo of Robin Pursall and Mark Lane gave Heron a fighting chance of remaining in the league coming into their last few fixtures. Ultimately, a strong 10-2 victory over St. Austell A sealed the club’s Premier League status for another year. They hope for a return to their title winning form in 2018. Well done to Redruth A who won their first Premier League title and had the most consistent team of the season, with an outstanding season from their first doubles pair, Chris and Nick Peters.

PHOTO – Robin Pursall in action for the men’s team

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In the Aegon Regional League, Heron boasted a strong and youthful squad for the season, bolstering their team with the return of Ace Academy players Elliot Moses, Tad Maclean and Jacob Holmes alongside University of Exeter students Jonty Holtum and Dan Taylor. After suffering a difficult away loss to eventual league winners Bristol, Heron needed a win as they made the notoriously difficult away trip to Bude. Despite the pressure of their league position being coupled with Bude’s infamous and testing windy conditions, the young side battled through to a comprehensive 6-0 victory under the experienced stewardship of captain Robin Pursall. Robin led the team for the fourth consecutive season. Heron would like to thank both Tracey Moses, Heron’s Cornwall Club Doubles League captain, and Robin for their continued passion and commitment to the teams.

Despite mixed league results, Heron’s men did not finish the 2017 season empty handed, as they clinched the Holman Cup in Redruth. The Holman Cup sees each Cornish club enter its top doubles par in a knock-out event. The tried and tested pairing of Elliot Moses and Heron and Ace Academy’s Head Coach, Steven Askey, defeated Truro A 6-2 6-0 in the final to ensure the season ended with some silverware.

PHOTO – Elliot Moses (left) and Steven Askey with the Holman Cup

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The Ladies First Team have struggled in the lower echelons of Cornish league tennis in recent years. Five years ago, the team featured many of Cornwall’s Ladies team, which included Claire Tresidder, Emma Welsh, Vicki Terri-Short, Lauren Norton and Dinah Crellin. The Heron team not only competed in Cornwall’s Premier Doubles League, it also competed in the Regional League. In the last few years, the team has shown signs of resurgence and under the captaincy of Claire Florey, it went into the 2017 season with high aspirations with the long term goal to get back into Cornwall’s top division.

After a winter of Friday night pre-season training sessions with Matt Trudgeon, Heron Head Pro, the starting line-up of Claire Florey, Jess Phillips, Flossie Cameron-Webb and Fiona Dylan flew through the league campaign winning 95 points out of a possible total of 100. Squad members Louise Watson, Nadia Rawson, Karen Marsland and Macey Laidlaw made important contributions on the way to the team clinching promotion in emphatic style making them one league closer to returning to the Premier League. Congratulations to the team and thank you to Claire for her efforts and leadership. 

PHOTO – (Left to right) Flossie Cameron-Webb, Fiona Dylan, Jess Phillips and Captain Clare Florey

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Ace Academy Players and Heron’s Junior Teams

Heron’s junior teams were not to be outdone by the adult teams with the Under 10 A and B teams, the Under 9 team, plus the Under 14 team deserving special mention.

PHOTO – The Under 10 B team (from left to right) of Albie Gosling, Sam Pike, Owen Pope and Matilda Scowen

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PHOTO – The Under 10 A team (from front left to rear left) of Archie Mallett, Ted Brown, Annie Watson and Sam Pike as they prepare for their match versus TDA Academy

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The Under 10 A team line up featured Ted Brown, Archie Mallett, Annie Watson and Rory Duncan, and their season was defined by an impressive win over Truro and characterised by their team work and togetherness despite their young ages. The team mates are friends off the court as they travelled together to individual tournaments including the Torbay Open, one of the South-west’s largest and most prestigious events. The B team, led by captain Justin Pope, were Sam Pike, Matilda Scowen, Albie Gosling and Owen Pope. Heron was the only club to enter 2 teams and despite the relative lack of experience of the B team players, they played some impressive tennis and made progress by reaching the final where they lost to the champions, TDA Academy. Thank you to the captains and parents of both the A and B teams for their time and effort supporting their children. 

The Under 9 team travelled south to Penzance for a 1-day event against the leading Cornish players in the age group. Well done (from left to right) to Sophie Dickinson, Jess Brown, Reeve Seddon and Harry Wilmott, with thanks to team captain, Andy Wilmott, as the team finished second.

The Under 14 team of Lowen Mears-Ollerenshaw, Alex Johnson, Seb Bacon and Elijah Ashmore went through their season undefeated. Wins against Falmouth, Redruth and Truro meant they were the “Young Invincibles” for the 2017 season! Well done boys and thanks to Gary Ashmore, their team captain.

PHOTO – The Under 14 team (from left to right) of Lowen Mears-Ollerenshaw, Alex Johnson, Seb Bacon and Elijah Ashmore.

Individually, Ace Academy players travelled far and wide to boost their LTA rankings, gain valuable match experience and progress their games.

One of the academy’s youngest players is 7 year old Blake Silva who is showing signs of an excellent future and a love for playing the game. His most notable performances of the season came when he travelled to Ilkley where he went unbeaten to win the Under 8 singles competition. Well done to Blake for gaining valuable experience playing youngsters he has not come up against before.   

PHOTO – Blake Silva with the winner’s cup (right)

In the County Championships held at Heron, Claire Tresidder made a come-back to win the Ladies singles event. Claire, a former Ace Academy player who has won multiple Cornwall titles at adult and junior level, now teaches at Truro School and is assistant coach for Truro School’s tennis programme.

PHOTO – Claire Tresidder, Ladies Singles County Champ

In the junior events at the County Championships, the most notable achievement was by Harry Wilmott who is rapidly becoming one of Cornwall’s most exciting prospects. Well done to Harry for becoming the Cornwall Under 9 singles champion.

PHOTO – Harry Wilmott, Under 9 County Champ

Congratulations to Toby Roberts who competed in multiple events at the County Championships and recorded some notable wins before being voted Cornwall’s Most Improved Junior Player for 2017. This was a well-deserved award for an honest and dedicated aspiring player.

PHOTO – Toby Roberts

We are proud that a number of our players were chosen to represent Cornwall this season. In the Under 18 teams, Jacob Holmes, Tad Maclean, Oshi Leverton and Kieran Roskill-Thomas competed for the boy’s whilst Nadia Rawson, Flossie Cameron-Webb and Macey Laidlaw were picked for the girl’s. Well done to our youngsters Annie Watson (Under 10 girls team), Archie Mallett (Under 10 boys team) and Aimee Brown (Under 12 team) for earning their Cornwall stripes also.

PHOTO – The Under 18 Girl team with Nadia Rawson (third from left), Flossie Cameron-Webb (fourth from right) and Macey Laidlaw (far right) with their County Coach, Ryan Fern, and team mates

Tennis Club Steinbach, our partner club in Germany, provides our academy players with the opportunity for clay court training and competing in regional events when we make an annual trip to the Frankfurt club. Thanks to TC Steinbach’s Head Coach, Laurence Matthews, who is a former top British professional player, and Team Manager Joern Sommer, our players also have the opportunity to fly out to represent the club’s adult and junior teams. This season saw Tad Maclean and Morgan Hare fly out to play for the men’s and Under 18 teams respectively. Both boys won their matches to enable the club to gain promotion in both age groups. Thank you to TC Steinbach and in particular Laurence and Joern for making these opportunities possible.     

PHOTO – Morgan Hare (far right) with his German team mates

Jacob Holmes and Nadia Rawson left Heron recently to begin their tennis programmes and degrees at Loughborough University. After the season, which included representing both Heron’s adult first teams and Cornwall’s Under 18 teams, we wish Jacob and Nadia well for the next step on their tennis journey. Make the most of university team practice, fitness and matches you two and enjoy some of the best years of your life.

PHOTO – Jacob Holmes in action 

Heron welcomes Valencia native Adrian Rico. Aged 13 and nicknamed “Little Rafa” (as he looks like the Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal) by his new friends at Heron, Adrian joins Heron for a term of coaching, fitness, practices and matches with the centre’s Ace Academy players. Adrian will be staying with a host family whilst also attending Newquay Tretherras School with the aim of progressing his tennis and English.

Tad’s Progress Continues

Tad Maclean, who was coached at Heron’s Ace Academy from the ages of 7 – 16 before relocating to Team Bath MCTA in September 2016 whilst studying for his A-Levels, continues to progress and is proving he has a really exciting future in the game.

His 2017 highlights include winning his first singles Junior International ITF title in Ireland and qualifying in the top 16 players in the country to compete in the Under 18 Nationals. 

PHOTO - Tad (second from right) with the England team and his England and Team Bath MCTA coach Rob Morgan (centre)

Tad’s efforts and progress led to him being chosen to represent England in the Home Nations event held in Scotland and his victories helped the team win the prestigious title.

PHOTO – Tad Maclean on his way to another impressive victory

Most recently, Tad, still only aged 17, travelled to Barnstaple for his second taste of playing at the Men’s Futures Professional level. It was at this event in late September when Tad made a huge statement of intent by winning three matches in qualifying and the first round in main draw. In the second round he played David Guez, the number 1 seed and former world number 116 from France. After having two first points, Tad went on to lose 7-6, 6-3, but the nonetheless started to show his potential at the professional level. Tad’s Barnstaple efforts have placed him at number 1663 on the official men’s professional rankings, which makes him the second youngest British player to have a men’s world ranking. This is an exceptional achievement for the Newquay teenager, who is currently in the USA looking at university tennis programmes for the next step on his tennis journey.  

If you would like to know more about the Heron Tennis Centre, its Ace Academy for aspiring young players, our junior and adult teams or any other aspect of the centre and its tennis programme including our: social events programme; coach-organised social tennis club nights; after-school junior groups; adult and teenager beginner classes; toddler tennis, and Cardio Tennis sessions, please contact us. We are also the home of Cornwall's Disability Tennis Programme, which caters for people of all ages with learning and physical disabilities. Our Courtside Cafe is also open to non-tennis players. It serves fresh coffees, homemade cakes and meals, and is under new management from early November. Everyone is welcome at the Heron Tennis Centre, whether it is join in a tennis activity or simply just to sit and watch the action whilst having a coffee or a meal in the cafe.

You can find us at Trenance Leisure Park, Edgcumbe Avenue, Newquay, TR7 2LZ, next to Newquay Zoo. Call us on 01637 877555, visit us atwww.heron-tennis.co.uk, on Facebook – Heron Tennis and Ace Tennis Coaching & Academy, on Twitter – Heron & Ace Tennis, or just pop into reception and speak to a friendly member of staff.

*The travelling, competing and higher education costs for our aspiring young Ace Academy players and other Cornish tennis players increase as their ability advances. If you would like to find out more about how you can financially support aspiring and deserving young people, please visit the website: cornwallachievethroughsport.co.uk.