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Tonbridge Tennis Club has certainly been smash hit in 2012

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: November 14, 2012

  • CHAMPION: Sam Jakes won the club's singles title

  • STAR PUPIL: Daria Mistza with Ben Briat

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TONBRIDGE Tennis Club chairman Richard Hoare says it is pleasing to see so many young players developing at the club.

The club, which has around 200 members, including 120 juniors, has seen several juniors progress through the ranks in recent years to compete in adult competitions.

And Hoare said that is promising for the local community club.

"We are not making huge claims," he said.

"But within the context of the club, it is great to see young players who have come through the ranks and at 18 or 19 are now doing well."

An example of this is Victoria Burr, who has just gone off to Reading University having secured the club's girls' U18 and ladies' singles titles for the second year running.

She beat Brooke Taylor 6-0, 6-1 and Asa Pelvang 6-1, 6-2 in the respective finals and while she has joined the university tennis club, she plans to continue playing at Tonbridge during vacations.

The men's singles title was won by one of the club's coaches, Sam Jakes, who beat Ged Denning 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

Meanwhile, Alex Burr and Isaac Hooper are due to play the U18 boys' final this week.

The club has also enjoyed success in the summer leagues, with the Tonbridge Ladies A team winning all their matches and gaining promotion from Maidstone Division Three.

The club's girls' U18 team of Georgia Lucey and Harriet Parr have also been successful, winning the West Kent League.

Meanwhile, Hoare is hoping the club will have benefited from the recent visit of a top French junior player.

Ben Briat, one of the top ranked U18 male players in the Auvergne region of France, recently visited the Tonbridge club and assisted the club's coaches with their junior courses.

He also acted as hitting partner for some promising juniors, including Daria Mistza, helped with the Tuesday night adult pay and play evening and played some friendly matches.

And Hoare said it was an exciting opportunity for the younger players, adding that it would give them good experience.

"France have a lot of top 100 players and it is good to see how they get their standards up," he said.

"That is the main thing we will get out of it, as well as it being enjoyable socially for the club."

Hoare said the club was planning a return trip to twin town Le Puy en Velay in the summer.

Winter leagues for adults and juniors are now underway and the players are looking forward to matches under the club's recently refurbished and upgraded floodlights over the winter months.

Isaac Hooper, along with Liz Slater, recently won the club's end-of season-tournament, which was dedicated to the memory of much missed local tennis player and music teacher Susan Suart.

Thirty-two players, aged 14 to 80, took part on a late summer morning, watched by Susan's husband, Richard Suart.

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