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This is how the Lawn Tennis Association's website (www.lta.org.uk) described the event.

"The top 32 schools tennis teams from across Great Britain met to compete in a compass draw whereby teams were placed from 1-16 after four days of action.

Apart from one small shower the weather throughout the week was excellent as the tournament venue at Graves Tennis Centre in Sheffield was bathed in warm sunshine providing a great setting for some highly competitive team tennis matches.

In the Girls event, Talbot Heath School from Bournemouth overcame defending champions Queenswood School in a dramatic Girls Final to earn the National Championships title.

After four highly competitive singles matches, Queenswood and Talbot Heath were locked at 2 rubbers each. Queenswood earned wins at number 2 singles and number 4 singles while Talbot Heath earned wins at #1 and #3 singles respectively.

At this time many spectators anticipated a possible repeat of last year’s dramatic shootout between the two teams. However, it was Talbot Heath who took the initiative by winning at number 2 doubles where the pair of Jodie Burrage and Anna Battersby came through through a very close first set to win 7-6 6-2.

This set the stage the first pair of Lauryn John-Baptiste and Eliz Maloney who at the time trailed 6-7 3-5. Inspired by the win from their 2nd pair, Talbot Heath reversed the score line to go on to claim the #1 doubles rubber 6-7 7-5 10-6."

Anna Battersby offers her account of the exciting event:

Abedare Cup 2014 -

We left on Monday 7th July to Sheffield, so that we could prepare for the tournament which would commence the following day. 16 School teams across the country had qualified for the National Finals, and was a knockout-draw in which players who won would progress to second round, then quarters, semi finals and eventually the final.

The team consisted of Jodie Burrage, Lauryn Jean-Baptiste, Eliz Maloney, Esther Adeshina and myself. On our first day we had to play St Swithens school, and won convincingly 12-0. Matches were always scheduled at 9am, so in the afternoon we could relax back at the hotel. Miss Hardy and Nurse Cery took us to the Complex nearby where we played bowling and went out for meals to have team chats alongside thoughts about our opposition for the following day. On Wednesday, we played against Holmfirth School, again winning 12-0. Our friends travelled up that day to support us for the rest of the week with Mrs Holloway, and this extra support and teamwork really had a positive effect. Talbot Heath were dominating the Sheffield tennis centre!

Thursday was semi-final day, and we had to play Millfield School, who had beaten our B team 4-2 around a month before. We were ready for some harder competition and we were all very supportive of each other. Esther kick started the day by winning at number 4 6-3 6-1, followed by Eliz who played a great match as number 3 player. Lauryn also won convincingly 6-1 6-1, and it was finished by Jodie who won the fourth rubber. Doubles still commenced so that we could practise for finals day on friday. Again we had a team TH evening where we all had a chance to chill and laugh with our friends.

Finals day had arrived, and we knew it was going to be an extremely nail biting and tearful day. We were up against the number 1 seeds, Queenswood, who had beaten us by 2 points in a tiebreak shootout the previous year. They had also come 2nd in the World Schools Finals in Australia, so we knew it was going to be a tough day. Esther narrowly lost the first rubber, however put in a sensational performance. Next on was Eliz, and a gutsy performance allowed her to win 6-2, 6-3, meaning that we were 1-1 in matches. Lauryn, although playing exceptionally well lost to a very well respected player in a tiebreak, however, we were all very proud of the whole team effort when Jodie beat Ema Lazic, a former Talbot Heath player, 6-3 7-6(7), meaning that again we were equal on matches: 2-2!

This meant it was down to the doubles, and the tension was continuing to rise. Jodie and I went on to win the first doubles rubber 7-6(2), 6-4, which was extremely nerve racking, however, what was more nail biting was when we looked over to see that Lauryn and Eliz had narrowly lost the first set 6-7(5) and were 3-5 down (0-30) down, meaning we were 2 points away from having to play a tiebreak shootout!

The team were leaning against the handrails shouting when we won points, and we slowly started seeing that Lauryn and Eliz were coming back! They managed to win the second set 7-5, and were in a set tiebreak. This was again extremely tense, as they were down in the tiebreak by a few points. We still had belief in them though, and we could hear Miss Hardy, Nurse Cery and Mrs Holloway screaming ‘YOU CAN DO THIS!’

When the winning shot was hit, all TH players ran onto court in shock and disbelief, we had just won the Schools National Title, and when we looked over we saw Miss Hardy on the floor crying!!! The next few minutes whizzed past, with many hugs and congratulations exchanged. The presentation took place alongside many photographs, and Esther and myself were asked to have an interview. We were also told that we were offered to go to Doha for the World Schools Finals in Easter 2015!

The journey back was a blast, and we were all singing and cheering. We didn't get back until 2am, however, we didn't mind, we had won the National Title, and waking up the following morning to that was quite probably one of the best moments of our school tennis career.

Watch the highlights and interviews here







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