Sutton T&SC & Wilton crowned Aegon Team Tennis National Open Finals champions
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Flushing Meadows wasn’t the only host to an exciting weekend of finals, as the West Hants Club in Bournemouth welcomed the Aegon Team Tennis National Open Finals.
To conclude three days of thrilling tennis, Sutton Tennis & Squash Club claimed the men’s crown, while the ladies of Wilton Tennis Club sealed their third consecutive title.
Find out everything you need to know about the Aegon Team Tennis National Open Finals with our preview.
From April to July, 30 teams in each of the National Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions competed in their respective leagues, with the top eight men’s and women’s teams securing qualification – or succeeding in the play-off stages – to reach the finals.
The finals were held over three days, with the quarter finals on the Friday, semi-finals on Saturday and the finals themselves on Sunday. While matches were scheduled to be played on the outside clay courts, the British weather didn’t play ball and players had to adapt quickly as matches moved to indoor hard courts.
In the men’s event, it all came down to a local derby decider between South East teams Sutton Tennis & Squash Club and David Lloyd Raynes Park.
The former had secured their spot in Sunday’s final following an 8-4 victory over top seeds and three-time reigning champions A1 Pharmaceuticals LTC from Kent, while second seeds Sutton overcame the Roehampton Club in an epic 7-6 battle to reach the final.
In Sunday’s showdown, victories for No.2 Jonathan Gray and No.3 Ryan Storrie, plus an unfortunate retirement in the No.1 singles gave Sutton a 3-0 advantage, but No.4 Jack Draper fought back to prevent Sutton from claiming a 4-0 rubber.
Scott Clayton and Jonny O’Mara fought hard in the doubles to secure a second victory for Raynes Park, but Evan Hoyt and Ryan Storrie clinched the final victory Sutton needed to lift the trophy. Sutton’s achievement marked their third Team Tennis title, after becoming champions in 2008 and 2013.
Sutton Tennis & Squash Club captain Steve Tiddy said: “I am a thrilled and very proud captain of Sutton Tennis & Squash Club – a club that enjoys such a wonderful team spirit and off-court support from our members. It was a huge effort to win the title which started with an enthralling encounter in the semi-finals with Roehampton Club on Saturday where we saved multiple match points.
“Up against long standing rivals David Lloyd Raynes Park – who featured a very impressive 15-year-old Jack Draper – we knew we would have a tough task yet again. What I wish to highlight most is the effort and honesty of all eight players who supported the team and decisions made throughout.”
In the women’s event, Cumberland LTC from North London upset the Midlands’ second seeds Edgbaston Priory, to set up a final clash with two-time defending champions and top seeds Wilton Tennis Club.
In Sunday’s opening rubber, Wilton’s team was the first on the board as No.1 Aimee Gibson sealed a tight two-set victory, before No.2 Olivia Nichols and No.3 Louise Holtum went on to claim comfortable singles victories for a 3-0 lead. No.4 Sarah Beth Grey made it a fourth victory for the team after clinching a gruelling three-set win, resulting in an 8-0 victory for the 2015 and 2016 champions.
Reflecting on the team’s impressive hat-trick, Wilton Tennis Club captain Terry Oakes said: “I'm a great fan of the concept of Team Tennis and so I'm thrilled that the Wilton team has done so well to be crowned National Club Champions for the third successive year.
“The team are obviously very good individual players, but I'm sure that their support for each other on and off the court is a major contribution to their success.”
Team Tennis is the sport’s largest team competition in Britain, providing opportunities for players of all ages (8U-Open) to compete in fun regular fixtures. Check out Team Tennis from December 1 and get involved (entries close January 31).