At the beginning of the Trinity half term the U13 girls entered the IAPS tennis tournament for the 1st time. The team were hoping for a good challenge, as well as good results. They were not disappointed!
In the U13 girls’ B tournament, it was clear from the outset that Ella and Daria were a strong team. DCPS has the luxury of having four very good players at the top end of the School at the moment. The B tournament was two round-robin pools, with the winner of each pool playing each other in the final. Ella and Daria won their pool easily, winning every rubber and dropping only 1 set. In the final they met Framlingham, clearly their strongest opponents, but still won 3-0 with just one set lost.
The A tournament was a ‘compass’ draw – essentially a knock-out in terms of winning overall, but with matches at every stage for those who lose. In the first round, Lorna and Serena won against The Manor Prep (number three seeds) with Lorna winning her singles, Serena losing her singles, and then a comfortable win in the doubles. The second round match was against Millfield and the girls won 3-0.
On day two the girls played a semi-final against the number one seeds, Bishopsgate School from London. Lorna lost her singles but Serena won, meaning the match would come down to the doubles. The girls won the 1st set comfortably, but then the 2nd set went to 3-3 meaning a first to 5 tie-break to decide the set, and possibly the match. Our girls held their nerve, dug really deep to hit every shot, and won the tie-break 5-2 and with it the match!
“It was an amazing game and I was blown away by the standard of tennis played. Little did I know what was to come…….,” said Head of Girls’ Games, Emma Bailey. In the final, the girls met Culford Prep, from Bury St Edmund’s. In a reverse of the semi-final, Lorna won her singles while Serena lost by a similar score line. In the doubles, DCPS won the 1st set 4-1 but then lost the 2nd 4-1. The whole championship was going to come down to a match tie-break – first to 10. Dean Close got a 6-3 lead, but then it became 6-5, 7-5, 7-6, 7-7, 8-7, 8-8, 9-8….and then, unbelievably, 10-8! The girls had done it! IAPS National Tennis Champions!
There were some amazing points and the standard of tennis from both teams was incredibly high. Our pair were playing girls with far better LTA ratings, but they dug in deep, believed in themselves and their ability as a pair, and rose to the challenge brilliantly. DCPS U13 girls have made sporting history twice in 9 days – the first team ever to get to a National hockey final, and now the first time we have ever won a National tennis tournament.