Valley Road pupils serve up a winning formula at inaugural tennis

VALLEY Road School won all three trophies at the first Henley inter-schools tennis festival.

Henley Tennis Club hosted the event at its grounds in Tilebarn Close and want to make it an annual day.

The competition, funded by Henley Town Council, was scheduled in June but was postponed due to the extreme heat.

There were originally four schools involved — Valley Road, Sacred Heart, Trinity and Badgemore — but Badgemore could not take part on the new date.

It was initially an activity for Years 3, 4 and 5 but as it was rescheduled into a new school year, Years 4, 5 and 6 competed.

The day, which began at 11am and ended at 2pm, was split between skills challenges and game play and points were added up. The skills section, held on the top courts, included working on forehand, backhand and serving. The matches were held on the bottom two courts which were turned into eight smaller courts.

Valley Road school won in all three age categories and received trophies which will get engraved and presented by tennis club head coach, Tom Scott, at a school assembly. The pupils also received T-shirts.

Karen Thatcher, a Valley Road teaching assistant, said: “It’s absolutely amazing that they’ve won. They’ve had an amazing day and thoroughly enjoyed it. Just seeing the smiles on their faces says it all.”

Sarah Spatcher, another member of staff to accompany the children, said: “They worked together and supported each other. The pupils at the school just love taking part in any activity or competition and it makes it even more fun that they won.”

Mr Scott said: “As much as they all wanted to win, it was about even more than that. Everyone has smiles on their faces and all gave their best.

“For 10 years, we’ve given free clinics for children who may not necessarily have access to coaching. In the schools in the area, 300 to 400 children are getting lessons.

“It’s the biggest relief to get this going after the delay. I want to say a huge thank-you to the town council for putting money to it. Hopefully there’ll be many more.

“As there was the skills competitions as well as the matches, it catered for everybody and those who are new to playing could make up points with the skills.

“It’s been an incredible day and I hope this festival can get Henley pumping for tennis.”

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