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Rising Star Josh Nets Spot in Top Academy

TENNIS by Jackie Thorley

Teenager Josh Eardley has won a scholarship to a leading tennis academy in London, headed by ex-Wimbledon player Jeremy Bates. The 15-year-old Basford player has been invited to join the Surrey-based Sutton Tennis Academy in September, as he bids to make a career in the sport. The youngster has been offered a one-year contract, with a three-year option if he chooses to stay and study for his A-levels. His mum, Sheila Eardley, said: "Josh's ambition is to turn professional. It's all he has ever wanted and we feel we should give him his chance. "He has gone as far as he can here and really there is no alternative now but to go to an academy, where he can move to the next stage."

Josh, who lives in Newcastle, will leave St John Fisher School at the end of the summer term and plans to continue his GCSE studies in Surrey, just a few miles from the All England Club. The Sutton Scholarship Programme - in partnership with Cheam High School - is a scheme directed by former Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Bates, which combines intensive tennis training with education. The Staffs player will undergo at least two hours coaching and extra fitness each day, fitted around a school timetable. However, despite receiving a scholarship worth £6,000, the family must come up with a shortfall of £4,000 and they are hoping to win sponsorship backing from a local business or individual. Anyone interested can contact them on (01782) 634763.

Sentinel, 01 July 2008
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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