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Tough challenge for Eardley

TENNIS by Jackie Thorley

TITLE AIM: Josh Eardley is the second seed at under-18 level in the Staffordshire Junior Closed event

BASFORD teenager Josh Eardley will have to topple the top seed if he is to claim the under-18s crown at this week's Staffordshire Junior Closed Championships. Seventeen-year-old Eardley is seeded second behind last year's losing finalist, Wolverhampton's Matt Hingley. But the Basford men's team player is expected to be a strong contender for the title after beating Hingley in their two previous meetings.

Basford's Amy Ellis is also gunning for county success at Tipton Sports Academy. The under-18 girls' competition will be run on a round-robin basis and Ellis is looking to see off the reigning champion Hayley Marshall (Wolverhampton) and under-16s title-holder Elle Stokes (Tipton). The Newcastle-under-Lyme School pupil is also contesting the under-16 event, where she is seeded two.

Four North Staffs youngsters will battle for honours in the boys' under-14s competition. Adam Twigg (Draycott), Ryan Baxter (Draycott/Stone), John Thornhill (Draycott) and Elliott Farmer (Draycott/Tipton) are expected to mount a strong challenge against title favourite Tom Crothers (Tipton).

Francesca Wilkes (Stourbridge) is tipped to win the under-14 girls' event.

Meanwhile, Abbey View player Tom Cowdy and Luke Williams (Sutton) are expected to take the top two slots in the under-10 mini green competition.

The championships have attracted 125 entries, with doubles titles also up for grabs. All matches take place this week, culminating with finals on Saturday and Sunday.

AMY Ellis and Stafford Grammar School student Ben Stannard lined-up for junior club sides which nailed a top-four finish in the Aegon national team championships. The pair turned out for Tipton's under-16 squads in league campaigns which led to Midlands titles and a place in the national finals at Roehampton. Ellis (also Basford) won her singles for the Tipton girls in their 7-6 semi-final victory over Gosling and claimed a second singles win in the final against the Bolton High Performance Centre. But the South Staffs team suffered an 8-4 loss to finish second. Tipton boys were fourth.

Sentinel, 24 August 2010
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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