Basford Lawn Tennis Club

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Newcastle Schools Ready For Tournament


NEWCASTLE primary schools will take to the court at Basford for an under-eights tournament on Thursday. Coaches, schools and local councils in North and Mid-Staffordshire have created the event in a bid to encourage more children to play tennis. It is the first in a series of six being staged in and around Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford throughout June and early July. The tournaments follow a programme of free coaching sessions delivered during school hours to pupils aged seven and eight, funded by Tennis Staffordshire and the School Sport Partnerships. Basford coach Mike Armstrong said: "The programme has targeted beginners and some children who took part in tennis roadshows had never picked up a racquet before.

"It's been great to see some of the naturally sporty kids take to tennis so quickly."

Hassell Primary (Newcastle), Seabridge Primary (Clayton), St Margaret's (Wolstanton), Ellison Primary (Wolstanton) and Langdale Primary (Clayton) are all included in the competition. Teams of two boys and two girls will represent their school in a round-robin tournament, with the winners reaching the grand final on July 9, alongside the top sides from neighbouring areas. The school coaching sessions have already proved a hit among many youngsters, who have joined a weekly mini tennis programme at Basford. Armstrong added: "This has been by far our most successful programme and the club has gained about 30 new kids.

"It has taken off and we have now started sessions on Saturdays, as well as Friday evenings, because of the number of players turning up.

"They enjoy it, so I'm confident most will continue playing tennis.

"As far as the competition is concerned, I'm hoping to make it an annual event."

Draycott will host a similar competition on June 17, with further tournaments scheduled at Stafford Sports College and at venues in the Potteries. Draycott will also host the final in July.

Sentinel, 09 June 2009
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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