Going for the double

Tennis and hockey teams from Trent College in Long Eaton have qualified for their respective national finals

Trent College is celebrating as both its year 8 boys’ tennis team and u18 girls’ hockey team have reached their respective national finals. The year 8 boys will do battle for the title of national champions after reaching the final of the AEGON Team Schools Tennis Year 8 Championships.

The five-strong Trent team of Harry Finney (Y9), Tom Connelly (Y8), Ned Smith (Y8), Kieran O’Driscoll-Pabla (Y7) and Ben Hutchinson (Y7) will travel to Bolton Arena where they will go head to head with the three other Y8 boys’ national finalists – Reed’s School (Surrey), Merchiston Castle School (Edinburgh) and Bournemouth Collegiate School (Dorset) – on 6-7 December.

The AEGON Team Schools Tennis Championships aims to provide players of all abilities with the opportunity to compete in a school team tennis competition. There are championships for girls and boys in years 8 and 10. Local league matches are played from April to July, with the regional knockout round in September and regional finals in November. Some 2,584 teams started out in this year’s competition in April. Trent booked their place in the national final after winning the Midlands regional finals on 13 November.

Having qualified for the regional finals as top seeds, Trent College saw off the challenge from St Joseph’s High School to progress through to a final showdown against the second seeds from Warwick School.

Harry and Ned both picked up match wins in the singles, Ned coming from 4-1 down in his match to eventually claim a 7-5 victory, while Ned and Thomas then won their doubles match 6-2 to leave the overall scores tied at three match wins apiece. A doubles tiebreak shoot-out – to 10 points with two clear – was needed to split the two teams, and Harry and Tom made sure it would be Trent College competing at Bolton by clinching the shoot-out 10-6.

Adam Benstead, Trent College director of sport, said: “It is encouraging that in the lower years of the school we now have a good crop of boys that are strong tennis players, as well as good all-round young sportsmen. I look forward to seeing them develop as they move through the school and continue the success that tennis is currently enjoying.”

Meanwhile the u18 hockey girls have booked their place at the England Hockey National Schools Championships for Girls being held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Olympic Park on 24-25 February.

The girls’ Midlands finals took place on Thursday 20 November at Rugby School. After a clean sweep of group victories over Wellingborough (1-0), Malvern (3-0) and Oakham (1-0), Trent College then clinched a 3-1 penalty strokes win over Bromsgrove, after the game was 0-0 at full-time, to set up the regional final clash with Repton.

The final, though, proved one game too far on the day and although the team created chances, it was Repton who converted theirs to win 3-0. However, with both the regional champions and runners-up qualifying for the national final, the girls returned to Long Eaton happy as the first Trent College u18 girls’ team to have reached the national final in four years.

Mark Wadsley, head of hockey, said: “Sophia Lewyckyj captained the team extremely well and the teams’ defensive display was strong throughout the tournament. Having an England hopeful in Brooke Butler in goal always gave the players in front of her confidence. 

“Charlotte Gale, who scored the crucial goal against Oakham, proved a handful for opposition defences all day and was supported well by Lizzie Godwin. The girls’ progress has been testament to nurtured talent and all bar one of the squad of 16 players have been at Trent since year 7.” 

Mr Benstead concluded: “The sportsmen and sportswomen at Trent College continue to delight us with the standard of their performances and the level of dedication shown to their sports. To be part of their success as teachers and coaches is a privilege, and these young men and women are a real credit to the school. They have been inspired by the school’s previous national success in sport, particularly over the past three years, and they will continue to inspire others in the years ahead.” 


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