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The Essex Tennis 2020 Winter Invitation Men’s Singles Tournament was held at Redbridge Sports Centre over the weekend of Saturday & Sunday the 1st & 2nd February 2020. The event provides an opportunity for our best Junior Players in Essex to compete against a selection of established Essex Senior Players. Competition was, as always, intense with the invited Junior Players striving to overcome their more experienced Senior Players. This years featured Senior Players included Harry Randle, the ‘Evergreen’ Peter French, Abdul Ahmed & a stateside returning David Mould.

The event was organised by Tom Higgins, the Essex Tennis Senior Men’s Captain, Graham Ray who refereed the event & Will Calvert who captains the 18U Essex Tennis Boys Team. We wish Will every success in his quest to win the LTA Division 1 Boys JICC which is being held, as always, in Bath University over the weekend of Friday 28th February -> Sunday 1st March 2020. If you are passing do pop in & cheer our Boys Team on. They would very much value your support & you will be treated to some superb Junior Tennis. It will be a tough Event.

Sixteen Players set out on the 1st day with Junior Entrants including Anthony Weingarten, Anthony Wright, Jonathon Price, Alex Nakov, Toby Terrell, Adam Groves, Ralph Bartlett, Samuel Constantinou, Gene Swain, Josh Ratnage, Daniel Chamoun, Henry Hammond & Ben Slade.

Saturday’s 1st & 2nd Rounds saw impressive wins for Anthony Weingarten, Adam Groves, Anthony Wright, Ralph Bartlett, Henry Hammond, Gene Swain & Jonathon Price. These players progressed into the Main Draw Section for Day 2. As is always likely, injuries meant that Jonathon Price & Ben Slade were unable to continue in the competition. Even without these injured players there was a remaining high quality feel to the Event.

Day 2 featured the Semi-Final & Final Stages of the event. Anthony Weingarten played Adam Groves & in an enthralling, high quality match, it was Adam Groves who emerged as the victor. In the second semi-final Henry Hammond played Ralph Bartlett. This again was a great match with Ralph Bartlett the winner. Both matches went to 3 Sets lasting 2 hours. Spectators were treated to some of the best Essex Junior Tennis that both I & the Spectators have seen from Essex Tennis Players. It is a healthy state of affairs that we find ourselves in Essex Tennis & that we have players of this still young status, competing at such a high level.

Moving on to the Final. Adam Groves was the victor over Ralph Bartlett in yet another absorbing Match. Super Tennis was played by really nice lads, featuring high quality Tennis throughout. The 3rd-4th Place Match completed with Anthony Weingarten the winner over his younger opponent Henry Hammond. Yet another great match, a credit to the high standards that Essex Tennis demand from all its players.

This year this Event held a very special significance, as for the 1st time a trophy was presented to the winner, Adam Groves. The Trophy is a |memorial to the late Jamie Willson, Senior Essex Tennis Men’s Captain, who was instrumental in defining this Event with a Junior-Senior Focus. His memory will continue as a result of the presentation of this prestigious Trophy, namely the ‘Jamie Willson Winter Singles Invitation Trophy’.

The Trophy was presented by Lesley Pitt, herself a Junior Tennis Organiser & long Established Referee. Together with her late husband, Ian, she has known all the Junior Competitors who set out on Day 1 of this Event & so it was fitting that Lesley was there on the day to present the Awards & Trophy.

In summary, a very successful weekend of Junior-Senior Tennis which will continue on an annual basis providing structured competition for our Juniors & embarking on their next stage of competition within the Senior Ranks.

Graham Ray
Essex Tennis Team Selector – Performance Officer & Organiser.