Tennis juniors sharpen skills in Brisbane battles


A highly accomplished tennis team from Nightcliff Primary School mounted spirited attacks at the 2020 Brisbane International Schools Challenge State Finals on 9 and 10 January.

The eight-member side of boys and girls earned a tournament place after triumphing in the Territory region of the Brisbane International Red Ball Schools’ Challenge.

Clashes at the six match state finals returned mixed results for the Territory representatives. They lost three games, but married gritty determination to tactical intelligence in scoring two victories and limiting fiery net side contenders to a one-time draw.

HPE Teacher and Sporting Schools Coordinator Mathew Ryan said students from 20 schools battled in “high intensity time-limited games” comprising matches of two doubles and four singles.

“All schools rotated through the matches, and we optimised our doubles games strength by pairing the best suited players,” he said. “Like our singles preparation, it was a planned response to a particular style of play.

“Some important lessons were learned, including the need to play to a standard expected in a big tournament. The team achieved this after a crunch first round match against Gold Coast heavyweight, The Southport School.

“And the finals also taught the team to be confident in calling balls that are out of bounds, referring disputes to the referee, and refocusing after losses.

“Seeing my students give their very best against some of Australia's best junior tennis players is always a source of tremendous personal pride.

“When school recommences we’ll start training to qualify for next year’s finals.”

In November last year Nightcliff Primary School was feted as the 2019 Tennis NT Most Outstanding School.

Coach Mathew Ryan and the Nightcliff Challenge team.

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