TBHS - Qualifying for National Secondary Schools Teams Finals

The Timaru Boys High School Tennis Team has made history this past weekend by qualifying for Tennis NZ National Secondary Schools Teams Finals.  The team of five players: James Watt, Josh Cameron, George McAleer, Matt Ellis and Connor Crotty competed in the South Island Secondary School Championship Play-Offs at the Trust Aoraki Tennis Centre, here in Timaru, 2-4 March, 2018.

There were two spots up for grabs to represent the South Island at the National Finals.  TBHS were seeded 3rd behind the fancied number 1 seeds, Christ’s College and 2nd seeds Christchurch Boys High School.  Four singles and two doubles were played in each tie, with six schools competing at the South Island play-off, after qualifying to represent their region in regional play-offs.

Day one started on Friday 2 March with two ties. In the morning tie TBHS got off to a good start making it a clean sweep winning all six matches in the tie.  The afternoon tie against Christchurch Boys proved to be the most exciting tie of the weekend.  After the singles matches it was two a piece, with valuable wins netted by Matt Ellis playing at number 4 and by TBHS number one player James Watt.   Moreover, the match of the tie was played by Josh Cameron who took the vital set off Alex Emslie in an absolute thrilling three set encounter.  At the conclusion of the doubles it was all tied up at 3 matches each and the tie was decided on a set countback with TBHS taking it 7-6.  This proved to be the crucial win for Timaru Boys.
Back on court day two saw TBHS take on the the top seeds Christ’s College.  Christ’s goal going into the championship play-off was to not drop a set.  George McAleer, came agonisingly close to upsetting this goal by taking Liam Adams to a tie-break in the second set.  Christ’s team stacked with NZ representative players were just too good and won all six matches in the tie.

Next up on Day 2, TBHS faced off against St Bedes, who had also gone close with Christchurch Boys in which they lost the tie after being equal on matches, equal on sets and losing out on a games countback.  This put a little added pressure on the TBHS team going into this tie with St Bedes but TBHS had nothing to worry about winning five of the six matches.

After Day 2 the possibility of making it through to the national secondary school finals was looking very achievable.  The last hurdle now on Day 3 was to secure a win over Marlborough Boys College.  McAleer and Cameron had comfortable wins, while Watt had to work hard against Marlborough’s number one, left-hander Torban Otway to gain the win in 3 sets.  Doubles pairings of Cameron/Ellis and Watt/McAleer delivered and the tie was won, 5-1.

This is an outstanding achievement and comes from the culmination of three years of work and support from Tennis South Canterbury.  TBHS and Tennis South Canterbury entered into a memorandum of understanding to develop its school tennis players which included coaching from Kane Newland and more recently Rachel Ellis, with the ultimate goal of getting TBHS to the national finals.

The national secondary schools team finals will be held in Christchurch during summer tournament week: 19 – 22 March, at Wilding Park.  Christ’s College and Timaru Boys High will represent the South Island, and there will be four teams representing the three zones of the North Island.

Full results of the SISS Championships can be found: https://tennis.org.nz/InterclubCompetitionGradesList.asp?cnID=2841

Jane Sullivan
TBHS Tennis Team Manager