The St Mary’s College Gunnedah boys tennis team has claimed a top 10 finish at the 2018 Australian Schools Tennis Challenge.
Taking on some of the best junior tennis players in the country, the team – made up of Aaron Osmond, Cooper Wilkinson, Luke Bradfield and Vitorio Sardinha – came back from a slow start at the tournament to finish ninth.
On day one, St Mary’s lost to Kelvin Grove College Brisbane (5-1) and Applecross SHS Perth (6-0).
The team claimed its first win against St Peter’s College Adelaide on a countback on day two before going down to Prince Alfred College Adelaide (5-1).
The final two days of the tournament was where St Mary’s really found their feet.
With rain threatening, they took on the Combined Albury High Schools team and claimed a 6-0 win to finish fifth in their pool.
This gave St Mary’s a finals berth where Barker College Sydney were awaiting them.
Rain eventually put a stop to play on day three with Barker ahead 3-2 and the final doubles match underway with St Mary’s up by a set and leading 2-0 in the second.
St Mary’s closed out the doubles match on day four to draw the tie at 3-all.
A countback on sets saw St Mary’s win 7-6 to set up a playoff for ninth against Marryatville High School Adelaide.
Once again, the matches were level at 3-all but so were the sets at 6-all.
It went down to games with St Mary’s taking a slender 39-36 win to finish ninth.
The school said the most pleasing aspect of the week was the compliments from other team managers on the politeness and humility of the boys.
This was further backed up by St Mary’s winning the John Newcombe Sportsmanship Award.
The award is judged on the players and coaches conduct and sportsmanship on and off the court.
The “Newk” Award is a four-week scholarship to the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in Texas, USA and is awarded to one boys and one girls team during the competition.