HAVING five months off the tennis circuit as he recovered from a range of injuries did no harm to the fortunes of The Armidale School’s Nicholas Barnier, with the Gunnedah prospect selected as the No.3 seed in the Combined Athletic Association of Great Public Schools (AAGPS) tennis team this week.
The first ever trials to select a GPS representative tennis for the Combined Independent Schools Championships attracted 21 boys from all nine GPS schools to the courts at Shore School in Sydney.
In his first two matches Barnier defeated the top-seeded players from both The King's School and St Joseph’s College in extended sets (8-5), before going down in the semis by a similar margin to Justin Dong from Newington, who finished the day on top of the ladder - ahead of school mate Eric Tripathi.
“It was very competitive tennis and some of the players were a bit shocked to see TAS there," Barnier said.
"So it was good to be able to surprise them.
So it’s great that that has paid off and I’m able to have a crack at the next level.Nicholas Barnier
"I was let down by my double faults and only held serve a few times, but otherwise I felt I played pretty well."
Barnier has long been active on the Australian junior tennis circuit, and prior to a right shoulder injury was ranked eighth in NSW and in the top 25 in Australia, for his age.
The selected eight will represent GPS at the CIS trials, to be held on February 20 at The King's School. They will play Combined Associated Schools, Combined High Schools and Combined Catholic Colleges.
The top eight from that tournament will then make the NSW Schoolboys team to play the inter-state Pizzey Cup.
“I’ve missed a lot of tournaments over the past five months due to injuries and have been building up with heaps of training," Barnier said.
"So it’s great that that has paid off and I’m able to have a crack at the next level."