September 30 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 31, 2014
University College School’s tennis team finished in the top eight Under-19 sides in Great Britain at the national finals in Sheffield – despite most of them being 16 years old or younger.
In 2013, as Under-15s, UCS had progressed to the last 16 of the AEGON Team Tennis Schools National Championships – out of 1,500 schools – and finished third.
One year on, Ben Jones, Max Benaim, Rohan Sikka and Jimmy Benjamin took the school to the finals day again, but this time they were facing opponents who were up to two years older in the Under-19s section.
However, they still came eighth, and will have a further two years in the same age group to get even better results in 2015 and 2016.
UCS took a five-man squad to Sheffield, with 17-year-old Ben Zuckerman, 15-year-old Jamie Osrin and 13-year-old Alex Zuckerman replacing the unavailable Benaim and Sikka.
UCS were drawn against Calday Grange Grammar School in the last 16, and they triumphed 12-0 to set up a clash against the fourth seeds, Merchiston Castle School from Scotland, in the final eight.
It was a tough task, especially as Merchiston had the No1 ranked Under-18 player in the country in their side.
Jones, 16, came out on top in that singles match, but the Scottish school triumphed overall, leaving UCS with two games to decide their final position.
The north Londoners took on second seeds Cheam High School and were defeated, which left them playing for seventh and eighth against Birkdale School from Sheffield.
With some extremely close sets, the fixture went down to the last deciding tie-break – and with only a few points separating the two schools, UCS lost out again and had to settle for eighth place.
Despite that, there were plenty of reasons for optimism – particularly the performances of Jones, who won all four of his singles matches, and Alex Zuckerman, the second-youngest player at the finals.