Club’s finals day is a big hit

Berkhamsted Tennis Club chairman Dave Walden with club trustee Sue Wolstenholme, OBE, who presented the trophies after the club's finals day at the weekend.
Berkhamsted Tennis Club chairman Dave Walden with club trustee Sue Wolstenholme, OBE, who presented the trophies after the club's finals day at the weekend.

Berkhamsted Tennis Club held their annual Finals Day last weekend which saw a host of closely-contested matches.

The club, in Lower Kings Road, held the event on a gloriously sunny day last Saturday and the standard of tennis was even better than ever.

In the marquee match-up, Josh Sapwell, a former junior world champion, defeated up-and-coming junior prospect Joel Pierleoni in the men’s singles final in a tight three-set battle.

Sapwell joined the Berkhamsted Elite Tennis Academy towards the end of 2017 as a hitting partner for Joel.

Sapwell has competed at Wimbledon in both the senior and junior events before having to halt his professional career due to injury.

He said: “It was amazing to be part of the club finals day for the first time this year.

“It was a fantastic day complimented by great weather.

“I enjoyed the match – mostly! It was packed with high-quality tennis and I was pushed all the way by the young boy.”

Teenager Pierleoni has continued his steady rise after finishing fifth in the under-14s world championship at the end of last year and he has now entered the under-18s International Tennis Federation (ITF) age group where he made his first appearance in an event in Cyprus in May.

In 2017 the 15-year-old spent multiple weeks on the road with the national under-14s team as well as training in Spain and at home in Berkhamsted.

The Chesham Grammar School student will compete in further under-18s ITF events later this month in Germany, Belgium and Holland before representing Great Britain at the European Summer Cup.

The ladies’ final was also a thrilling and tightly-fought battle with Nicky Simper beating doubles partner Joelle Elgy in two close sets, in what was a repeat of last year’s final.

Those two were then beaten by Judith Allnutt and Farida Korallus in the ladies’ doubles final.

Allnutt was also successful in the mixed doubles, partnering Alex Haddad, as they defeated Craig Blythe and Natalia Ilkow 7-5, 7-6.

Cameron Johnston, a club newcomer, took the men’s doubles title alongside first-team captain Olly Fradgley.

They were delighted to see off the challenge from coaches Nick Brooks and Jose Mateus.

In the age group categories, the club’s chairman Dave Walden joined up with Penny Kent 25 years after they won the main mixed doubles together, to take the over-45s mixed title off Wal and Tracey Mackey.

There were also many other matches on the day, with 61 members playing in a finals event.

For more details about the club, visit their website at www.bltsrc.co.uk.