Game and set, but no match for Rainey Boys

IN their first year of competitive tennis the Rainey Endowed School Form 1 boys’ tennis team have made the semi-final of the Ulster Schools Tennis Cup. This is a fantastic achievement for the boys and one that they really deserve. In their qualifying section the Rainey boys played Ballymena Academy, Coleraine AI and Ballyclare HS.

They opened their account with a narrow home win against Ballymena Academy. Wins for Number 1 seed Sam Hardy and Number 4 seed Jonathan Carson gave the boys a sound start. A win for Sam and Patrick McGowan in the doubles left the match score 3-3. However, when the games were added up Rainey had more, so were awarded the match.

Next up for the boys was another home tie against Coleraine AI. After the 4 singles games Rainey found themselves 3-1 behind, with Ryan Doherty at Number 3 seed getting the Rainey victory. However, the boys fought brilliantly in the doubles to get two wins and square the match at 3-3. When the games were totalled the match was still level so the points were shared. In the final group game the boys travelled to Muckamore Tennis club to play Ballyclare HS.

The boys produced an excellent performance to win 6-0 and only dropped 7 games in the whole match. Sam, Patrick and Ryan all won their games comfortably; together with Adam Thornton who was playing his first match. This victory meant they won their group and qualified them for the Ulster Schools Tennis Cup semi-final. In the semi-final they played Campbell College, Belfast.

This was going to be very difficult match for the boys. The game was played at Muckamore Tennis Club and although they gave their best they found the opposition to strong and lost the game 6-0. The boys deserve great praise for their performances’ and efforts throughout the competition and should be very proud of getting to the semi-finals.

The Junior boy’s team also had a really pleasing season. They all had the advantage of playing in this competition last year, so it was hoped that this experience would serve them well. They started their campaign with a home match against Ballymena Academy. Robert Riddell, Number 3 seed and Adam Rowe, Number 4 seed both won their singles to leave the match 2-2.

They also won their doubles to leave the final score 3-3. Unfortunately, when the games were added Ballymena won and so got the extra point. In match two they hosted Coleraine AI and won 4-2. Wins for Neal Hastings, Robert and Adam gave them a 3-1 singles lead. Robert and Adam then won their doubles to give Rainey victory.

Next up was another close contest against Ballyclare HS. This match was also drawn 3-3, but this time Rainey won when the games were totalled. Neal and Adam won their singles and Robert and Adam combined to win their doubles. In their final group match they played Dalriada. The standard of their tennis had really improved and they showed this during this match by winning 4-2.

Neal, Robert and Adam all won their singles, with Robert and Adam combing to win their doubles. Mention must go to Number 1 seed Mark McLean who came up against some very difficult opponents. Mark battled hard in every game and improved greatly. He displayed great spirit throughout.

This victory meant they finished runners-up in their group and therefore qualified for the semi-final of the Ulster Schools Tennis Plate were they would play Regent House. Unfortunately, due to the Spainish School Trip the game had to be forfeited, denying the boys the opportunity of getting into the final. However, this was another fantastic achievement for the boys.

The Intermediate team, however, have been playing against teams who are one year older and have therefore found the opposition very tough. In their first game they were defeated 5-1 by Limavady GS, their only victory was recorded by Rory and Andrew Nicholl in the doubles. They then travelled to Ballymena to play Cambridge House and came up against another good team, particularly at Number 1 and 2.

They lost 4-2 with Rory Nicholl winning at Number 3 seed and Andrew Nicholl winning at Number 4 seed. Their third match was against Ballymena Academy and some excellent tennis helped the boys record their first win. Scott Campbell at Number 2 seed, along with Rory and Andrew gave the boys a 3-1 lead after the singles. Then two good performances in the doubles completed the victory.

Scott and Mark Rooney defeated Ballymena’s top seeds and Andrew and Rory won to give them the match. This has been a great experience for the intermediate team and should set them up well for next season when they will be playing in the same age group. Many thanks to racquets coach Gareth Brown for his work with the teams.

Well done to all the members of the Form 1, Junior Boy’s and Intermediate Boy’s Tennis Teams for having a really successful and enjoyable season. All the boys represented the school with great endeavour and gave their best in each game. It is hoped that success and continued enjoyment will come in future years and Boys tennis at Rainey will go from strength to strength