Sidmouth Boys title for Spalding

Sidmouth Tennis Club men's finalists

Sidmouth Tennis Club men's finalists - Credit: Archant

Two of the Sidmouth Tennis Club finals had to be postponed back in July when junior member, 14-year-old Louis Spalding, broke a bone in his foot two days before the event, writes Kate Truman.

Louis had qualified for the men’s doubles final, playing with partner and fellow junior, Ollie Truman, also 14 years of age and also for the boy’s juniors’ singles final – ironically against his doubles partner!

With young Spalding fit, the delayed finals were contested.

First up was the men’s double’s with the two youngsters up against Martin Truman and Duncan Hall – both standing six foot plus tall!

Thankfully, Louis is now fit and healthy and both matches were played at the beginning of this week.

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With this being a father versus son battle as well as a senior against junior match-up, there was much banter and psychological warfare before the match, with the men quietly concerned about the outcome of a match against two outstanding juniors who had already beaten three other senior pairings on their route to the final!

It seemed their fears were to be realised when the boys took the first set 6-3!

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However, the senior pairing then drew on their greater matchplay experience to good effect and, following a tactical discussion and a change of approach, the men managed to turn the tables to take the second set 6-4. Everything now rested on the Championship tie break but, unfortunately for the boys, the momentum remained with the seniors, who finished with a 10-2 win and their pride – just – intact.

Two days later, the boys played their Junior Boys Singles Final.

As good friends on and off court, but fierce competitors on it, this was always going to be a tough battle, physically and emotionally!

Truman took an early 3-1 lead in the first set but, in a match that was to be characterised by sudden changes in momentum, Spalding drew back and, in a desperately hard fought final couple of games, took the first set 6-4. Despite having started the match at 4.30pm, the light was by now already fading and play was momentarily interrupted to find money for the floodlights!

In an equally tight second set, it was Truman who managed to maintain the slight advantage to take the second set 7-5.

Despite having played for over two hours, the boys then took it upon themselves to play a full third set rather than the usual championship tie-break!

The two remained neck and neck until three games all before Spalding, in a final super-human effort, dug in deep to win the final three games consecutively and take the coveted Boys’ title, a fantastic achievement. It was an epic and nail-biting three-hour match, truly worthy of a final, and both boys should be proud.

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