Team Sabin crowned Battle of Shropshire winners as enjoyable team event for tennis players proves popular
An exciting finish saw Team Sabin narrowly beat Team Smith 57-56 as the second Battle of Shropshire, an enjoyable team event for tennis players from around the county, proved a big hit.
Introduced for the first time last year by Tennis Shropshire, 90 players took part in this year's event, a festival of tennis for players of all ages and abilities, which was played across a number of weeks.
Players were placed in one of two teams - Team Sabin, in honour of Shropshire’s former LTA president Cathie Sabin, who sadly passed away last year, or Team Smith, in tribute to current Tennis Shropshire president Keith Smith.
The outcome of the competition was eventually decided via the final matches on court at The Shrewsbury Club.
Tennis Shropshire chair Simon Jones said: "It was pretty close all the way through, which was great as it meant there was everything to play for going into the final matches.
"We had to extend the event by a couple of weeks as it was played outdoors and the weather wasn’t kind at times. Rather than cut it short, we decided to extend it to make sure that everybody played, which was the right thing to do.
“Just like last year when it was held for the first time, it was once again a great event.
"We had under-eights represented right the way to people in their seventies playing. It ended up being 45 players on each team and the spirit and atmosphere, on and off court, was fantastic.
“The event has quickly become an integral part of the Tennis Shropshire calendar, with people looking out for it and wanting to play in it.
“It provides an opportunity for players from clubs all over the county to play together in the same team as people from other clubs. They are meeting people for the first time, making new friends, so it’s just fantastic.”
Simon highlighted the role played by Simon Haddleton, the tournament director, supported by Amy Dannatt, in ensuring the event was such a success.
“Both Simon and Amy are just phenomenal,” he added. "What they do for tennis in Shropshire in terms of giving their time is fantastic and we are so blessed to have them.
“They did a great job again. On behalf of everyone who took part, a huge thank you to them both as without them it wouldn’t be possible.
“It was also nice that Keith Smith, our president, came along and offered his support on a number of occasions throughout the tournament.
“Having done so much for the county over so many years, this is Keith first year as president.
"Another highlight for me is that it is wonderful to see somebody like Keith back at the forefront of tennis in the county. Having done so much to promote tennis in Shropshire, Keith is so well respected by many.”
Tennis Shropshire chair Simon is now looking forward to the Battle of Shropshire continuing to go from strength to strength.
"There’s an appetite for it,” he said. "People want it and it's what tennis is all about. Its success is testament to tennis in Shropshire.”
Pictured: Players on court at The Shrewsbury Club during the Battle of Shropshire team event.