Success of Wimbledon spurs youngsters on at Norfolk School Games day four

Tennis tournament at Easton College, part of the Norfolk summer school games.
Photo: Bill Smith

Tennis tournament at Easton College, part of the Norfolk summer school games. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Hundreds of youngsters batted their way to victory today at the Norfolk School Games tennis tournament.

Spurred on by Andy Murray's Wimbledon success in Wednesday night's match, budding tennis stars of the future fought to win for their partnership at Easton College Tennis Centre.

And with talk of the international tournament filling the courts, the excited youngsters were determined to win.

Eight-year-old Gabriel Overton, at St Peters Church of England Primary School, was playing for the West Norwich and Dereham partnership.

The county player said: 'I definitely want to play tennis when I'm older - when I watch it on the television it makes me want to play even more.

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'Andy Murray is number two in the world but I want to be number one.'

And with media leaders from Dereham Neatherd High School reporting, the pressure was on.

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Laurie Ollerton, 13, at Thorpe St Andrew High School was representing Norwich East Partnership and said: 'When there's a grand slam it makes you want to play more tennis.

'There's been a really good atmosphere today, there's people here who have only been playing for six months but are already great players.'

With high standards across the courts, some youngsters already had big plans for the future.

Rosie Pooley, 12, at Wymondham College, was representing the South Norfolk Partnership. She said: 'I'm number one in the county and I'm hoping I'll get to compete in the 'Road to Wimbledon' tournament.

'But this tournament shows that loads of people find tennis really fun even if they're beginners.'

And with youngsters practising hard before the big day, Rob McCombe, partnership development manager for West Norwich and Dereham, said: 'The Games are great because they get to have a little mini Wimbledon at the end of all the hard work.

'It's good timing with Andy Murray's match - we've been using his comeback in the last three sets as a message to show that even if players are losing they can go on to win - they can see that and relate it to their own game.

With children of all abilities attending the tournament, Mr McCombe said: 'We're finding a lot of children attend the School Games and then go on to play further tennis - the success of the Games is it's ability to expose children to sports they have never played before.'

And it wasn't just tennis that kept the competitive spirit going at day four of the Games, more than 200 primary and secondary school pupils competed in a golf tournament at Bawburgh Golf Course.

Tomorrow will see more than 700 youngsters compete in athletics and volleyball competitions as well as a talent assessment for young people with a disability at the 'Playground to Podium' event.

The Sainbury's-sponsored School Games are organised locally by Active Norfolk, Norfolk School Sport Partnerships and sponsors UEA Sportspark.

Follow the games on Twitter @NorfolkSchGames or our websites for the live blog.

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