Youngsters enjoy tennis summer sessions

Tennis Coach Mark Barras with (left to right) Pierce Subran, Rhiana Porritt, Molly Butcher and Emma Fishwick participanting in the coaching game and play session held at the Eldon Grove Tennis Club. Picture by FRANK REID
Tennis Coach Mark Barras with (left to right) Pierce Subran, Rhiana Porritt, Molly Butcher and Emma Fishwick participanting in the coaching game and play session held at the Eldon Grove Tennis Club. Picture by FRANK REID

Young tennis players have been inspired by the stars at Wimbledon to pick up a racquet closer to home.

Eldon Grove Tennis Club’s courts have been packed this week with the start of the club’s summer tennis programme.

Over 30 youngsters took to the courts during the opening two open-to-all sessions, part of Hartlepool Borough Council’s summer sport programme.

Eldon Grove’s head coach, Mark Barras said: “The numbers have been excellent we are really happy with them and long may it continue.

“It’s a result of a few things, number one the weather, which has been quite good, I think we have advertised the sessions quite well, Wimbledon has been on, the Davis Cup too, it all contributes.”

The two-hour sessions, which will run throughout the school holidays, are open to ages five to 18 and include an hours coaching and an hour of fun games.

Barras said: “I think an hour of coaching and an hour of games is ideal really.

“We do little games, throwing games, target games with the younger ones and a bit of technical coaching.”

He added: “The sessions have been excellent. The children who have come along have been lovely and the parents have enjoyed leaving them here and the kids have been really looking forward to coming back so it is all looking good.”

The sessions are run by Barras, and Ashley Stirk, both qualified coaches, in conjunction with Council’s sport programme, something which Barras believes is beneficial for everyone.

“It is good, of course it is. The more people involved and supporting the better,” he said.

“I think it works well for the council and their numbers, and it is excellent for us because it is more advertising, so it is good that we are working together.

“The council want us to do well and we want the council do well as well.”

Barras said he believes there is a strong interest in tennis across the town.

“Children do that many things now so I think we are doing well.

“So many schools now are doing after school clubs, considering that and all the other factors there is a real interest in the town definitely and I think considering we have only got two clubs in Hartlepool, Eldon Grove does well.”

The Summer programme sessions take place on Tuesdays, from 10am until 12pm, and Thursdays, from 1pm until 3pm, throughout the school holidays.

The club also provide an open junior session from 10.30am until 12pm on Saturdays, and one for children aged five to eight from 1pm until 2pm.

Anyone interested in tennis at the club can turn up to any session or contact Tony Evans on 01429 263666