After the high of Andy Murray claiming his first-ever Wimbledon title, local tennis stars will have the chance to showcase their talents as the AES Ballylumford East Antrim Junior Tennis Championships gets under way this week.
The competition, which runs from Monday, July 15 until Friday, July 19, is set to be hosted by Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club. And there’s a bit of added significance tothis year’s tournament: it’s one of the core events in the selection process for the Ulster Junior teams for the Interprovincials in Munster in mid-August.
The tournament, clebrating its 21st year, awards UTP points according to the competitor’s success in the event At the end of the season the top eight players with most UTP points will qualify for the UTP Masters Tournament. The same criteria is used for selecting the interprovincial teams, only it looks at the points totals as at the end of July.
With so much at stake, it is hoped that many of Ulster’s top juniors will participate in the event.
Current holder of both the girls U16 and U18 titles, Emily Beattie, will hopefully be back to defend her titles.
The McCullough twins from Singapore are current holders of the U18 Girls’ doubles title and organisers hope they will confirm their entry in the next few days.
Amongst the local challengers are Grace Garstin, Alex Ogilby and Rebecca Campbell who have all been representing the Larne Club in the Belfast and District League with great credit.
Mary Parkash, a new member of the Larne club, is the current holder of the U12 Girls’ event and hopefully she will be back to defend her title.
Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club is grateful to AES Ballylumford, Larne Borough Council and First Trust Bank for their continued support of this tournament.
Play commences daily at 9 am through to 6 pm at the Glenarm Road club and members of the public are very welcome to come along and spectate. Hopefully they will experience some pleasant summer weather and see a few local players lift a trophy or two.
It is hoped that a number of kids from thel East Antrim area will make the effort to challenge themselves against Ulster’s best.