Culford cement place as ‘kings of the court’ at school nationals

TOP DOGS: Culford Schools LTA National Schools Team Championship Under-18s Boys winning team with their trophy and coaches
TOP DOGS: Culford Schools LTA National Schools Team Championship Under-18s Boys winning team with their trophy and coaches
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Culford Tennis Academy cemented their position as the new kings of the court by ending Surrey-based Reed’s School’s decade of domination of the LTA National Schools Team Tennis Championship.

The Under-18 Boys’ side provided a landmark moment for the school, situated on the fringes of Bury St Edmunds, lifting the Glanville Cup in Nottingham on Friday for the first time in Culford’s history.

It capped a fairytale season for the private school’s academy, with 2016/17 having seen them named ‘the Best Co-Ed UK Tennis School’ by the Lawn Tennis Association, as well as a host of on-court triumphs.

Just a week after their talented scholars served up two national titles (U19 & U15 Girls Doubles) at the Independent Schools Tennis Championships held at Eton School, the top seeded team of Joe Tyler, Will Davies, Oscar Cutting, Harry Wendelken and Ed Putney won what was the season’s top prize.

Head coach Andrew Richardson said: “To win the most high profile event of the year is an outstanding achievement and undoubtedly the proudest moment in our tennis history.”

Reed’s School had won the Glanville Cup — for both state and private schools — for the past 10 years, but Culford’s qualifying performances, to win through to the last 16 over four days of knockout tennis in Nottingham, saw them given the top seeding.

After a nail-biting tiebreak shootout in their semi-final with Merchiston Castle School from Edinburgh, Culford overcame the mighty Reed’s School 4-1 in the final.

Despite having Great Britain Under-16s’ number one, Harry Wendelken, in their side, Richardson said there were no stand-out performers firing them to glory.

“All four players (Ed Putney was reserve) played their part, and it was the team element that won us the competition,” he said.

Culford’s strength-in-depth was shown by being the only school to have two boys’ and two girls’ teams in the finals day.

With the Boys’ B Team finishing sixth, the girls also shone, with the Under-18s’ A Team claiming third place in the Aberdare Cup, losing the semi-final narrowly in a tie-break to Cheam High School.