Tennis serves the interests of a broad Borders age range

Singles winners and runners-up.
Singles winners and runners-up.

Tennis promoters in the Borders have been reflecting on the advantages of a summer of confined senior and adult tournaments, along with a recent open session.

A five-day adult event was held by Tennis Borders in late August at Melrose and St Boswells.

First and second pairings in the mixed doubles.

First and second pairings in the mixed doubles.

Player numbers were up by almost a third on last year, resulting in over 40 per cent more matches, and the committee thanked all who entered, especially the new faces, and hoped the upward trend would continue.

Unfortunately, heavy rain on the Friday evening stopped some play, leaving more matches for the Saturday, when short sets had to be used to ensure only finals remained for the Sunday.

All finals were completed, despite a poor weather forecast – the main draw at Melrose and most consolation finals at St Boswells.

Hawick’s Harris Brogan retained his men’s singles title by beating West Linton’s Sean Berthelsen in the final – this after Harris had become the 16&Under and 18&Under Boys’ Singles Champion at the Borders Junior Confined Tournament, run at the Borders Tennis Centre in Galashiels the previous week.

Aleksandra Misz, of the Peebles Club, won all three of the women’s titles, beating clubmate and women’s doubles partner Zara Elliot in a very close singles final, which went to a tie-break decider.

Graeme Kirkpatrick, also from Peebles, partnered Aleksandra to win the mixed doubles title, and he retained the men’s doubles title with clubmate Michael McGee, just managing to win the match tie-break against Selkirk’s Cedric Raffier and (junior) Ivan Burt-Smith.

A Tennis Borders spokesman thanked everyone involved in supporting the events .

Earlier in the summer, Kelso Orchard Club and its members hosted a Seniors event for the first time.

Thanks were extended to Susan Smith, the tournament organiser, and all entrants, and the spokesman added: “It’s great that so many folk in the Borders are still competing in the over 40, 55 and 70 age groups.”

Meanwhile, Borders Tennis Centre opened its doors to over 40 youngsters from across the region as part of a drive to get more youngsters in the region involved in the sport. Promoted through clubs and Live Borders Active Schools programme, the initiative encouraged children to come and give tennis a try for free. The sessions were led by tennis development officer Alastair McCulloch, assisted by some of the leading junior players from the Borders Tennis Academy programme.

The fun day saw a combination of skills-based exercises, technical practices and some informal matchplay and competition.

Alastair said: “It was refreshing to see so many new faces come along to BTC, pick up a racket and have some fun. The centre is a hub of activity at the moment but we are always looking to make tennis more accessible to a wider audience.”