Pembertons and Lloyd-Moliners claim Aussie Open Junior Glory

From Left to Right photo above,U9 Doubles Winners, Paul and Tristan Pemberton and Under 7 Doubles Winners Ignacio and David Lloyd-Moliner.

With the temperature close to freezing and heavy rain having fallen most of the day, Askham Bryan Indoor Sports Hall was the perfect venue for the Junior Benenden Tennis Fesitval. I would like to start by thanking Tim Whittaker and Billy Miller of Askham Bryan College for arranging the ‘Community Tennis Partnership’ with York Tennis Academy, giving us use of this fantastic facility, which has benefitted children and adults across the York Tennis Academy Programme and on this occassion, allowing a family tennis event to go ahead that would otherwise have been a wash out.

The Benenden Tennis Festival was ‘Aussie Open’ themed and saw 2 competitions take place simultaneously the first an Under 9 child and family member doubles event, and the second an Under 7 child and family member doubles event. The winning teams are photographed from left to right, Paul and Tristan Pemberton (U9 winners) and Ignacio and David Lloyd Moliner (U7 winners). The template for news on our website only allows 1 space for photos, but a full set of photos can be found on the York Tennis Club website by clicking the following link,

The Under 9 and Family Member Event

This saw 6 pairs competing for the title in a round robin group format, playing tie breaks up to 10, with suddden death points should the score become 9-9. It was great to see Benenden Tennis Debuts from Matilda Hallgate and her dad James, who performed admirably and scored well in each match as well as Stefan and David Martin. It was great to see Matilda and James competing and how much Matilda is growing in confidence and skill as a tennis player all the time.

A great deal of credit must go to Stefan Martin, who was actually young enough for the U7 event but instead chose to test himself against the big guns in the U9 competition and performed very well in collecting several wins in the group stage.

Sophie and Mathew Johnson, produced some great tennis, with Sophie growing in confidence as the match went on. Mathew Johnson improving all the time and a regular attendee of Bradley’s Start Tennis Class 10am to 11am. The class runs simultaneously with junior class times so if any of the parents fancy having a go and taking up the game they can do so at the same time as their children are doing so. Apologies for a little bit of a advertisement in the middle of the article, but I suppose you’re always welcome to advertise on your own website!

Following on from an impressive tournament finishing 3rd with older daughter Georgina in last weeks Benenden ‘open’ family doubles at York Tennis Club, Gareth Edwards (dad) teamed up with younger daughter Millie to form a formidable team, having performed well together in last year’s ‘Quorn’ family doubles event. Such was her desire to compete, that Millie did a full ‘knee slide’ (much like a premier league goal celebration) on the sports hall floor chasing down a wide ball taking skin off her knee, but heroically played through the injury (Andy Murray style), competing well throughout and narrowly missing out on the final.

The final saw pre-tournament favourites Tristan and Paul Pemberton, last year’s narrowly vanquished ‘Quorn’ finalists take on up and coming star Daniel and his dad, York Tennis Club Legend Richard Cranidge. The standard of tennis was excellent throughout with Tristan and Daniel in particular demonstrating great control to hit with both power and spin on the mini red court. After a high quality contest it was Tristan and dad Paul who emerged as victors. It was great to see so many great rallies and everyone enjoying the event. Paul and Tristan are pictured on the left of the photo at the top of the page.

The Under 7 Event

The Under 7 event embodied the true spirit of a ‘participation tournament’, tie-break doubles up to 10, again with sudden death should matches go to 9-9 on a slightly shortened badminton size court.  A great deal of credit must go to the adult family members in this event, and David Lloyd-Moliner as Ignacio’s ‘senior’ partner for embodying this spirit and really helping the U9s produce some great rallies in the competition.

The U7 competition saw a double entry by the Edwards family, with Aunty Alyson Sheppard making the commendable effort of a journey from Cheltenham to take part in the event. The other family members taking part were mum Suzanne and daughters Freya and Amelia. Apologies again to the girls that I keep getting their names mixed up despite them wearing name badges and Freya having bunches and Amelia a single pony tail. Names were drawn out of a hat and the pairings came out as Alysson and Freya (pair 1) and Amelia and Suzanne (pair 2). Alysson and Freya grew in confidence as the competition went on and competed very well, recording an impressive victory along the way. Amelia and mum Suzanne, wearing a Bollettieri Tennis Academy T-shirt (her York Tennis Academy one unfortunately being in the wash), were victorious in the all family clash and went on to reach the final.

Joseph Greaney (aged 5) became our youngest ever competitor and teamed up with dad Paul, who proved as silky skilled on court as in it. Joseph and Paul may have actually beaten both sets of finalists in the group stages. I say may as they beat the eventual winners in the group stage and the match against the finalists went to a sudden death 9-9 point, with both teams thinking they had won the deciding point, a technical fault with the video review system and 2 young children excited at having won the match it was decided that both teams should be given the win so it ended up as the first ever double team 10-10 victory. Unfortunately, for Team Greaney (like Liverpool FC) the league is won or lost on performances against all the other teams, not just the top sides and they narrowly missed out on the final. It was a great debut performance from Team Greaney.

The competition also saw a wonderful debut performance by rising star Harry Skidmore with dad Tom. Harry has recently joined York Tennis Academy and shown great ability and emthusiasm to learn, it is a privilege to work with such talented young players and exciting to think about the future they could have in the game. I didn’t start competing in tennis until I was 12 and my occasional junior doubles partner Jonathan Marray (Wimbledon Men’s Doubles Champion 2012) similarly didn’t start competing until a year or so earlier than this and did ok, so at 6 you’ve certainly had a head start on us!

The final saw Amelia and Suzanne Edwards take on Ignacio and David Lloyd-Moliner. Both teams had competed brilliantly during the group stage and ended up on 39 points. After a titanic struggle Ignacio and David ended up as the U7 doubles Benenden Aussie Open Benenden Champions. David is an ever improving member of the York Tennis Club U9 Aegon LTA Team Tennis Squad in preparation for a big 2017 season and has been a great help in being a hitting / rally partner to the U8 class on a Saturday morning. Ignacio and David are pictured in the photo on the top of the page on the left.

Dad Nick had competed with David in last weeks ‘open’ Benenden Doubles event and works for Benenden so he can gush with pride at work on Monday. He also knows more about discretionary health care than anyone I’ve ever met.

Special Thanks

In addition to Askham Bryan College, Tim Whittaker and Billy Miller, I would also like to say special thank yous the following:

David Moore

David ran the U9 event with far greater effeciency than I ran the U7s, they had finished their group of 6 teams before we had finished our group of 5. A great help as ever, and I did have a packet of Haribo Pinballs (no expense spared), to present to him but in the midst of the presentation regrettably forgot, but he is babysitting for Fiona and I later today so he won’t have to wait long.

Bradley Austin

Bradley ran the ‘Open’ family Doubles Aussie Open Benenden Tournament last Sunday doing a fantastic job as well as covering my (normally indoor) U12 Academy Class,  allowing me to run the Benenden Event yesterday at Askham Bryan College. Bradley has been a fantastic addition to the coaching at York Tennis Academy and I would like to thank him again for all his hard work in continuing to help more youngsters play the game and making it possible for us to keep growing our programme and what we can offer. The Aussie Open Benenden Events have seen in total (including Open, U9 and U7) 18 competing pairs (36 family members) which is great especially for February and this is in no small part due to Bradley’s help and assistance with the events.

John Linfoot

Thanks also to John Linfoot, former Chairman of York Tennis Club for providing limited edition pens that were given to each of the competing adults, so nobody went home empty handed.


York Tennis Club was the first venue to be a ‘featured’ venue for the Benenden Tennis Festivals across the country as Benenden is a company based local to York. Every child who entered the Aussie Open event received a ‘party bag’ of goodies, with the winners getting special Benenden Bags, all party bags included tennis prizes including grips, shock absorbers, stickers as well as balloons, boomerangs, sun glasses etc. All of the above prizes were provided by Benenden as part of their sponsorship of these events nationally and their partnership with the LTA. it is a great help as a tournament organiser to have these packs that we can use to give every child a momento of having played and something to take away and I want to thank Benenden for their sponsorship of the events across the county.

Future Participation Tournament Events

I have signed up York Tennis Club, as a venue to running every Benenden Tennis Festival offered in 2017, which is typically around 6, as part of our commitment to getting as many children introduced to competition as possible and at the right level for them.

The next Benenden Tennis Festival is called ‘Girl, Set and Match’ and we are therefore guaranteed new winners. It was great to see so many girls playing at this event and we hope for yet more girls at the next event, particularly given its title. If girls encourage their school friends to also have a go, the precise format and date is yet to be decided but it is likely to be similar to this event so there is no need for anyone to feel they are not capable of taking part because it will be another all inclusive event.

Further events across the year include, ‘Grass Court Event’, ‘US Open’ Event, “Halloween Event’ as well as Quorn red ball and for the first time (at York Tennis Club) Quorn Hard Ball events, these are also family events very similar to the format we adopted for the Aussie Open Benenden Event.