The first Battle of Shropshire – a team event introduced to the local tennis calendar by Tennis Shropshire – has been hailed an outstanding success.
Players of all ages and abilities from across the county took part in what proved to be a hugely enjoyable week-long festival of tennis held at The Shrewsbury Club.
Such was its popularity, plans are now in place for the event to be staged each year, with the tournament to be known as The Cathie Sabin Battle of Shropshire, in honour of Shropshire’s former LTA president, who sadly passed away in May.
Players were placed in one of two teams – Team Sabin or Team Broadbent, in tribute to current Tennis Shropshire president Jilly Broadbent – to battle for points on court in age group matches from under-eights to adults.
The outcome was still in the balance going into the final day when Team Sabin eventually emerged winners 121-101 to become the first Battle of Shropshire champions.
Tennis Shropshire chair Simon Jones said: “It was an amazing event, an excellent family week of tennis which everyone involved enjoyed being part of.
“We have unearthed a diamond really because it attracted players of all ages and abilities from all over the county.
“We always intended to run something in the last week of August after the County Championships was cancelled.
“The initial idea was that we would run a low key event – and we ended up with the Battle of Shropshire, which has proved to be a major success.
“We had 120 entries, from under-eights to players aged in their 70s. We had lots of adults playing, including people who wouldn’t normally enter the County Championships.
“It really was an excellent week of tennis, with different age groups playing on different days, which helped the social distancing aspect, and everyone had a lot of fun.
“Team Sabin eventually won on the last day, but it was very close all the way through.
“This event is something we will now look to continue. We will look to run it at a different time of year to give people the chance to play in both the Battle of Shropshire and also the County Championship when it returns.
“This new event will be called the Cathie Sabin Battle of Shropshire. Everything about it is testament to all that Cathie wanted from tennis, with lots of people of various abilities just getting on court, playing matches and having fun.”
Simon thanked The Shrewsbury Club for hosting the event and Simon Haddleton for all his hard work as competition organiser.
He added: “The concept of calling it the Battle of Shropshire was Simon Haddleton’s idea and he did all the scheduling and sorted the teams out, with Amy Dannatt on hand to support him and help run it.
“They did an absolutely awesome job throughout the week and we are so lucky to have two people in the county who love putting on events like this.
“With the weather as it was on some days, The Shrewsbury Club allowed some of the matches to be played indoors, so a big thank you to them for letting us use the venue and also to their team for all their help.”