Vigrass and Vigrass Champions Again – 2011

The Prested Hall Real Tennis Club is celebrating the achievements of members Claire Vigrass, 19 and her elder sister Sarah, 23, in the Ladies’ British, Australian and World Open Championships. The sisters were losing finalists in the British Open Doubles and progressed smoothly through the singles to meet each other in the final. Both hit with awesome power and cut, but Sarah was forced into a string of snatched errors as she struggled to stay on terms with her opponent’s focus and accuracy.


Although she created chances, Sarah only managed to convert them into one game, losing the first set 1 — 6. However, her railroad serve started to take effect in the second set and she gained the initiative, forcing Claire into mistakes through the clever use of angles off the walls. Sarah took the first three games and looked on course for a fight back, but Claire showed the tenacity worthy of her ladies’ number one world ranking, pulling back to 4 — 4. Sarah was leading 30 — 15 in the next game when she drove a seemingly easy shot into the net and Claire took command. She hit a series of winners to an immaculate length and won the set and retained her singles title 6 — 1, 6 — 4.


At the Australian Open in Ballarat, the pair successfully defended their Doubles title, beating Karen Hird (Queen’s Club, GB) and Rosie Snell (Royal Melbourne, AUS) 6/1, 6/3 in the final. The Singles final was again an all-Vigrass affair, with Claire defeating Sarah by the same 6/1, 6/4 margin to take the title for the second year running. The sisters continued in devastating form throughout the world championships at Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, inflicting another defeat on Hird and Snell 6 — 2, 6 — 1 in the doubles final. The match commentator described their performance as ‘…a new dawn for ladies’ tennis…’, with Claire and Sarah playing power tennis the likes of which is usually reserved for top-line male professionals…’


Hird avenged herself against Sarah in the semi-final of the singles, recovering from a set down to win unexpectedly 1 — 6, 6 — 3, 6 — 2. In the final, Hird again lost the first set 1 — 6 to Claire, but her change of tactics to railroad serves and deceptive cross-court forehands brought her back to 4 — 5 in the second set, at which stage Claire audibly willed herself to ‘Finish it!’ She promptly took the next game, the set, and the match to become the youngest ever Ladies’ World Open Singles Champion.


Prested Hall’s head professional Ricardo Smith shares the delight of club members at Claire’s realising the ambition she has cherished almost since she first stepped on court as a 12-year-old. ‘Claire displayed talent from the outset, but it would not have paid off without the dedication and sheer hard work with which she has applied herself.  She has already won every major ladies’ title, and now both sisters look set to dominate the ladies’ game for some time to come.’


Ricardo attributes the sisters’ initial success to the club’s junior training programme and members’ willingness to allow juniors to participate in club nights, competitions and social matches. He advises parents whose children are inspired to follow in Claire and Sarah’s footsteps to contact him at Prested Hall and arrange an introductory session. ‘There’s no charge, we provide the racket and other equipment free, and youngsters who show an aptitude for the game can apply for one of our bursaries which Prested Hall’s proprietor Mike Carter generously funds. We have several up-and-coming juniors, such as Kelvedon’s Lewis Williams who has won both British and French titles at junior level, but we would always welcome the opportunity to train more.’

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Mothers Day Pamper

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Our Mother’s Day Pamper includes a welcome drink & pastries on arrival, an hours treatment for you – an Elemis facial or a deluxe manicure (upgrades/extra treatments are available subject to availability), a two-course lunch with a glass of wine in The Club Bistro, the use of our 20m pool, steam room and sauna from 10am, the use of a robe, towel and complimentary slippers.


£70 per person


Includes a free Elemis gift for your Mother


Available from Friday 13th to Monday 16th March 2015

To book please see a member of the team, email our spa directly or call us on 01376 572175

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Spring Wedding Events


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Join us at one of our popular wedding events, the perfect opportunity to view our elegant reception rooms and Gazebo, all licensed for your civil ceremony. See inside our 16 lovely bedrooms, exclusively yours, and a traditional marquee in summer. Meet our dedicated wedding and events team, ask any questions and start planning your wedding.

Prested Hall – Your Wedding, Your Way.






Viewing Evening

Thursday 26th March 2015 from 5 – 9pm

Come and visit us throughout the evening and view all of our rooms that are exclusively yours when you have your wedding at Prested Hall. It is also an ideal opportunity to look around our accommodation.  Our events team will be on hand for any questions you might have or if you want to hold a date!


Wedding Fair

 Sunday 26th April 2015 from 12 – 4pm

We have been holding wedding fairs at Prested for many years, and they have become a major event for the region, attended by an ever-increasing number and range of specialist wedding suppliers including jewellers, photographers, toastmasters, balloon and firework suppliers, DJs, florists, confectioners and others, all with tips on how to make your wedding day perfect.


Wedding Open Day

Sunday 10th May 2015 12-4pm

A great opportunity to view all of the beautiful spaces at Prested that are licensed for your civil ceremony. You can also take a look around our 16 lovely bedrooms, romantic reception rooms and waterside marquee, all of which are exclusively yours when you book your wedding at Prested Hall. Meet our dedicated wedding and events team and ask any questions you might have about planning your day

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Ten years ago 12 year-old Claire Vigrass, from Inworth, followed in the footsteps of father Chris, brother Ian, and sister Sarah, and took up the ancient game of Real Tennis at Prested Hall in Feering.


She was  soon captivated by the game, and was helped along by assistant pro Ricardo Smith.  From the very early days, there was much excitement amongst Prested members that these two might each, one day,  become world champions.


Ricardo is still on the quest, and, having been at Prested most of this past decade, after a number of injury-based setbacks, he is able to rekindle his training on the international circuit. He’s only 28 and the current world champion is 44, so Ricardo still  has exciting years ahead of him.


Meanwhile, Claire won her first World Championship in 2011 (and successfully  defended it earlier this year). She is now the best female player in the world, ever, and she and sister Sarah are also World Doubles Champions.


Now Ricardo has been invited to work as a professional in Newport, Rhode Island, so, Prested members will be bidding him a sad and fond farewell.  However, every cloud has a silver lining, and Prested is thrilled that Claire is joining the team as head professional, which has the rare luxury of having not one but two courts.


As from mid January she will be offering free introductory lessons to this wonderful game, so if you want a lesson from a World Champion, call 01376 570220.

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Real Tennis news

We have a few congratulations to mention for tennis achievements in the last few weeks of 2013. On Friday 20th December, Ricardo Smith once again turned out a fantastic result against British No.1 Bryn Sayers. A 10/7 Win over Sayers meant he clinched the Inaugural PlayBrave Super Series title. Ricardo, who is currently ranked no. 12 in the worlds, has now moved on to Newport RI and we look forward to seeing more impressive results throughout the country and once Stateside.


Prested has a phenomenal junior system, that is renowned throughout the country, and once again it is a Prested Junior system, that is renowned throughout the country, and once again it is a Prested junior picking up a National title! On December 22nd, Prested had multiple juniors that travelled to Seacourt to participate in the National U18 handicap tournament. All juniors did really well but a huge congratulation goes to James Bargent for coming away with the title! James strolled through his group stages and had a convincing final performance. He took the title 10/5 and we look forward to seeing James continue to progress in the future. So ‘well done!’ to our National Under 18 Handicap Champ!


Please click here to find out more about Real Tennis at Prested.

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