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Young Sporting Talent on Show as British Under 20s Real Tennis Championship is Held in Essex

The British Under 20s Amateur Real Tennis Singles Competition was a great opportunity to welcome the best young talent in the country to battle it out for the exciting Singles’ Championship title at Prested Hall in Essex.

This year the level event and handicap event were separated meaning that the final eight consisted of players with handicaps ranging from 12 to 38, a very impressive standard. The tournament was sponsored by PlayBrave luxurious high performance sportswear. The Southend-based brand is a privately owned British company which prides itself on quality and excellence.

The final eight players were divided into two round robin groups, with the winner and runner up of each making it through to the semi-final stages. Tournament favourite Charlie Braham (of Petworth) took down Tom Buckley (of Radley) 10/2 in the first semi-final, and the other semi-final saw the first major upset of the event, as Jonny Whitaker (of Oxford) managed to step up his game against the young and talented Levi Gale(of Bridport) and hold his nerve to win a nail biting match with a score of 10/8.

The final between Charlie Braham and Jonny Whitaker was the best of three six game sets. As the match started, Charlie looked dominant and took a 3/0 lead. However once Jonny found his range he showed that his recent training in the USA has improved his game no end, and he didn’t look back, winning the match, and the championship 5/6 6/2 6/1.

We look forward to seeing if Jonny can defend his title at the next championship at Prested Hall in April 2015.

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Photo Caption: Winner Jonny Whitaker (left), and runner-up Charlie Braham (right)


17th June 2014:
Essex-based Real Tennis players Will Stephens and Richard Ramjane are celebrating after being officially awarded the title of Guinness World Record Holders.
The pair are now the holders of the record for “Most Consecutive Opponents, Real Tennis Doubles”, after a marathon 24 hour record-breaking attempt at Prested Hall in Feering near Colchester last May was accepted into the prestigious Guinness World Record Book.
The inspiration behind the record attempt came from Richard Ramjane’s son Finlay, who became seriously ill 10 years ago after a severe reaction to chicken pox and was given only a 50/50 chance of survival. Thanks to the swift action of his local GP and the expert care Finlay received at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, he made a full recovery – and his father was inspired to combine his passion for Real Tennis with an ambitious fundraising effort.
The mission of the Guinness World Records organisation is to inspire ordinary people to do extra-ordinary things, and to celebrate the world’s best. After a gruelling 24 hours and a total of 50 opponents, Richard and Will were successful in their World Record bid, and thanks to local support, raised a fantastic £11,381.89 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Talking about the record attempt, Will Stephens said; “It was incredibly hard work, especially playing through the night. The last four matches were really difficult, both physically and mentally, but we kept going and are delighted to have been recognised as the new world record holders, and to have exceeded our fundraising target for Great Ormond Street.”
The record breaking display took place at Prested Hall in Feering near Colchester – the only hotel in the world to offer the fascinating, historic game of Real Tennis.



This weekend saw Prested host the inaugural “Home & Away” tournament, sponsored by Barber Jackson, the renowned Essex-based brand consultancy. The “Home & Away” is a new handicap doubles tournament that should be on everyone’s calendar for the future! The format sees home players sign up and invite ‘away’ players to play with them. Each team given one bisque a match, just to make it that much more interesting!

We had 16 pairs signed up for the weekend. Sadly club member, Derrick Wells fell ill at the beginning of the tournament and was rushed to hospital. On behalf of the club and all the members we wish Derrick a speedy recovery and the tournament wasn’t the same without the Wells’ contingent! With Derrick and his sons off to hospital we were left with 13 pairs in three groups.

Group 3 saw Amy Pye and Mark Bargent finish their group in first place. As they were a ‘home/home’ pair they proceeded to the ‘Home/Home’ final but could not go further in the main tournament. The played fantastically throughout and won the ‘Home/Home’ final over Ian Hawkey/Mike Cotton, winning 6/4. Unsurprisingly, Hawkey/Cotton won Group 2, but once again as a home/home pair, could not continue further in the main draw. With both home/home players finishing top, it would suggest home court advantage is a vital advantage!
We had play all afternoon on Saturday which was followed by our National League final.

On Sunday we had semi-final 1 -Mike Norgrove/Chris Aley (Hatfield) v. Megan Hawkey/Tracy Thomas (Seacourt). Whilst the ladies had handicap on their side, Chris’ cut shots and Mike’s consistent play won through, winning 8/5. The other semi-final saw Fin Ramjane/Huw Thomas (Seacourt) v. Vince Lucey/Scott Levy (RTC). The youngsters were unstoppable and showed they can play tennis well below their handicap as they ran away with the match 8/0. So the final of Groups2/3 was all set between Mike Norgrove/Chris Aley and Fin Ramjane/Huw Thomas. Whilst Mike and Chris had played well all weekend, there was not much they could do as both Fin and Huw lifted their games and made little to no mistakes in the final! The final score, 8/2. Two very talented juniors who no doubt we will continue to see lifting trophies for years to come!

Onto Group 1. 5 Teams with an average handicap of 20 played off in a round robin format. Players included ex World Tennis Champion Howard Angus, ex Ladies World Champion Penny Lumley and ex Ladies World Doubles Champion Sue Haswell and Club Champion Tom Shrager. Needless to say, the top group saw plenty of talent which produced some fantastically well fought doubles matches. The final was between Tom Shrager/Simon Talbot Williams (Lords) and Lewis Williams/Sue Haswell (RTC). Tom and Simon dealt well with Lewis’ pace and always seemed to get that one more ball back. Sue played incredibly well, lifting her game to deal with the attacking floor play from Tom and Simon, but with a mounting handicap, they had too much fire power to handle. Tom and Simon were crowned Champions of the Home & Away Tournament 2014.

Tom Shrager of Prested, Simon Jackson of tournament sponsors Barber Jackson and Simon Talbot-Williams of the RTC at Hampton Court.

Tom Shrager of Prested, Simon Jackson of tournament sponsors Barber Jackson and Simon Talbot-Williams of the RTC at Hampton Court.

A brilliant weekend and great to see so many new faces at Prested. Once again, a huge thanks to Simon Jackson and Barber Jackson for their sponsorship and we hope everyone has this tournament on their radar for next year as we look to get even more visitors to the club!

If you’d like to try your hand at Real Tennis, why not book in for a free introductory lesson? Simply call 01376 570220 or email prestedtennis@gmail.com to book.

For more information about Barber Jackson – The Brand Consultants, visit www.barberjackson.com



The Real Tennis National Under 20′s handicap event brings together many of Prested’s players along with some from other clubs, in order to see who can keep their cool giving away points, as well as seeing who has the ability to take on those more experienced than themselves when receiving a handicap.

Here at Prested, we look forward to hosting this event each year… it is really exciting to see how juniors from all over are getting on, improving their play and handicaps significantly, making leaps and bounds in a short space of time.

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This year was no different, and we were treated to many close games with a lot of toing and froing, making for an entertaining watch! The group stages were played out, and this left us with the following line up in the semi finals-

  • Will Hunter Vs Megan Hawkey


  • Calum Mills Vs Murray Lane

As well as the main event, we decided to hold a plate competition this year to ensure that everybody gets plenty of tennis! This saw both Huw Thomas(Seacourt) and Julia Vermont(Prested) step up their games and play their best tennis of the day to make the final!

The first semi final of the main event saw Will Hunter make full use of his experience over Megan Hawkey, barely making any error. He looked calm and collected and despite giving away handicap, played consistent tennis which was enough to get him to the final, 8/2.

This was followed by Calum Mills Vs Murray Lane, this match took a different path… despite Murray’s steady game looking tough to break through, Calum was hitting winners left, right and centre! When receiving a large handicap, it is often said you need to take the chances you get, Calum certainly did that in this match! He booked his place in the final, with an 8/2 victory.

So the final was set, Will Hunter(Prested) Vs Calum Mills(Prested)-

Will was giving away handicap points in the final, but started very well carrying his form from the semi final through, unfortunately for him, so did Calum, this meant for a close match up to 3-3… at this stage, Calum seemed to find his range again stepped up the pace a bit… running away to a 9/3 lead in this first to 10 final. Surely the title was his? Not quite… WIll fought back hard, and Calum couldn’t break through, 4-9, 5-9, 6-9, the lead was shrinking… the pressure was growing! Not for Calum though, he kept a steady head and played some lovely shots to close out the match and the championship 10/7.

The plate final was won by Julia Vermont, 8/4 over Seacourt’s Huw Thomas, well played to both players.

As always, it was a really enjoyable event, well done to all of the players- we look forward to seeing you next year!

If you would like to learn more about Real Tennis then why not visit Claire and Lewis in the pro shop, or contact them on- 01376 570220 or at prestedtennis@gmail.com?

Claire Vigrass - Backhand Smash.jpeg

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