Aoraki tennis game, set and match

Good game . . . Ashburton College and Craighead Diocesan School players (from left) Holly-Jayne Feutz, 17, Neve Ball, 13, Olivia Marsden, 13, and Hazel Montgomery, 13, share a moment after the girls’ cup grade final. PHOTOS: CONNOR HALEY

The South Canterbury Tennis Centre served up a treat as more than 80 pupils took to the courts for the Aoraki Secondary School Tournament.

Taking place at the end of February, the tournament, hosted by Sport South Canterbury, featured seven schools from the Aoraki district.

Ashburton College, Craighead Diocesan School, Timaru Boys’ High School, Waitaki Boys’ and Girls’ High School, St Kevins College and a mixed Mountainview High School and Waimate High School team took part.

The tournament was broken up into two sections, a cup grade and festival grade.

The cup grade featured players that were competing for the Aoraki championship while the festival grade was for those newer to the game and just wanted to have a fun day out.

Winding up . . . Craighead Diocesan School pupil Olivia Marsden, 13, prepares to serve in her finals match.

Sport South Canterbury events and admin co-ordinator Ella Horgan said it was amazing to have seen such an increase in participation for the tournament.

‘‘Last year we had 28 teams and this year we had 40, which I think is really good.

‘‘We had 15 boys and 15 girls teams in the cup grade and 10 in the festival grade.

‘‘I think the impact from Covid-19 is finally starting to fall over and whether it is a fluke or the numbers are starting to increase again I can’t quite say, but it is still good.’’

The pupils competed as teams of two with some schools having multiple teams.

The matches were initially played with each team member playing a singles game, if each team member won their match they would be given the win overall.

If one player from each team won their singles match, a doubles match was then held to decide the tie.

The Craighead team of Olivia Marsden, 13, and Neve Ball, 13, comfortably took out the girl’s cup grade section both scoring 6-2 wins respectively over the Ashburton College team of Holly-Jayne Feutz, 17, and Hazel Montgomery, 13, in the final.

The boys’ section was an all-Ashburton affair with the team of Riley Breen, 14, and Josh Gilbert, 14, triumphing over their peers Sam Kingsbury, 17, and Daniel McBain, 16.

Match point . . . After a hard fought semifinal match, Ashburton College players (from left) Sam Kingsbury, 17, Daniel McBain, 16 and Timaru Boys’ High players Jacob Caird, 17 and Caleb Kelly, 17, come together.

Ms Horgan said overall it was just a great day out for the kids.

‘‘It went really well, I’m really happy with how everything went and all the students seemed to go away with smiles on their faces.’’

Sport South Canterbury will continue their Aoraki sport competitions this month with volleyball, croquet and athletics through March.