The Summer of Tennis over the holiday period has not just been for the professionals. Somerset College qualified in all three divisions which align with the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots programmes.
Over the school holidays many of our students competed in the Brisbane International Schools’ Challenge. This is the culmination of over 400 schools attempting to qualify from across the state, with the best schools from each region in each division. The three divisions qualifying included a red team (up to Year 4), an Orange team (up to Year 5) and a Green team (Up to Year 6).
On Thursday 4 January our Orange team took the court on what was one of the hottest days of the week. We had a team of four students in this event. They were:
- Hamish Kennedy (Year 4)
- Declan Newman (Year 3)
- Darcy Halloran (Year 4)
- Liam O’Nuallain (Year 3)
With 11 schools from all round Queensland making the state finals, they were all put into three pools. Somerset was put into a pool of four and was up against TACAPS, Somerville House and Agnes Water State School. Each school Somerset played was made up of four singles and two doubles. Each match was first to four games.
The boys played some outstanding Tennis in the pool round, and went through undefeated. After winning the pool we went into another pool with the other two winners of the other pools. The Schools we had to play were Brookfield State School and St Andrew’s Anglican College. The Boys showed a lot of fight and great team work but ended up going down to both the schools.
After a long and hot day, the boys ended in third position for the Tournament which is a massive achievement. All the boys represented the school with great pride and it showed on the day.
Somerset’s Red Ball team, competed over two days Friday 5 and Saturday 6 January.
The Red team was made up of eight Somerset Students:
- Rafael Chou (Year 4)
- Sasha Hanford (Year 4)
- Melody Yang (Year 4)
- Carlito Lamont (Year 4)
- Kaii Norman (Year 3)
- Fynn Busuttin (Year 3)
- William Pluss (Year 3)
- Noa Chester-Haviv (Year 4)
In the Red ball event 20 schools qualified and were split into four pools of five teams. The schools Somerset faced were Redland Bay SS (up first), St Thomas Moore SS, St Joseph’s Childers and McDowall SS.
Each round goes for 20 minutes with two minute rotations on each match playing both singles and doubles. The team started really well and won comfortably against this school.
Onto the next round, Somerset came up against St Thomas Moore SS. After four rotations we were dead even on points. We knew we were in a battle this time. Coming up to the final rotations Fynn Busuttin had the rally of the tournament which ended up giving the team to win. Somerset ended up Defeating St Thomas Moore by one point.
Our next opponent was McDowall SS. After a slow start we started to play to our potential but the hole was too much as Somerset went down to McDowall SS by 7 points.
Our final game of Day 1 was against St Joseph’s, Childers. This round our team came out flying with a big lead. In the end Somerset ended up big winners.
Somerset came second in the pool, with the top two of all the four pools going into a knock out round.
First up was Brookfield SS. During the first few rotations the nerves got the better of the team as we were down early. Towards the last few rotations the team pulled off some great points to close the gap. In the end the gap was too big and we went down by 15.
Up next was TAS. After a tough loss the team picked themselves up and delivered a great win. With that win, Somerset was in a play-off for 5 to 6.
With our final matchup of the day Somerset had to play Gladstone West SS. After a long day the team played some of the best tennis of the day. They ended up big winners and taking home fifth play in the State Finals.
The whole team played outstanding over the two days and the whole Somerset Community should be really proud of what the team has accomplished.
Our Green representatives were no strangers to the competition having competed before, taking second place the previous year in the Orange division.
The team remained unchanged from last year with:
- Jack Newman
- Luke Shirley
- Luke Buker
- Oliver Yang
The format was based on the FAST 4 format where each player competed in one FAST 4 set of singles and one doubles. In the qualifying pools, Somerset went through undefeated against St John’s Roma, Toowoomba Grammar and Sunshine Coast Grammar. As the winner of the Pool D, the students went on to play off for one of the top 6 positions over the next day and a half.
Their first match in the playoff series and third match of the day was against Brisbane Boys College. The students ran out comfortable winners over the Current GPS champions. For their fourth match of the day, the boys came up against an in form St. Peters Lutheran College. This came down to the wire and after a long day, only two points was the difference between the two teams and Somerset experiencing their first loss of the Tournament.
The final day completed the top six playoffs against Peace Lutheran College, Sunshine Beach State School and finally Marymount who had soundly beaten the team at the qualifying event. Making it through this far was already a magnificent achievement, as the competition and scores grew ever closer. A loss to eventual winners Sunshine Beach State School and a win over Peace Lutheran had a number of schools in contention for second spot with all riding on the last matchup with our local competitors, to whom we lost in the qualifying event, Marymount.
Scores coming in from other courts gave us some perspective of how close the final result would be but no one could have envisaged just how close. With the final doubles matches on the court it came down to a doubles between Luke Buker and Oliver Yang who needed to win without dropping a game. In a tight tussle with the result in the balance, the boys prevailed to win over Marymount 4-nil and take second place.
To compete in this event is an experience in itself. To be competing alongside, literally some of the world’s top professional Tennis players and being successful is an extraordinary achievement. With over 400 schools competing from across the state and our three teams finishing fifth, third and second, Somerset College was named the school with the best overall performance in Queensland.
Congratulations to all who participated and I hope the experience will last a lifetime.
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