Westbourne House School believes in creating a world of experiences for its pupils to help foster self-belief, confidence and a can-do attitude, whilst giving children the chance to find out what makes them tick.
For two boys - Toby Barton and William Fountain - one of these experiences led to them winning the National U13 Real Tennis Championships 2019.
Alongside daytime activities for all pupils, Westbourne House organises evening activities for its boarders and has been taking Year 7 & 8 boarders to Petworth to play real tennis (the original form of tennis) every week over the past seven years. It has created enthusiastic following within the boarding community and attracts both boys and girls.
Three pairs of boarders entered the National U13 Real Tennis Championship, which were held at The Oratory School. The third pair - Tom Bosley and Venetia McMorran were very pleased to see their game improving notably throughout the day. The second pair - Lulu James and Barney Lawford - served very well and had a couple of key group wins before finishing fourth in the tournament.
The first pair, Toby Barton and William Fountain, won all their group matches, apart from one against Christchurch CCS. Christchurch CCS had a similar record of just losing one set. Therefore, the final (one set to eight games) was played between Westbourne 1 & Christchurch CCS. In a tight contest, with an exceptionally high standard of real tennis, the scores were tied at 6-6, before Toby and William prevailed by narrowly winning the following two games to secure an 8-6 victory.
William Fountain said, “When we arrived, I recognised some very good players from last year and so I was not expecting this result! The final was against a team which included the national singles champion. The match was very close and although we might not have been the best individual players there, our teamwork paid off.”
William continued, “In September I am going to Canford School and Toby is off to Wellington College, both of which have real tennis courts. I chose Canford because I really like that it is strong in sports and academics and I am pleased that I can continue to play real tennis.”
Teacher Tim James organises this boarding activity. He said, “Real tennis is just one of the many experiences pupils can opt for at Westbourne House School and I am delighted that it gathered has such a popular following. It also shows that, with a little practice, you can get a real sense of achievement from a fun weeknight activity.”