Students in Yass compete in Todd Woodbridge Cup

Yass Public teacher Phil Beresford showing the students how it's done. Photo: Zac Lowe

Yass Public teacher Phil Beresford showing the students how it's done. Photo: Zac Lowe

Children from around Yass Valley and Upper Lachlan Shire took part in the Todd Woodbridge Cup on Wednesday. 

More than 100 students from seven schools gathered on the courts of the Hume Tennis Club.

In friendly play, they hit it out against one another across four courts under the bright sunshine, which broke through for the first time this week. 

The aim of the Cup is to help introduce children to tennis at a younger age – in years 3 and 4. 

NSW schools coordinator for Tennis Australia, John Ferguson, was present on Wednesday and explained the purpose of the Cup. 

“Most of the Primary School Sports Association [PSSA] competitions don’t start until the kids are in 5th and 6th grade,” Ferguson said.

There were over 100 children taking part in the Todd Woodbridge Cup. Photo: Zac Lowe

There were over 100 children taking part in the Todd Woodbridge Cup. Photo: Zac Lowe

“So tennis looked at bringing a modified game in so that when kids get to the 5th and 6th [grades] they’ll get to graduate to the full court.” 

Ferguson was referring to the smaller court sizes on which the children played during the Cup. 

Each match took place on a quarter-court to compensate for their relative lack of hitting power. 

The teachers from each school hovered around the courts, marshalling their students and organising each match. 

The games were played in the doubles style, with students mixing partners, and also allowed to referee their own scores. 

At the end of each five-minute match, the ‘officials’ – teachers and Tennis ACT representatives – would check the students’ tally and record it. 

The rules were otherwise the same as regular tennis, with the exception of the serves, which were ‘underhand’, to accommodate the smaller playing surfaces. 

Berinba Public School principal Brian Giles-Browne was also in attendance.

He expressed delight that the students were having such a good time on a fortuitously warm winter’s day. 

“It’s just great to see so many kids here from so many different schools,” he said. 

“To see children who know each other because they play sport on the weekend, but they go to different schools, but they come together at events like today and share and enjoy and laugh and have fun.

“It’s competitive but it’s non-competitive, it’s teaching kids how to get on with each other.” 

This marks the second year the Cup has been held in Yass.

Ferguson said the schools would be invited to an additional Tennis for Schools program, which wouls enable them to give the students six months of free lessons. 

In the final round of the day, Yass Public managed to overcome Gunning five sets to three, to become the Todd Woodbridge Champions for 2017.