Uckfield players serve up barrage of aces

Some of the Cross-in-Hand players who took part in the Festive Fun tournament
Some of the Cross-in-Hand players who took part in the Festive Fun tournament
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With British tennis stars now nearing the top of international rankings, players from local clubs are also raising their games.

An up-and-coming junior tennis player from Uckfield has been highlighted as one of the brightest talents in the country after he was included on the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) Aegon FutureStars programme which recognises and supports some of the best juniors in the country.

Jack Burkill, 15, has earned his place on the programme following a successful year on court and will now receive added support from the LTA.

The talented youngster has been included as part of the 2014 intake of players and will be part of a group of 424 top juniors from around the country who will all receive varying levels of support and funding from the LTA.

Leon Smith, LTA head of men’s tennis, said: “We are committed to supporting and identifying our most talented players and the Aegon FutureStars programme is central to this process for young players who are starting out in the game. It’s a long journey for any player but we hope with the right support they are given the best possible chance of reaching their full potential.”

Meanwhile Steve Godfrey, from Cross-in-Hand Tennis Club, which recently improved two of its six courts with clay surfaces, described three Club players who are in the ribbons.

Daniel Liddle, 16, is currently competing in Dubai where he has just won a doubles match and is hoping to be playing at Junior Wimbledon this year. Eleanor Deaves, 19, is playing at international level and June Peck is No 22 in the World Over 65 rankings.

The Club currently has 160 seniors and 150 juniors. Steve said membership is growing to the magic 200 figure, when it will be closed and a waiting list opened. All six courts are floodlit and four have artificial grass surfaces.

The Club took advantage of a recent break in the wet and windy weather to enjoy an annual Festive Fun tournament when 22 members, 11 pairings, took part in a tournament that required each to play every other pair. Winners were Betty Ricketts, from Rushlake Green, and Kevin Towning, from Tunbridge Wells.

Steve went on: “The Club is lucky to have a large group of hardy members who turn up for all our arranged sessions throughout the year whatever the weather.

“We have club nights too which mean players can turn up, on their own, and be sure of being included in a game. Cross-in-Hand at present offers membership until March 31 for the usual price of a year. Visit: www.crossinhandtennisclub.co.uk