Garside serves up a double

Jess Garside in action at the Seacourt Club in Hayling
Jess Garside in action at the Seacourt Club in Hayling
From left: Rich Janes and Joel Knight. Picture: Vernon Nash

Coach hails Havant resolve in grim conditions

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Hayling Island’s Jess Garside served up a treat on home soil at the Neptune British Women’s Handicap Doubles Championships.

The 17-year-old – alongside playing partner Tara Lumley – secured overall victory in the prestigious event held at Seacourt Club in Hayling to claim yet another national crown.

The British under-21 champion and former winner of the national girls’ under-16 title was playing her first major tournament after a two-month lay-off because of a niggling shoulder injury.

But she looked sharp and mobile throughout the championships and enjoyed a stylish victory over final opponents – Alex Kurkjian of Queen’s Club and Lucinda Pigott (Clifton).

Garside and Lumley, the reigning British under 18-girls’ champion, out-volleyed the older pair and retrieved superbly, showing impressive tactical maturity.

The teenage partners each boast a distinguished real tennis pedigree.

Garside’s mother Alex is a former world doubles and British Open singles and doubles champion and chairs the Ladies’ Real Tennis Association.

Meanwhile, Lumley is the daughter of six-times world singles champion Penny.

The youngsters resumed their long-standing rivalry when they met in the final of the plate event, but it was Lumley who emerged victorious, winning in straight sets against her Havant Sixth-Form College opponent.

Alex Garside was also in action, reaching the quarter-final of the British Women’s Open singles championship.

She bowed out to fourth-seed, US No1 Frederika Adam, in three close sets, before suffering defeat in the semi-finals of the doubles.