South Island Secondary Schools' Tennis Championship

South Island Secondary Schools' Tennis Championship

1st Mixed Team: Finn Holden, Halle Faherty, Emma White and Ben Wylie

4th Boys Team: Ben Clixby, Ammar Ariffin, Tyler Hawke and Taison Iyer


They’re going to the big dance.
That’s the triumphant James Hargest College mixed tennis team, who have upset predictions and made history by qualifying for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Teams Tennis Finals in Christchurch later this month.
The team of Halle Faherty, Ben Wylie, Finn Holden and Emma White, qualified for the New Zealand showdown by finishing second in the mixed team category of the South Island finals in Timaru at the weekend.
They are the first Invercargill school in the event’s history to make the New Zealand secondary schools final. Wakatipu High School, from Queenstown, sits within the Southland educational region and qualified for the boys’ national final in 2016 and back in 2006.
“But no other Southland school appears to have ever made the national finals cut,’’ Tennis Southland’s event media spokesman Daryl Holden said.
“That just shows you what an achievement this was by James Hargest College.’’
James Hargest was seeded third in the five-team South Island final but they upset second seeds Ashburton College on a countback of games after matches and sets were all locked up in their opening tie on Friday.
Halle and Emma won their singles and doubles, while Finn and Ben did their job by pushing much higher ranked players closer than expected to grab crucial games.
“And that result really was the perfect start and went exactly to script,’’ Holden said.
“The team talked a lot before that Ashburton clash that it could well go down to a countback of games, which meant every player had to be clinical when leading and desperate when losing to try and win as many games as possible. That approach paid off in a tie that was almost like a final to us.’’
James Hargest also beat Taieri College, from Dunedin, six matches to nil and Lincoln High School, from Canterbury, 5-1.
James Hargest’s only loss was to a star-studded St Andrew’s College team, from Christchurch, who went through the tournament unbeaten and without losing an individual match.
James Hargest will now build up for the national final at Wilding Park in Christchurch from March 19-22. They and St Andrew’s College will play the top four mixed teams from the North Island. The top six boys and girls teams will also battle it out.

Click here to see some action photos from the day.

category News
05 March 2018