The junior tennis year culminated two weeks ago with the crowning of three worthy champions: Alex Leonard, Daniel Reid and Callum Theaker.
The boys were ranked number one in their respective age groups after six PwC-sponsored tournaments over the year, plus a seventh Masters tournament in early December which was only open to the top eight players in each group.
St. Ignatius pupil Theaker won the Masters’ 11-and-under division with an easy victory over Reese Hoeksema in the final. James Priaulx took third place after a play-off with the other losing semi-finalist, Harrison Clough.
Hard-working Theaker, a relative newcomer to tennis, ended a strong year as PwC’s top-ranked 11-and-under player, with his arch rival and best friend Nicky Polloni in the number-two position. Third was Priaulx and fourth Hoeksema in a field of over 20 players.
Precocious Polloni elected to play in the 14-and-under age group in the Masters, where he cut his way through the opposition until knocked out in the semi-finals against Daniel Reidwhose strong work ethic has created a very consistent game. Reid went on to beat Josh Bolland in the final, while Polloni overcame Nathan McLaughlin in the play-off for third place.
In the final rankings for this 14-and-unders, Reid took the top spot, his chief rival Simon Butler came second, Polloni third and Bolland fourth from a competitive field of 18 youngsters.
Alex Leonard’s comfortable cruise to the 18-and-under 2011 PwC title was wholly expected. Unfortunately his serious rivals have faded from the junior tennis scene in recent months. Talented brothers Morgan and William Hayward have virtually dropped out of the sport and Marc Reid, elder brother of Daniel, left Cayman for school in Toronto in September.
In the recent PwC Masters, Leonard, who ranks among the islands’ top adult players, swept past a gutsy Edward Bodden, effortlessly confirming his place as the number-one player in his age group. Marc Reid finished the season ranked second, despite missing three tournaments, Edward Bodden came in third and Luca Polloni earned the number-four spot. Nine youngsters in all competed in the 18-and-under division over the year.
As their prize, Leonard, Theaker and Reid will each receive a week’s free board and coaching at the Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Florida, kindly donated by Bollettieri, who has strong ties with the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman tennis programme. Trophies to the winners were presented by Charles Bolland of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
A 14-and-under girls division was added to the PwC in late 2011. Four young ladies played in two tournaments, including the Masters. Emma Booker, 13, a pupil at Montessori by the Sea, emerged the victor in the Masters, consolidating her win in October’s competition. Ranked second at the year-end was Abby Lindsay, Jade Wilkinson came third with Arin Broderick fourth.
Local tennis pros and the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands under whose aegis the PwC junior circuit is run, are hoping to expand girls’ tennis participation next year.
“This has been an excellent year for the PwC circuit, we’ve more players than ever before,” said tennis federation chairman David Berry. He extended thanks to all the local pros who hosted and ran PwC events in 2011, as well as to sponsor PricewaterhouseCoopers and TFCI board members, whose behind-the-scenes work contributed to the circuit’s success.
End-of year Rankings, Junior Tennis Circuit:
1. Callum Theaker 2.Nicky Polloni 3. James Priaulx 4. Reese Hoeksema 5. Harrison Clough 6. John-Ross Clough 7. Kabir Chandi 8. Bobby Lomax 9. Ben Black T10. Will Roberts, Angus Callan-Smith T12. Dion Loutas, Calum Lindsay 14. Jade Wilkinson 15. Neildeep Ghosh T16 Mathhew Hydes, Jake Serpell 18. James Bolland T19 Jack McGregor, Dylan Dacosta T21 Gabriel Todd, William Priaulx
1. Daniel Reid 2. Simon Butler 3. Nicky Polloni 4. Josh Bolland T5. Matteo Polloni, Nicholas Leonard 7. Nathan McLaughlin 8. Christopher Fletcher 9. Sunya Chandi 10. Ben Ashman 11. Connor Hoeksema T12. Piers Davies, Isaiah Robinson T14. Callum Theaker, James Green 16. Graeme Hill T17. Gannon Rutty, Paris Broad
1. Emma Booker 2. Abby Lindsay 3. Jade Wilkinson 4. Arin Broderick
1. Alex Leonard 2. Mark Reid 3. Edward Bodden 4. Luca Polloni 5. Thomas Wolfe 6. Morgan Hayward 7. William Hayward 8. Jonathan Lumsden 9. Juan-Camillo Bernal