On Wednesday 2 May, three members of the New Hall School tennis team, Adam Groves (Year 9), Alex Groves and Charlie Bischoff (both Year 12), travelled to Morocco with Mark Crick, Head of Tennis at New Hall, to represent England at the ISF World School Summer Games Gymnasiade 2018.
For the opening ceremony, Alex Groves carried the St George’s cross for England around the track at the Marrakech Grand Stadium. A memorable evening consisted of music, dancing and a bright light show before the 57 countries participating in the World School Summer Games all carried their country’s flag around the stadium in front of the large crowd. This was the first time the Gymnasiade has been held in the continent of Africa and the competition hosted 3000 participants across 18 sports in Marrakech and Casablanca.
The boys were handed a tough draw and faced difficult ties against Croatia and Ukraine in the first round of singles on the red clay. New Hall’s Adam Groves was one of the youngest competitors in the competition at 14 years old and faced a tricky first round encounter against Ukraine.
After five days of competition, Charlie Bischoff placed 21st in the world, Adam Groves finished 16th and Alex Groves came 9th in the World School Summer Games 2018. A special mention goes to Alex Groves, who managed to win four out of his five matches in Morocco. He was defeated in the last sixteen by the top seed who went on to win gold for Morocco. Alex was defeated, but took the most games of the champion and was really unlucky to have been drawn against him in the round of sixteen. Alex went on to defeat several world-ranked juniors from China and Taiwan to ensure he finished 9th in the world and put in a fantastic performance on the African clay. It was a fantastic week for the boys from New Hall, who represented their country brilliantly and have learnt a lot from the international experience. They now return to school looking to secure a place for the senior tennis team in the nationals finals at Nottingham.
Alongside a successful academic programme, New Hall School provides excellent facilities and training for budding sports stars and fantastic music and performing arts provision. The Catholic boarding and day school for students aged 3-18 has a distinctive ‘diamond model structure’ and a strong ethos of pastoral care, which supports students in their endeavours, allowing them to achieve success in a wide variety of fields.
Comments from the players/Head of Tennis at New Hall
Head of Tennis - Mark Crick
“The boys have gained invaluable experience this past week competing in Morocco and have played extremely well for their country. They acclimatised quickly to the hot weather and slower clay courts. We were unfortunate to receive a challenging draw which saw Alex push the Gymnasiade gold medalist to the limits. Alex was so close to causing an upset against the world ranked junior and has played well for the whole week. The standard was extremely high and I am extremely proud of the boys who finished ninth, sixteenth and twenty first in the world.”
“From the beginning I had a tough first round playing Croatia’s top seed, followed by a long 2 and a half hour match against a boy from China, despite such a close defeat it was a great experience for me to be part of. I was unfortunate to receive walkovers and byes in the later rounds preventing me from playing as many matches as I possibly would have hoped. However, on the whole it was an experience to remember and something I would do again in the future.”
“I found the Gymnasiade a great experience that I would love to do again. I was pleased to win my first match against a Ukrainian but was unlucky with the draw to have to play the number 3 seed who was a great player and was too good for me. Despite the result I was proud to make the last 16 of Gymnasiade and hope to play the next one in China. Overall the Gymnasiade was a very enjoyable week and an excellent first visit to Africa.”
“I started off playing a Croatian and getting a comfortable win on the first day. I then got drawn against the number 1 in Morocco and number 1 seed in the tournament where I lost a close match but put up a good fight. I then won my next three matches against a Chinese, Taiwaian and French players which meant finished 9th in the World School championships. Overall it was a good experience but unlucky to draw the world number 77 who went on to win the gold medal, but I’m pleased to have won four out of five matches and pleased to have taken part in the event”