A strongly motivated St Stithians College proved that they are the country’s top boys tennis school over the weekend when they captured their first Grey Nedbank Tennis Festival title in Bloemfontein.
The Johannesburg side upset defending champions Grey College Bloemfontein in the final.
Grey College fought hard to crack the top 4 of the St Stithians line-up, but ended up losing the top four singles, all in three sets. With a lead of 4-0 there was no chance of catching a quality side like St Stithians.
Paul Roos Gymnasium of Stellenbosch beat Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool of Pretoria to claim overall third position.
During 2016 St Stithians won every league and tournament or festival they played. Starting in January, St Stithians won the St Benedicts Festival, then the Gerrie Berner Paul Roos festival in February where arguably the top 12 tennis schools in SA competed – St Stithians beat Grey College in the final. In April they won their own St Stithians festival. During June they went on to win the Gauteng Central High Schools Tennis Challenge, then in September the Hilton Doubles and Mixed Doubles festival.
During the year, St Stithians also won the Gauteng summer and winter tennis A leagues.
St Stithians current team is captained by South African U18 number 1, Bertus Kruger, with Richard Tsongoana (South African U18 ranked number 4), Justin Liebenberg (South African U16 ranked number 1) and Kyle Johnson making up the top 4. They are supported by younger players Thabo Ncube and Tinashe Taruberekera. Earlier in the 2016 year, top provincial players Ryan Liebenberg, Dylan Walters and Taine Bernhard formed part of the success at St Stithians, but are now no longer available for the team as they are completing their matric year.
Marius Masencamp, Director of Tennis at St Stithians College, has been instrumental in building this successful "academy-like" tennis school for over 11 years and insists total focus to the sport and support from the Headmaster and other senior staff at the school remains a fundamental contributor to the success of tennis at St Stithians.
The final standings of the Grey Nedbank Tennis Festival were as follows:
1. St Stithians College (GC)
2. Grey College Bloemfontein (FS)
3. Paul Roos Gymnasium (BOL)
4. Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool (GN)
5. Hoerskool Waterkloof (GN)
6. Pretoria Boys High School (GN)
7. Paarl Boys High School (BOL)
8. Glenwood High School (KZN)