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PICTURES: Speyside High tennis quartet battle out Scottish Schools Cup quarter-final against Fettes College at Rothes Tennis Club


By Craig Christie

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In their attempt to reach the Scottish Schools Cup semi-final, the Speyside High School tennis team were just pipped at the post by Fettes College, writes Hamish McBain.

The Speyside High team, from left: Bradley Scott, Fraser Scott, Liam Anderson and Jack McConnachie. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
The Speyside High team, from left: Bradley Scott, Fraser Scott, Liam Anderson and Jack McConnachie. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The competition draw should have meant an Edinburgh trip to play Fettes but because Speyside had played the previous two rounds away, their head of PE, Duncan Jagger was given the option of continuing to play away or to have the match at Rothes, and he chose the latter.

The first round of rubbers had the Scott brothers - Bradley and Fraser - playing singles while Liam Anderson and Jack McConnachie played doubles on the third court.

Hard-hitting from Bradley Scott. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Hard-hitting from Bradley Scott. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The Scotts were up against it from the start and neither really got into their stride. Although, in their respective matches, most games were keenly contested, the Speyside duo failed to take advantage of vital chances, and both rubbers slowly slipped away from them.

Fraser Scott...Speyside High playing in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup at Rothes Tennis Club...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Fraser Scott...Speyside High playing in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup at Rothes Tennis Club...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

On the third court, Anderson and McConnachie took control of their doubles from the get-go. They were never in trouble as they produced some great tennis on the road to victory, keeping their team in the hunt.

A confident stroke from Jack McConnachie. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
A confident stroke from Jack McConnachie. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Going by what had just happened, the thought on everyone’s mind was that Speyside could snatch a draw.

Anderson and McConnachie went on for their singles knowing they had a great chance of putting their team in the lead. And so, it turned out.

Liam Anderson...Speyside High playing in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup at Rothes Tennis Club...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Liam Anderson...Speyside High playing in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup at Rothes Tennis Club...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The two boys dominated, and both first sets were soon in the bag. In the second sets they continued to dictate play and before long the Speyside pupils had won the rubber, putting their team in the lead, 3-2.

It was all down to the second doubles and the onus was now on the Fettes boys to produce the goods and level matters.

Because of the drubbing the Scott brothers received earlier, the omens were not good for Speyside.

Fraser Scott...Speyside High playing in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup at Rothes Tennis Club...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Fraser Scott...Speyside High playing in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup at Rothes Tennis Club...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

However, it was soon apparent that the pair had become organised, and they took advantage of an early break of serve, going on to take the first set.

The second set went with serve and led to the inevitable tie-break which went to the Edinburgh-based school 7-2.

It was nail-biting stuff as the quartet moved into a championship tie-break which Fettes took 10-6.

Jack McConnachie lines up a shot for Speyside High. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Jack McConnachie lines up a shot for Speyside High. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The match was tied at three rubbers each. The Speyside contingent thought they had won as the sets count back showed it was 7-6 in their favour.

However, drawn matches in the schools competition are decided by a championship tie break shoot-out involving one player from each of the doubles partnerships. A curious way to conclude a match.

Bradley Scott and Liam Anderson, who took on the challenge, were on the backfoot as the visitors broke serve to take the first point.

Lining up his next shot - Bradley Scott. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Lining up his next shot - Bradley Scott. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

A few unforced errors saw the Speyside pairing fall further behind and they were soon facing the task of saving match points as the score went up to 4-9.

The home duo got their act together and fought back, taking the next four points to trail 9-8.

Liam Anderson serves up a shot. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Liam Anderson serves up a shot. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

In the end they faltered, and victory was snatched from them by the visiting Fettes pairing.


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