A TEAM of aspiring tennis players from a Hatfield school battled it out on the court to finish runners up in a national inter-school tournament.

Queenswood School girls' tennis team were among 32 squads competing for the winning title in the largest national schools tennis championship, the Aberdare Cup.

Despite being one of the un-seeded teams in the tournament play offs, Queenswood saw off Cheltenham Ladies College and Shropshire's Idsall School in qualifying heats before comfortably winning four matches to two in the semi-final against Millfield.

However the girls' winning streak came to an end when Cheam High School from Sutton stole victory in the final leg of the competition.

Despite a gutsy performance from the team, comprising Erin Dickinson, Dominique Gilbert, Marina Lavarello, Holly Leonard, and Shona Young, Queenswood eventually suffered a disappointing defeat with their triumphant rivals taking the match four games to two.

The tournament was held last week at the private school in Shepherds Way, Brookmans Park.

Competitor Shona Young said: “This week has been really fun. It’s been great to play as part of a team and not just be out there on your own. The week has been really challenging with us getting to compete against some really strong players so it’s all good experience for the team.”

The girls'coach James Buswell from the High Performance tennis centre in Welwyn, said: "The girls have done a great job to reach the final of the Aberdare Cup.

“The Aberdare Cup is the biggest domestic schools event there is so it means a lot to the school and a lot to the players that they have been able to come out here and really challenge for the title.

"Of course the girls are disappointed to have lost to Cheam but they pushed them all the way, just on the day Cheam were just too good.

“All the girls have competed hard, stuck together and there's been a good team spirit and they've won some tough matches.

"They all showed a lot of courage on court and it's really shown that this tournament means a lot to them so I've been really proud of them.”

Tournament director George Donnelly said: “This year’s tournament has been a huge success and the level of tennis we have seen over the past week has been tremendous.

“Conditions have been tough at times with the poor weather, but Queenswood have coped well and thoroughly deserve to have reached the final. It was great to see Queenswood and the other participating schools really enjoying themselves out on court."