Tennis: Blackhall on a high ahead of Scottish Cup semi-final

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Blackhall tennis club are on the crest of a wave with their women’s team awaiting Clarkston in a Scottish Cup semi-final tomorrow and the Keith Terrace outfit’s coach, Brian Barnet, achieving a top-ranking qualification.

It has just been confirmed that Barnet has been awarded LTA Master Performance credentials, making him the first in the east of Scotland to achieve the award and one of only 30 in the UK.

One of Barnet’s leading prospects, Millie Stretton, who won an AEGON European under-14 title at Craiglockhart last year, is at the heart of the Blackhall team who on Tuesday won the East League by beating Waverley 9-0 and are bidding now for a final meeting with either Strathgryffe or Newlands. In the men’s semis, St Serfs entertain holders VA Lanarkshire with Thistle at home to Thorn Park. Blackhall captain Rosie Dennis says: “We will be picking from a pool of eight players including Sonia Vickers, who has come to us with experience of winning the Scottish Cup with the David Lloyd Club (Newhaven).”

Sarah Murray and Gill Mollison, who missed a notable 5-1 quarter-final victory over Dunfermline, will come into contention alongside Dennis, Stretton, Vickers, Alison Sharp, Hannah Sharp and Fiona Gallagher. Coincidentally, Thistle men defeated fellow semi-finalists St Serfs 11-3 this week to claim the East Men’s League and standing between them and a Scottish final is a Thorn Park side likely to draw heavily on experienced campaigner Jordan Gray.

For St Serfs, who must now win their remaining match at second-placed Blackhall to have a hope of avoiding relegation, the main Lanarkshire threats are experienced Mike Cohen and Robert Dalgety.