BLT&SRC member Joel Pierleoni competed last week in the U14 European Championships in Most, Czech Republic. Joel and his doubles partner Jack Pinnington Jones won the doubles title to become the first British pair to do so in 22 years!
Joel and Jack navigated their way through some very strong opposition including the best players from Lithuania, Sweden and Switzerland to make to the semi-finals. They would then take on the highly fancied pair from Denmark of Holger Rune and Elmer Moller (Rune would go on to win the singles event). After a very shaky start which cost them the first set 1-6, Joel and Jack began to find their feet in the second to get an early break and then square the match 6-3 and send it to the deciding match tiebreak. Match tiebreaks are nerve racking encounters, where the result can turn very quickly. Fortunately for Joel and Jack they raced to an early lead which they never surrendered. They booked their place in the European Championship final 1-6, 6-3, 10-6.
In the tournament decider they would take on the Spanish pair of Carlos Alcarez and Daniel Rincon, who they had already beaten this season in a category 1 event in Maia, Portugal back in April. The previous match had been very tight, with Joel and Jack managing to squeak a tight 3 set win 10-7 in the match tiebreak. There was a different feel to this encounter as Joel and Jack went into it with a strong focus and high energy, which saw them storm out of the blocks to a 6-1, 2-0 lead. Alcarez and Rincon did steady the ship at this point to get the match back on serve and lead 3-2. They asked a few tough questions of the Brit's resolve at this point. However, Joel and Jack stood up to the challenge to win the next 4 games straight to win the match and the title and become European Champions for 2017!
To read more, please click the link below to view article for Tennis Europe website: http://www.tenniseurope.org/news_item.aspx?id=113603
The last British pair to win the U14 European Championships was Mark Hilton and Simon Dickson back in 1995. Joel and Jack have ended a 22 year wait for another European Champion in this event.
Congratulations for this great achievement!