Pupils lap up disability tennis tips from Rio paralympian
GORDON Bartlett is looking forward to seeing David Hunt and Sam Cox develop as his central midfield at Wealdstone.
Former Hayes & Yeading man Cox joined from Boreham Wood in the summer, along with Hunt, who played professionally and spent last season with Margate.
Injuries and other factors have restricted the pair’s appearances for the Stones and Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Eastbourne Borough was only the second time PARALYMPIC medallist Andy Lapthorne gave some winning tips to primary school children at a disability tennis festival at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Friday.
Eastcote resident Lapthorne, who suffers from cerebral palsy, met 90 children with a range of impairments from autism to deafness. The pupils were from 12 London and Hertfordshire schools and Lapthorne passed on technical hints at the legacy manager Bartlett has been able to field them together.
He said: “We signed Cox and Hunt as two players we felt we could build our midfield around but before the weekend they had played together just once. Both have had injuries and Cox has had international duty and Hunt has had suspensions.
“It’s no coincidence that the only previous time they played together, we beat Gosport 3-1. It’s good to have them back together in there, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they do in the middle of the park.
“Elliott Godfrey has been filling the gap in the middle. He may have been a striker in his younger venue, purpose-built for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
There was also time to talk about Rio 2016, where he won silver and bronze medals.
“This has been a great experience, being able to connect with such young pupils, all keen to learn about my own experiences in the sport and willing to have a go at playing tennis to the best of their ability,” said Lapthorne.
“It is great that they have this days, but Elliott is such a model pro that he can adapt to anything, and you can rely on him to do the right thing.
“He fills all the gaps for us and is massively influential too.”
Bartlett has also welcomed defender Tom Hamblin back from injury, the centre-back lasting an hour of last Wednesday’s 3-2 county cup win at Bedfont Sports.
He was also able to field Ciaron Brown against Eatbourne, after illness, and Wes Parker continues to solider on at the back, despite not being 100 per cent.
Tom Cadmore has just gone under the knife, and Jack Smith is not expected to be back in action until the end of the month. opportunity to wonderful sport.”
The festival saw students guided to try four different tennis-themed activities across the centre’s indoor courts, each adapted to meet individual players’ needs, while challenging their skills.
Jack Pringle, sports development officer at Lee Valley regional authority said: “This is our third Disability Tennis Festival and has been a huge try out this
The turning point in Saturday’s defeat to Eastbourne was a straight red for striker Elliott Benyon just after the hour mark, at which point the match was allsquare at a goal apiece, the hosts having taken a first-half lead through Johnny Wright.
The Stones will appeal Benyon’s sending off – for an alleged foul on visiting keeper Charlie Horlock – and subsequent threematch ban, and have video evidence to back up their claim.
If cleared, Benyon will be available for Saturday’s trip to Hungerford Town. He was also available for Monday night’s 1-0 defeat at home to Bath City as the ban had not kicked in. success with teachers and pupils alike. We are delighted that Andy Lapthorne could come and talk to the pupils and give them some valuable insights into his own involvement in the game.
“I am sure he has been an inspiration to these very young students in their introduction to the sport. Today is part of our extensive activity programme for the whole region, part of Lee Valley’s sustainable legacy from the London 2012 Games.”