Cardiff Metropolitan University has won the National Premier League doubles tennis title for a record-equalling third successive year.
The four-man team secured the title at the national finals in Leeds, featuring the top 16 teams, qualifying from different regions throughout the UK.
The star-studded Cardiff Met team included Jonny Marray, who won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2012, and Marcus Willis, who went on a famous run at Wimbledon in the singles event last year.
The team was completed by Welsh ex-professionals Chris Lewis and Craig Evans. Lewis captains the team and is the head performance coach at Cardiff Met, while Evans is the head coach of Virgin Active Glamorgan near Swansea.
Last month, Lewis helped Team GB to the silver medal in the ITF (International Tennis Federation) World Team Games in South Africa.
Despite having such a strong line up, Cardiff Met weren’t the top seeded team at the event but were expected to reach the final. The team did so fairly comfortably beating Edgbaston Priory 4-0 in the quarter final and then Virgin Active Norfolk 4-0 in the semi-final.
The opponents in the final were the famous Queen’s Club which hosts one of the warm-up grass court events prior to Wimbledon.
In a close match, both the Cardiff Met pairings won one out of their two matches to leave the score tied at 2-2, sending the match to a shoot-out with one player from each pair combining to play a first to ten points ‘match tie-break’.
Team captain Chris Lewis paired up with Wimbledon champ Jonny Marray to win the shoot-out 10-4 and retain the trophy.
“The team finished as runners up twice before winning the event for the first time and now we aren’t letting go of the trophy easily!” said captain Chris Lewis.
“Myself and Craig played great all weekend at second pair, but to be able to win an event at this level you need players of an even higher calibre and we certainly had that with Jonny and Marcus this year.
“To team up with Jonny for the shoot-out is a memory that will stay with me for a long time and to get the win made it extra special. We will certainly be going for a record-breaking fourth straight win next year.”
As current champions the team will now receive a direct acceptance into the finals of the event in 2018.
“This is a fantastic achievement for Chris and his team,” said Peter Drew, chief executive of Tennis Wales. “The NPL is a very high level of competition, and to bring the title to Wales for a third year in a row is quite remarkable.”
Information on all aspects of tennis in Wales is available from Tennis Wales at 029 20 463335 or www.lta.org.uk/in-your-area/Wales/ and for regular updates follow Tennis Wales on Twitter @tenniswales