Published: April 12, 2011
Young Burnham-On-Sea tennis player meets legend Pat Cash

One of the talented youngsters at Burnham-On-Sea's Nathan Edwards Academy has just met his famous tennis hero.

Young Oliver Punt, who recently won the invitation-only Masters final of the Tony Pryce Orange County Tour, met sporting legend Pat Cash, as pictured here.

Oliver has already achieved the highest rating at orange ball level and has won a number of county tournaments and is now looking to enter regional competitions.

Oliver was "delighted" to meet the former Wimbledon champion at the Albert Hall while watching the Masters tour where he also got a chance to have a quick word with Mr Cash and told him all about the academy.

He is one of the youngsters who regularly attends the academy, which is based at King Alfred Sports Centre but is also running an extra mid-week session at Weston Tennis Club where performance coach Jamie Allen has been appointed head coach.

Sally Edwards, who formed the academy in memory of her late son Nathan, told this week that the group now has the strongest group of orange ball players aged under nine anywhere in the county other than Taunton.

Oliver’s younger brother Thomas is also showing some outstanding talent aged just six.

He is already Red 1 rated in the eight and under group and won seven matches to reach the final of a red ball county tournament in Bristol, and has been winning against boys two years older than him.

Both Oliver and Thomas have caught the eyes of regional scouts and their results in physical skills tests put them in the top 15% in the whole of the UK.

Dave Kirby, a talent ID coordinator for Somerset and Dorset, hailed Thomas as "extraordinary" and picked him out as the one to watch.

Academy players Dominic Boardman, Jonnie Bougourd, Matthew Phillips and Hugo Larkin are also showing signs of real promise, as is the latest youngster to join the group, James Coogan.

Alice Davies from Lympsham is impressing with her strength and growing ability, Callum Haines is doing well, and Tom Holder is also regularly attending.

The group has recently said goodbye to 12-year-old Courtney Parsons who had been with the academy since its launch in June 2008 and has represented Somerset every year in County Cup matches.

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