There's nothing like a tournament to test your strengths and weaknesses and to see how you are travelling.For eight South Canterbury players the Canterbury Spring Open provided this opportunity.As a coach there is nothing more valuable in watching pupils and players compete in a tournament situation, it helps define their improvement with technique,and of course it determines area's the player and coach needs to work on.Of course your regular coaching sessions are valuable but tournaments and quality match play goes hand in hand and you have to combine both.The five days did provide different challenges for players and strong wind on the first few days certainly tested players and coaches as your natural game needs to adapt.Those that could reaped the benefits and those that did not improvise struggled.Theres an old saying that "windy conditions can sometimes even the match up" and this certainly was true in some cases. Anna Cochrane participating in the 10s girls singles and doubles drew a tough first up match with Pippa McCaw ,wind and just getting over a bout of the flu did not help as anna played her poorest match of the tournament going down to the eventual finalist 9-3.Anna struggled with conditions and with a player with little technique but very consistent and made very few unforced errors.Going back into the consolation event Anna won three matches to win this section.These matches certainly helped Anna as she played better with each win.Anna partnered McCaw to win the girls doubles title 9-5 over the top seeds Lauryne Ashby and Lily O'Fagan.Anna was the dominant player on court in this match and certainly showed a return to form.Geraldine Prisk lived up to her fourth seeding before losing to a very much in form Lousise Oxenvard 6-0 6-1,Prisk had trouble with the power game of Oxenvard who served extremely well throughout the whole match.Prisk had survived a three set quarter final against an improving Amanda Coeland 6-3 4-6 6-3.In the girls doubles Prisk was partnered with Lauren Tyler-Harwood and were beaten by event winners Amanda Coeland and Paige Hourigan 6-2 7-6. Margot Robinson seeded 9th in the girls 16 singles reached the quarter finals before going down to Australian Emily O'Neill 6-1 6-1.Robinson short on match practice found the consistency of O'Neil to much to overcome.In the Consolation Margot was defeated by B.Fisher 6-2 6-2.No doubt Robinson will be all the more better for her next tournament from the matches played in Christchurch.In the 16s girls doubles partnering Scarlett Cuthill they lost their first match against Annabelle Nichols and Suzanne Sandridge 6-3 6-4 in a match they could have won.Top seed in the 12s Girls singles Annabel Ellis went all the way to the final before losing to Gabriela Coates 6-4 6-2 .Coates had never beaten Ellis in their previous encounters and not taking anything away from her win ,she struck Ellis who in the final made a lot of unforced errors along with some untimely double faults and in previous encounters Ellis was very tough with ground strokes and serve to secure the wins. On this day however a more consistent Coates took advantage of the errors and recorded the win.Ellis and Coates combined to win the 12 girls doubles against Jessica Shaw and Olivia Smith 6-3 4-6 10-5 tb. Robbie Wigley playing in the 12 boys singles learned important lessons about technique and putting into what you work on in coaching ,into your match .Wigley unfortunately struggled with keeping his technique consistent and this proved the difference between losing and winning matches.In his first match in the 12 boys Robbie was defeated by Ryan van Grinsven 6-3 6-2.He then lost his consolation match to M. van Grondelle 6-3 6-2.I am sure Robbie learned some valuable points from these matches.In the boys doubles partnering Ryan Hampton they lost a first round match to Andrew Brash Simon Coleman 6-1 6-2.In their consolation match they also lost a close match to Neas - van Grinsven 6-1 7-5.Older Brother George Wigley reached the final of the bOys 16s singles going down to Joseph Bray 6-4 6-2.Wigley survived a close quarter final against Brandon J Ng 4-6 6-4 7-6 and then beat a player hes never beaten before ,Benjamin McGillivray 7-6 6-1. Wigley had to come from behind in both matches and found Bray too tough in the final.Wigley fell away in the second set and needed to play far more consistent tennis to beat Bray.Wigley tried to trade power shots but made too many errors to put Bray under pressure.He partnered Ryan Ammar in the 18/16 boys doubles to go down in a Semi Final Match to the unseeded pair and eventual winners Hector Aguilar and Alex Hunt 6-3 6-2.Ryan Ammar lost a very close 7/6 7/6 to inform Alex Hunt in the round of 16.Ammar had his chances in both sets but failed to capitalize.In a disappointing consolation semi final Ryan was defeated by Fin Bar Argus 6-1 6-2.In the 18 boys singles Mexican and now South Canterbury player Hector Aguilar showed glimpses of form.This was Hector's first tournament in New Zealand and the clay court exponent defeated the 3rd seed Kenta Naka 6-4 6-7 7-5 in a match over 3 hours long.Aguilar who had surgery before arriving in New Zealand and was bed bound for a month found his fitness lacking as this match took a toll on the body and surprisingly lost his next round match to Brandon J Ng 6-1 6-4.In the 18 boys doubles he combined well with Alex Hunt to win the final against Caleb Mooney and Kenta Naka 6-3 6-2 .Aguilar will benefit from the hit out and is a class player and once fitness improves will be very hard to beat.So in all a good tournament for all players and the "eye of the tiger" was impressed with some of the improvements made by some Cantabrigian players Joe Bray and Ben Johnston.Pictured Below are Anna Cochrane and Hector Aguilar.