Tennis, cricket and ruyby union: Bingley youngster juggling three balls at once

George Hill.
George Hill.
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Tennnis, cricket, rugby union – to Bingley’s George Hill it’s all alike; the 10-year-old having enjoyed a brilliant year in all three.

One day the Malsis School student will have to make a choice but not yet – and just as well with Lord’s, Twickenham and Wimbledon equal examples of a sporting heaven.

Hill’s biggest success so far has come on the tennis court with the youngster recently runner-up in the AEGON British National Junior Invitational under-10s tournament in Roehampton.

It marked Hill out as the country’s second best under-10s player though the success was of little surprise considering that he has been crowned Yorkshire champion for the last two years.

It is on the courts at Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club where Hill puts in the most hours during his sporting week but there is no hiding his love for cricket and rugby with the all-rounder a blossoming star for Yorkshire CC at the former and a talented scrum half for Wharfedale and Olicanians in the latter.

Quite literally, the young Yorkshire lad is juggling three balls at the same time, but he takes it all in his stride – and he doesn’t know any other way!

“Tennis came first, when I was about four or five,” said Hill.

“I just wanted to do an activity and it seemed like a good thing to do. Then came cricket and then rugby. I don’t know what will be next!

“But I enjoy those three sports and it’s fine doing them all as they are spread over different times in the year.”

Asked which one he loves most – truth be told Hill doesn’t really know.

“Possibly cricket – or rugby – or tennis!” laughed Hill, who will be 11 in January.

“But I’m probably best at tennis. It’s going to be a hard choice.

“We do fitness training at Ilkley on a Monday and I am also at Ilkley on Thursdays and Fridays after school. rugby and cricket come at the weekends.

“I probably like cricket the best as I like the idea of a team game.

“With rugby I just like getting stuck in, getting involved and getting muddy.

“And with tennis I like the fact that it’s down to me, that I can only be cross with myself.”

Not that there has been much losing on court of late with Hill’s tennis game going from strength to strength – and now on a national stage.

The Airedale-born youngster must step up to under-12s level next year – something he knows will present quite a challenge – but the long-term future is undeniably bright and the 10-year-old was thrilled with his recent performance at Roehampton.

“I thought I might get to the quarters as I had to play number one seed Jack Draper at that stage so that was difficult and I was quite worried going into it,” he said.

“But I won that 4-0, 4-2 I think it was and to then get to the final, I was really pleased.”

However, typical of his all-round attitude, even when Hill is winning on court there are occasions when there is still something missing – not doing his bit for his rugby or cricket team!

Summing his mindset perfectly, Hill said: “I was in a tennis tournament once – the Batley Open about a year ago – but there was also a school rugby match against Sedburgh.

“I had to do the tennis and I was quite upset as I felt as though I had let my rugby team-mates down.

“I won the tournament but I was still quite miserable as the rugby team lost.”

With Hill present, his school team’s fortunes would doubtless have been different – the youngster recently attending pre-school Barbarians trials – but while Hill is clearly a magnificent all-round talent, even he can’t be in three places at once.

Unsurprisingly, with three sporting interests on the go, Hill has little time for any other hobbies though there is always time for a quick session on the Play Station – on sporting games of course.

“I’ve got a lot of sports games on the Play Station and I play on the cricket one the most,” said Hill, who lives with mum Gayle, dad Kevin and seven-year-old brother Freddie.

“But I’ve got a tennis one and a rugby one as well! And a football one – FIFA.”

Football is also in his locker – the youngster playing for fun at school – though it is clearly tennis, cricket and rugby union which are his first loves.

Not that anyone –- even Hill –- knows in which order.

Asked about his ultimate sporting ambition, he pondered: “It would probably be playing at Lord’s – or Wimbledon – or Twickenham.

“Or all three!”

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