History of Brookfield Tennis Club

by Roger White.

Tennis is one of the oldest sports. The
ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Persians
played somewhat similar games.

Why Brookfield?

No one knows, but my theory is that the Club started as a group of friends playing on a private court in the grounds of the house called Brookfield on Richmond Avenue S. This would be before they moved to the grounds on Fortfield Terrace.

Why Lawn?Original pavilion

The game is called Lawn Tennis to differentiate it from Real Tennis - which is different and is played indoors.

Ancient History

A minute of a committee meeting held in 1927 refers to its being the 23rd year of the club. This makes the founding date 1904.

The two circulars below are stuck inside the front cover of a minutes book, dated 1927, and tell their own story. We had to move from our grounds at the far end of Fortfield Terrace because the site had been sold for building purposes.

As this minutes book is the earliest one we have, nothing is known of the early history of the Club, except that it did have grounds on Fortfield Terrace. According to Eric Fenelon, who had been told by J.R. Bailey who played there, there were four courts. We also know from a minute that they sold both pavilions for £15 after the move.

 

BROOKFIELD LAWN TENNIS CLUB.

The annual General meeting will be held at 17 Greenmount Road, Terenure, on Friday, 30th September 8 p.m. (Tea provided)

Your attendance is earnestly requested, as a decision must be made regarding the future of the Club. If a suitable scheme cannot be devised, the Club must close, as the premises will not be available next year.

C. G. Chute, Hon Sec.
Agenda
Secretary's report
Treasurer's Report
Question of closing or continuing
General.

69 Palmerston Road,
Dublin.
July, 1927
BROOKFIELD LAWN TENNIS CLUB

Dear Sir, or Madam,
As you are aware the Club is going to lose the ground it has occupied for so many years. The Committee are considering the possibility of carrying on the Club on another ground, and of arranging Teams for Inter-club Matches.

The new ground and pavilion would necessitate considerable capital expenditure, an increased membership, and probably an increased subscription. Will you kindly let me know at once, as a help to the Committee. (a) Whether you would continue membership at a subscription of, say, 30/-; (b) whether you could obtain fresh members, and, if so, how many; and, (c) as a Guarantee Fund would certainly be necessary, whether you would be prepared to join in it, and, if so, to what extent.

When replies to this circular have been received, it is proposed to call a General

Meeting to deal with the matter.
Yours truly,
C. G. CHUTE,
Hon. Secretary

The first meetings were all about the move from Fortfield Terrace-was it practical? could we afford it? how could it be paid for? etc. Anyway the move was made and new courts laid, at "£17 each." Five courts were laid in early 1928, with play starting on May 12th. Court six and the Junior court were laid in the autumn. The croquet lawn was laid in 1929-for £30. The 7th tennis court was laid in 1930 to complete a phased development. The layout of the grounds at that time is shown on page 13.

Quotations were obtained for a new pavilion, the contract was let to Baileys in February 1928 for the sum of £224 and the new building was finished in time for the opening of our first season at Palmerston Park.

The new pavilion, which was located close to the wall with Palmerston Gardens, was built of timber and was typical of sports pavilions of the era. It is shown in the photograph on the next page. It consisted of two changing rooms with a club room between.

In 1935 some trees between the pavilion and the boundary wall were felled and a kitchen extension built for £43; by McCleans-the same company who installed the new corner window in the lounge last year.
 

Modern Developments

Physically the Club did not change from 1935 until 1975, when the Grounds were redesigned in preparation for the Squash Ireland development. As this was a major turning point in the club's fortunes it is considered in more detail below in Appendix A. The car park and part of the junior court were converted to a tarmac type hard court. The balance of the junior court and part of the croquet lawn were re-graded and sodded, using sods from the area to be leased to Squash Ireland. All fencing was replaced.

Our old and long-serving pavilion was demolished and work started on the new building in early 1976. For one summer we had to make do with a mobile home as a pavilion. We moved into the new building in May 1977. With our strengthening membership and improved finances we have been able to undertake various improvements in our facilities since then:

  • 1977 Bore-hole and irrigation system installed
  • 1981/82 6 Tennis-quick hard courts laid
  • 1986 Floodlights installed on courts 1, 2 & 3
  • 1992 Artificial grass courts laid. Floodlights on courts 5 & 6. Lounge extension built.

The word tennis is derived from the old French name for the game, tenetz. A tennis-like game was played in late 13 century France, primarily in Paris among the upper class.

Purchase of the Grounds

In 1928 the grounds were leased from Mr. Richard Ganly for the nominal sum of £40 per annum. Mr. Ganly died in 1948 and the grounds passed to his daughter. Her husband, Mr. Gerald Wilson, was executor to the estate. When the lease became due for renewal in 1953 Mr. Wilson first looked for an increase in rent, and the Club offered £100 per annum. Mr. Wilson then changed his mind and offered to sell the ground to us for £2000 (20 x £100). This was a relatively nominal sum compared to the ground’s open market value, and was done because of the Ganly/Wilson family's long association with the Club. The Wilsons' house actually overlooked the grounds - Number 6 Palmerston Villas.

Many committee meetings and two E.G.M.s were held to discuss how a purchase could be financed - with a detailed proposition being presented by Brian Pasley to an EGM in November 1954. The members had previously promised £1045 as donations or interest free loans, which meant that we would have to borrow approximately £1000 from the bank. Brian's figures showed that we would need an extra income of £200 per annum to pay off the loans in reasonable time.

He proposed that this would be raised by:-
a) Allowing an increase of 25 in the membership numbers - to bring in £40 per annum.
b) £10 per annum by charging for teas.
c) £100 per annum saving in rent, and
d) £50 per annum by special efforts - which a "ways and means" committee felt would be practical.

Approval was given to the committee to proceed with the purchase. The final documents were signed on 15/2/55 and the final repayment was made in 1962.
- and how they were paid for

Between these dates were 7 years of hard work (and lots of fun!) to raise funds to pay off the loans - dances, whist drives - you name it, we tried it. In particular we ran a series of jumble sales, well remembered by those involved, during which time my mother's bargaining technique became well known to all the dealers of Dublin.

In fact in those days it was automatically assumed that when anything needed to be done a work party would be organised and members would get stuck in to do whatever was needed - even if it was only making cups of tea (nothing stronger) to keep the workers going. This is how the wire netting was repaired, the Pavilion painted, and during one notable Spring the Pavilion roof was re-felted. We even got the roller up on the roof to press the felt down - a great pity there are no photos of this. We lived with tar on our hands for two weeks!

Work parties were one way that the lads and lassies got to know each other - as well as by playing round the (table tennis) table, or croquet under the glow from the street lights. Quite a number of Brookfield romances ensued from such activities. Oh how times have changed (except that it is still yours truly who seems to be the one who fixes things when they break!)

The Courts

The primary resource of any tennis club obviously is its courts. Up to about 20 years ago virtually all tennis in the Dublin area was played on grass. Grass courts have some big disadvantages. They require a lot of maintenance (mowing regularly, line marking-every day in wet weather, weeding, re-sodding of baselines, watering - sometimes, etc). Also, they cannot be played on in wet weather or through the winter.

Until selective weed-killers first became available in the late '40s the only way to get rid of weeds was by hand. The records show that in 1946 five men were employed for a week to handweed the courts at 8/- per day per man.

That the courts were as good as they were was due to the fact that we were very fortunate, in that for over fifty years of the Club's ninety-two years the courts were looked after by one man - Edward (Ned) Coleman. He died in 1968, aged 95 and still in harness, although in his latter years the hard work was done by others under his direction. For those of us who played for so many years under his steely eye, it is hard to realise that it is nearly thirty years since he died.

Being grounds-man of a grass court club involved a lot of dedication and being willing to undertake the routine work conscientiously. Anyone who has marked the lines on even one court will realise how tedious it is. We had eight courts, and they had to be marked two or three times a week. Also the nets, which at that time were made of cord, had to be taken in every night by the committee member on duty - oh how we hated doing it. They were put up again the next day by Ned which he did with only the odd grumble, but it is no wonder that sometimes he was on rather a short fuse with some of the juniors.

One problem that Ned had to contend with during the '40s was petrol rationing. With difficulty we got coupons for one gallon per month. We were offered some black-market petrol at 4/- per gallon but would not accept it. In June 1948 our ration went up to two gallons per month, and finally in April 1949 it rose to five gallons. If we needed five, how did we manage with one? 1 am told rationing only finished in 1951.

Following Ned's death we obtained the services of Dick Synnott who soon became a very able groundsman. He was with us until 1979. He was followed by a number of shot term groundsmen (and women) of varying abilities - with the necessary resodding being carried out by contract.

In 1977 we installed a borehole and irrigation system which proved to be of great benefit in maintaining grass, growth during the very occasional dry spell that we had. The borehole is still there and the system could be resurrected if we ever had a need for it. In 1981, after a very wet summer in which nearly all of our home league matches had to be played on borrowed hard courts at Alexandra College, the members decided that the time had come to change to hard courts. James Brewster presented detailed proposals at an EGM in September 1981. Project costs would be £57,000, which would be funded by £12,000 in hand, £30,000 bank loan and £15,000 to be raised from members by means of a bond scheme.

The members were very enthusiastic, the proposal was passed and the bond scheme fully subscribed, with several members taking more than one bond. There was no trouble getting the bank loan as we had the freehold of the grounds as security. There was no interest paid on the. bonds but there was an annual draw for prizes (max. £100) which added an extra excitement to the At Home prize giving.

Tennisquick

Tennisquick - a type of porous concrete - was the surface chosen after much discussion and research, and the new courts were laid over the winter of 1981/82. This development gave a new lease of life to the Club and enabled it to remain open all the year round. It also enabled us to raise membership levels, particularly in the junior section, as court wear was no longer a factor.

With winter tennis now possible the next thing to think about was floodlighting. This was installed on courts 1,2 & 3 in 1985 with a lighting level of 300 lux. When the floodlights were installed on courts 5 & 6 in 1992 the lighting level was raised to 500 lux. After 10 years the Tennisquick surface had worn smooth and was becoming slippery in wet weather. We tried grinding the surface but this proved of little benefit.

Finally it was decided in 1991 to replace it completely with Omnicourt Pro - an artificial grass material - was laid in the spring of 1992 and provides our current playing surface. It has been a great boon to older knees and has kept several members on court longer than they might have expected. It is relatively maintenance free, just requiring regular brushing and annual moss treatment. It's life? We don't know but it is still going strong.
 

Tennis

If the courts are the primary resources of the Club, then playing tennis must surely be the primary objective of the Club. It can be inferred from the circular on page 3 that we did not play inter club matches before we moved from Fortfield Terrace. We joined the ILTA in 1929. One requirement for entry was that each club had to register its club colours. We chose silver grey and red, which are our colours to this day, being enshrined in Rule 2.

We entered one men's and one ladies' team in 1929-from a membership of 160. At the following AGM the Hon. Sec. noted that "we did quite well in the matches", a statement that appears in many variations in various subsequent reports, with occasionally some better news. Through the years a few trophies have been won but unfortunately the records are rather scanty. The latest success was in 1996 when the ladies' 1st team won Class 3 and gained promotion to Class 2. With our larger membership (250 as opposed to 160 in 1929) and with some of the older Juniors well able to take their place on the teams, we now enter 4 men's and 4 ladies' teams in the Summer Leagues. As well as the traditional summer league matches, now that we are a 12 month club and with floodlights, inter club tournaments of various categories take place throughout the winter.

Important as inter club matches are, most tennis is played within the club on a social basis. In times past the usual procedure was just to turn up and play with whoever was there. Arranged games were unusual and singles were not allowed at popular times, unless they were challenge matches. After one set you had to come off and allow someone else on - and there were always people waiting at popular times. This was particularly so on Saturday afternoons - which were quite a social occasion, with afternoon tea being served. A (rapidly) diminishing number of members still adhere to the tradition.

In the early '80s, with more and more people arranging their games beforehand it had become difficult for new members to meet people and get games. So the idea of Tuesday Club Doubles was introduced. It took off from the very beginning and it still flourishes.

Tournaments, championships and handicap, have always provided highlights in the season. A remarkable record for any club is that its men's singles was won by Don Holloway fourteen times over seventeen years, and the ladies' singles was won by Jean Burges fifteen times over twenty-two years.

With the increasing amount of coaching at Junior level, we are no longer seeing the individualistic (idiosyncratic) styles of yesteryear. Who will forget (or try to emulate) my father's American serve-a pity there were no camcorders in those days. Would Fionan Cronin's two handed forehand make him eligible to enter that Hall of Fame? As for John Gibson-nearly a second John Brown.

At Home

The annual 'At Home'-a nice old fashioned term, almost Victorian-was always the social highlight of the season. A more modern term might be 'Finals Day'. Throughout the years it would appear from reading the minute books that a large amount of time at committee and general meetings was spent discussing and organising this.

In the 1930s attendances in the afternoon were over 400, and there were often complaints that there were not enough ladies to serve tea-hardly surprising-and this in spite of engaging the services of five maids. Tickets for visitors had to be specially obtained beforehand from the committee. Mrs Hording's five piece string orchestra played on the croquet lawn (at a fee of £5/5/0 in 1936). Hats were de rigueur for the ladies and the umpires wore striped blazers and white flannels.

I feel sorry for the poor umpire who had to call the score (without laughing) in a certain men's double final between Grey and Brown versus White and Darker.

The men's singles final was played over five sets, as was the semi-final. This was dropped in 1953 to prevent players dropping of exhaustion. They might well have had to play in the doubles as well.

The events played were Championship singles and mixed doubles and Handicap singles and doubles (men's, ladies' and mixed). The handicaps were played in parallel with the championships, with the finals of the handicap singles and mixed played as soon after the At Home as possible.

Traditionally August was the holiday month and, with the At Home over, the club went to sleep for the month. In 1952 the idea of a Minor At Home for the Handicap finals, to be played at the end of August, introduced to keep some activity going throuhout the month. Thls enabled Championship men's and ladies' doubles to be added.

in 1965 the two At Homes were reversed. This did not prove popular and the date was changed back in 1968. Scheduling matches started in 1982, and the current arrangement of the championship events being played over the last two weeks of July and the handicap event over the last two weeks of August started. Everybody seems happy with this arrangement and there have been no moves to change it.

1 hist1

Pictured above are: back row Rex Barrett, Lesly Wills, L.A. White, and front row J.R. Bailey, Mervyn Fenelon, Cecil Morion.

Until 1977 the prize giving took place immediately after the mixed doubles finished, and quite often it was very late by the time it happened. There were virtually no spectators left - they had all gone home to get ready for the dance that evening.

Sometime in the early '80s (date unrecorded) the committee got sense and decided that it would be better to hold it with the evening function. It was always considered to be a big honour to be the lady asked to present the prizes. In 1937 it was decided that only the wives of the President, Secretary and Treasurer should be asked, in rotation, so as to avoid dissension. Now it is done by the President-much easier.

In the evening a dance was held in a marquee (free admission until 1941) and there are many references over the years to the difficulties in getting suitable bands. Tennis club marquee dances were very popular in the area and were well attended. In 1936 the size of the marquee was increased from 33 ft to 40 ft because of the numbers attending, and again in 1947 to 60ft. Dress in the '30s was formal.

Tea and biscuits were provided at the interval. There was no alcoholic drink permitted-at least officially. However some daring souls were known to visit Ned's shed, for some nefarious purpose. In my youth great rivalry existed between the young lads of Brookfield and Leinster Stratford to see who could get into each others' club dances for free-sneaking past the other club's bouncers. Brian P. well remembers a certain Leinster lad dancing the evening away proudly displaying a rent in his new trousers caught on the barbed wire on our back wall.

Due to falling attendances and the difficulty in catering for the musical tastes of the different generations, the dance was dropped in 1966. A fork supper was held instead; this proved to be a popular move and a similar event is held at present. Although the finals are still played, and the day is still refered to as the 'At Home', numbers attending have dropped and less than a hundred watched the tennis this year. A pity, especially as the tea is as good as ever.
 

Membership Trends

Due to various changes that have taken place in the age of transfer from junior to senior, it is difficult to give a simple picture of membership trends over the years-except by looking at the figures for the total playing membership i.e. Senior and Junior combined. On completion of the grounds in 1931 the number of Senior members was increased to 160. There were 30 Juniors, giving a total membership of 190-for 8 courts. We now have 500 members (of whom not more than 250 shall be juniors) - for 6 courts. Does this mean that everyone is playing less? I think it must. Certainly there is very seldom any difficulty getting a court, generally for as long as you want.

This is possibly because a large proportion of the Seniors are somewhat middle-aged parents whose children are Juniors. We sadly lack a strong group in the 18-30 sort of age group who would have the energy to play a lot more tennis.

This area of Dublin had a surprisingly high concentration of tennis clubs. At the moment there are 10 clubs within approximately 1 mile radius of us. There used to be 8 other clubs that have either moved or closed down. This meant there was always competition between clubs for members and each had to provide the best possible facilities to attract players. Mind you, in time past a cold shower was quite a luxury and virtually no club would have had a bar licence.

Membership was full during the 1930s, 1940s & 1950s with a waiting list. I have always felt that with a full membership and with a local population not inclined to move around much. we would have had a static membership, with few places for new faces. The facts are somewhat different, as a few typical figures will show:

New senior members elected (membership limit 160)
 

193538194523195551
193651194624195632
193730194736195733

A steady decine set in during the 1960s and membership reached its lowest ebb in 1970 with 81 Seniors and 13 Juniors. Why did this happen? Possibly because of an icrease in alternative attractions (golf, sailing, weekend conages etc, and also younger families were moving out to the suburbs. However, a major factor must have been he club's policy of restricting membership to members of he Protestant community. This was the policy of a number of other sports and social clubs, and was a reaction to the Catholic Church's Ne Temere decree.

As a reflection of the club's Protestant ethos, the grounds did not open on Sundays. This restriction was originally a clause in Mr. Ganly's lease for the grounds. While it was not a term in the conditions of sale when we bought the Grounds, it was carried on as the general consent of the members as well as a reflection of Mr. Ganly's wishes.

Because there was no actual rule preventing the Club opening on a Sunday, it would have been possible for a comnittee to open it without reference to the overall membership. For this reason a rule to this effect was introduced in 1965. Two advantages in being closed on Sundays were that the Committee were relieved of a management problem and also the courts (grass) were given a day's rest.

The rule was dropped in 1969. and for some years members were permitted to play on Sunday afternoons only. By arrangement they were given a key to the grounds, not the pavilion, so the Club was not fully open. Full Sunday play did not start until we laid the hardcourts inl982. In 1967 the whole subject of membership policy was discussed deeply at a specially summoned General Meeting.

No change was made. It was again discussed in 1972 and finally in 1974 the Club went 'open', with surprisingly little discussion, considering the heat generated at previous meetings. With this change in policy, and new facilities in the pipeline, numbers rose quickly. It is minuted that membership was full in all categories in 1976, a very quick recovery. Since then limits have been raised several times, and we now have the present healthy position of full membership of 500 players in the Senior and Junior categories.

Club Management

Rule 7a) The management of the Club shall be entrusted to a committee of 9 people consisting of the President, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer and 6 Senior Tennis Members.

A rule was brought about in 1963 which stated that the Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer should not serve more than three years continuously. Prior to this, Secretaries and Treasurers had found it very difficult to get out of their jobs even after strongly expressing a wish to do so, and had their arms twisted to carry on. Because this was well known, it made people reluctant to volunteer for these important jobs. They feared being faced with the same problem, whereas they might well have been prepared to serve for up to three years. The effect of the new rule was to spread the load around. In 1969 the office of President was subjected to the same requirement-so as to spread the honour around.

Presidents

The office of President was only created in 1928 on moving to the new grounds, and Mr. Ganly, who had leased us the grounds, was elected an Honorary Member and President. He continued in this office until his death in 1948.

In 1947 the office of Vice President was created. Arthur Beatty was elected to this post, having just resigned from the committee after 18 years, continuous service. He was elected to follow Mr Ganly as President, and again he continued to hold the post until his death in 1953.

He was followed by J.R. Bailey At his election it was mentioned that he had had a longer association with the Club than any other man, having been a member for a couple of seasons in the old club in Fortfield Terrace.

J.R. resigned in 1971 and he proposed L.A. White, who was senior Vice President, as his successor. Mr White, who had been unsuccessfully trying to resign as V.P., was reluctant to accept the office. He agreed to do so provided that Mr. Brewster, the other V.P., agreed to be nominated as President the following year. This was agreed but Mr White's year became 18 months due to a change in date of the AGM from autumn to spring. Each president since then has served for a three year term. Their names are listed on the Presidents' Board in the hall of the Pavilion.

1 hist2

Roger White, Jimmy Harris, Dick White, Cedric Bailey
Eric Fenelon, Elizabeth Brewster, Alan Grey.

Vice Presidents

Sometimes we have had them and sometime we haven't. But when we have them they did not just treat the office as a nominal one, and they generally attended committee meetings. Des Crumplin and Gerry Brewster both served for 9 years.

Trustees

Any agreement for leasing or purchasing land, raising loans etc. has to be signed by someone, and in a club situation it is done by Trustees who are elected from the membership for this purpose. Also in Brookfield the Trustees have a role in supervising expenditure. They have the authority to allow the committee to exceed the approved budget, by up to 20, if they approve of the purpose for which it is required.

The following have served as Trustees since we moved from Fortfield Terrace-in alphabetical order :-
 

*C.R. BaileyJ.R. Bailey
*E.M. BrewsterG.A.D. Brewster
F.L. BarrettC. Chute
J.D. CrumplinW Darker
C.J. Dugdale*R.E. Fenelon
*A.F. GreyT. King
M. SmithW. Wallace
*R.D.J. WhiteT.D. Wisdom

(* Current Trustees)

Officers

They are the lynchpin of any club, and we have been well served by them over the years. The record for an office holder is Des Crumplin's 14 years' continuous service as Secretary or Assistant Secretary. This was followed by Bill Darker's 5 years as Treasurer immediately followed by 5 years as Secretary. Ruth Potterton is currently in her third period and eighth year as Hon. Secretary.

Committee

Until 1978 the committee consisted of the Officers plus three ladies and four men, when it was changed to four of each. In 1983 this was reduced to three (of either sex). It was hoped that this would reduce the time spent (wasted) at meetings. Each of the three was to organise a sub-committee dealing with their area of responsibility. This proved to have difficulties, for example if any of the three could not attend a meeting to present their reports. So in 1987 it reverted to six persons.

Long Service Medals

Several members served long spells as Officers and/or committee members-10 to 12 years was not uncommon. Six members perhaps deserve special mention for over 20 years' (not necessarily continuous) service.
 

 Total Time (years)Offices Held
A. Beatty25President (7)
G.A.D. Brewster31President (3) V.P.(9) Secretary (2)
D. Crumplin23Vice President (9) Secretary (14)
R. Potterton25Secretary (8)
R.D.J. White30President (3) Secretary (3)
J.C.S. Hill26Hon. Auditor

Subscriptions

Subscriptions inevitably have crept up over the years. These have always given rise to much discussion at AGMs - a 3/- increase in 1941 was fought over as much as a £10 increase in 1992. In 1990 a 50% increase was passed without dissension - to fund the buying of our current playing surface. I can find only one case where the committee' s recommendations were not in the end accepted - in 1948 a proposed increase to £2-10-0 was reduced to £2-5-0.

However the one that amuses me most was when 2/6 was added to the sub in 1941 to cover teas, only for an EGM to be called 6 months later to rescind it because the Club's ration of tea and sugar was cancelled. A full table of subscriptions is given in appendix C.

Juniors

Throughout the early years the Club Junior membership was provided more as a facility to parents who were Senior members, and not so much as a breeding ground for the future. After all the Senior section was full with a waiting list.

Juniors had their own court, full-size but with limited run back, roughly where the 'cage' is now. They were also permitted to use court 7 (where court 5 is now) in the daytime and if it was not required by adults. They were supervised strictly by Ned Coleman, who, as a full time employee, was there all day long. In fact his conditions of employment were that he could not go home until a committee member came down to take over.

The Juniors had a lean-to shed in the shrubbery alongside their court and were not allowed, officially anyway, into or near the pavilion. This rule was slightly relaxed during the '70s and gradually since then they seem to have taken over the pavilion at times.

Originally the Junior age limits were over 9 and under 15 on the 1st May-the traditional date for the start of the season. Age limits and categories have changed many times. Finally the upper limit was made under 18 in 1977 with a lower subscription for the under 14s, and the date the 1st January, to conform with the I.L.T.A. age limits.

Junior numbers were allowed to increase throughout the '60s. This was partly to compensate for the fall in Senior numbers. B igger Junior numbers also encouraged more of them to come down.

After the Club went open in 1974 there was no problem in filling their ranks. In fact it was the reverse and it has usually been a quart and pint pot situation at the election committee meeting.

In 1950 Don Holloway, many times Senior Champion, provided a cup for the Junior singles. Boys and girls were not separated, and it is interesting that quite often the girls beat the boys. In 1982 Eric Fenelon gave a second cup for the girls' champion and the original cup became a trophy for the boys. In 1987 the White family gave two cups for the ul8 champions and the older cups were given to the ul4 age group.

Coaching for the Juniors is often mentioned in the minutes but seldom seems to have been provided until recently. Over the last few years coaching has become quite organised and we now pay a Junior co-ordinator to manage Junior tennis, with several committees of parents running the whole of the Junior section and reporting back to the (main) Committee.

In 1985, egged on by James B., we started hosting a Junior Open Tournament in the Easter holidays. This was of great benefit in making the Club's name known more widely. It has also shown us the standard of play reached nation-wide in each of the age groups and a target for us to reach for. Some of our Juniors have entered but I don't think any of them have got further than the quarter final stage. It seems to be a problem with many clubs that they lose players in their late teens or early twenties. While this affects us too, I am glad to say that Club loyalty is such that most of our Juniors, if they do continue to play tennis, do play it with us. While this is meant to be a history, it is no harm to think a little about the future too, especially when talking about the Juniors.

Court Attire

One of the most frequent items occurring throughout the minutes books is what was acceptable wear on court. In 1935 it wasn't whites versus colours-our current preoccupation-it was the length of the ladies' skirts. In 1935 a special committee meeting was held which decided to post the following notice in the ladies' changing room. "The committee requests lady members not to wear shorts or divided skirts unless they reach the knee." Now we argue whether Burmuda shorts are permitted or not.

In Conclusion

I hope that these reminiscenses will bring back a flood of memories and I would welcome any ideas for extra items to be included in future editions, especially items which might be included in a section headed "Social, Scandal and Gossip." With a full membership in both Senior and Junior sections and with a firm financial base, we can view the future with confidence.

 

 

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