Increasing numbers of young people in the town are starting to play tennis after an overhaul of the coaching system and an outreach programme to local junior schools, Wellington Tennis Club’s chairman told the AGM. Adult memberships are also rising after a year that finally saw a British champion at Wimbledon.
“Head coach, Dan Sizer reported that the Saturday sessions were going from strength to strength and the teenage match play sessions meant that the Club had earned £330 from an LTA bonus scheme. It also encouraged more juniors to compete regularly,” chairman Sue Rackley told the club.
“Currently the Club is top of a league that measures children who compete regularly and it is hoped they gain another bonus at the end of the year. DSC Coaching also provides after school clubs at Wellesley Park and Beech Grove and one will start at Wellington Junior School after Easter.
“In the summer there will be free coaching sessions for some Year 3 and 4 children at local schools to prepare them for a competition. Last summer there was a Summer Tennis Camp and another is planned this year, too. Also, after Easter a Tuesday after school junior coaching session will commence, at the Club. Sue thanked Dan for being so proactive and all his help in growing the numbers at the sessions. Please contact Dan for details on 07951828760.
“The committee has gained 2 new members, Janet Dobson and Junior Representative Lydia Cross. Lydia helped organise the first Junior Christmas Bowling Party attended by 18 children and she plans to arrange Friday ‘Teenage Tennis ‘ sessions followed by pizza in the near future.”
Sue thanked the committee for all their support in all the ‘behind the scenes’ tasks such as attending the meetings, doing the books, updating membership lists, preparing the courts before tournaments and matches as well as buying sausages and manning the BBQ on social occasions.
It was a competitive year, too. The season kicked off with an annual match against Wellington School, the Men winning and Ladies narrowly losing and there were some changes to the summer Tournament format that led to a successful Finals Day with competitive matches. The Wimbledon Tournament was good fun and a busy Community Sports Day meant the Club gained 5 new juniors in the coaching sessions. 3 teams played last summer, with the “A’ team narrowly missing promotion and ‘B’ team being relegated. Philippa Deem, “B’ team captain, stated that whilst they had played enjoyable matches they needed to improve. One reason for this was it wasn’t always easy to have the same pairings but this was something the teams would focus on this year. 2 teams also entered the winter league and there were U14 and U17s teams in the junior leagues.
Meanwhile the major change was in its finances with the Club spending nearly £8000 on repainting the courts, laying down new tarpaulins and investing in a leaf blower – one of the drawbacks of being located in such a pretty, although leafy, position! Sue Rackley commented on that it was money well spent and the courts were looking great and it may be one reason that attracted 11 new adult members. Treasurer, Geoff Lee, outlined how funds were being replenished by an increase in member numbers, visitors’ fees, donations from Waitrose and Asda, raffles, BBQs and healthy public court bookings. Sue thanked C&C Carpets for being reliable agents in taking these bookings. A court is £6 an hour and this will remain the same. The family membership remains £170 and the junior membership has been reduced to £20 with an adult being £90. A ‘Dawn to Dusk’ fundraising event is planned in the autumn.
Finally, Sue outlined future events and highlighted that on Saturday May 17th the Club will participate in the LTA’s ‘Great British Tennis Weekend’ with an Open Day to attract new members and raise funds for the Dan Maskell Trust. This will showcase their junior coaching programme, Cardio tennis, Family tennis and will also feature a demonstration of Wheelchair tennis. Sue predicts a busy year of competitive tennis for both adults and juniors and thinks the Club will focus on developing stronger teams as well as offering enjoyable tennis for new and established adult and junior members. If you’re interested in joining call Sue on 07795221159 or Dan for junior coaching or 1:1 coaching on 07951828760.