Updated: Dec 9, 2020
by Chris Poupard, Chairman, Saxmundham Tennis Club, November 2020
Although it has been a difficult year, the tennis club has made its best efforts to allow as much play as possible following government and LTA guidelines.
We just managed to have the long-awaited REBO hitting wall fitted in March, just before the first lockdown, together with a portable version which enables practice in schools and other venues. These were funded with the balance of a legacy from the Saxmundham, Woodbridge and Aldeburgh tennis charity (SWAT). The REBO wall is a valuable addition to club facilities, allowing players to warm up and practice, and the mobile wall has already been used successfully in local schools. A wooden shed was also purchased and erected behind the Greencourt pavilion to store our growing amount of equipment. Our thanks to the volunteers who prepared the base and erected the shed.
We share the Bowls section concern about the deterioration of the Greencourt pavilion and like them are very grateful to the Sports club for waiving payment of utility bills this year
During lockdown we learnt that the Club had won the Suffolk LTA Club of the Year 2019. Unfortunately, the presentation ceremony was cancelled and very little publicity ensued. This comes in addition to the Suffolk LTA "outstanding contribution to Suffolk tennis" award last year for our long-serving Secretary and Suffolk Committee member Fiona Foreman, who has been a mainstay of the tennis section for longer than most of us can remember!
After lockdown play was initially restricted to singles and doubles (within the same household) but guidelines were slowly relaxed and social play and coaching were eventually permitted. To comply with COVID regulations a new on-line booking system using the LTA "Clubspark" facility was introduced and this has worked extremely well. The Greencourt pavilion has been out of bounds for all members bar our coach, with the exception of one toilet which was fitted with hand sanitisers and regularly cleaned by volunteers.
When play commenced after the first lockdown the Committee decided to offer a discounted flat-rate membership of £50 to all members. Membership actually went up this year, from 154 to 172, and despite the loss of 19 members who did not renew for one reason or another, the Club remains in a healthy financial situation.
The Committee continues to support our coach, Matt Last, with some financial help, and during lockdown he also benefited from one of the government schemes for the self-employed. Our success in winning the 2019 Suffolk Club of the year was due in no small part to Matt's enthusiasm and hard work.
Winter league matches began in October, with our men's first team and ladies pairs promoted to the second division of their respective leagues. Subsequent prohibition of tennis during the second lockdown this November was extremely disappointing, although the recent weather would have prevented quite a lot of play anyway. Hopefully, we look forward to resuming play in December.
Chris Poupard, Chairman, Saxmundham Tennis Club
15 November 2020
Saxmundham Tennis Club