Club History


The club was formed in 1926, with land off Longsight Road being leased from John Castle, a local builder and developer. The initial development consisted of four red shale courts, a putting green and a timber-built pavilion, which was later extended.  The pavilion was lit by gas lights and had a club room, kitchen, ladies' and gentlemen’s changing rooms together with a balcony area running across the whole length of the front of the pavilion.


Holcombe Brook played friendly matches against other clubs in East Lancashire and the club altered very little up until 1970, when John Castle passed away and the executors of his will decided the land should be sold.

The club had only limited funds but new chairman Les Sutcliffe persuaded the executors to give the club six months in which to raise the necessary funds to purchase the land. At that time only two of the four shale courts were playable, the club had only a small playing membership and a large number of retired players who played whist.

Les Sutcliffe organised fund-raising events, members donated loans and a grant from the Playing Fields Association ensured enough money was raised in the six months to purchase the land. All members were repaid within a year.


In addition to playing tennis, the members of the club held regular whist drives, which continued right up to the 1980s. One of the founders of the club was Clifford C. Wood, who was the club secretary for more than 50 years from 1926 until 1980. He featured on the BBC Radio programme 'Down your Way' in recognition of his service.

THE 1970's

The membership increased rapidly during the 1970s due to improved playing facilities and in 1974 the club entered two teams into the Bolton Sunday School Tennis League. The old Manchester Co-op maple dance floor was purchased by Les Sutcliffe and laid at the club. In 1982, two of the shale courts were converted into three all-weather courts and the pavilion was extended.

THE 1980's

In 1983, the men’s team won the 1st Division of the Bolton Sports Federation league for the first time, heralding a period of dominance that has seen the team win the title more than 25 times. The mixed team won the 1st Division title for the first time in 1987, and in 2019 claimed the crown for a 20th consecutive season. The remaining two shale courts were converted to all-weather courts in 1986 and floodlights were installed.

The club's success began to extend much further than Bolton. In 1986 the men's team became Lancashire champions for the first time, while the ladies' team matched them in 1988, while in 1985 the club held the first ever LTA Ratings Tournament in Lancashire.

In 1989, the men’s team played in the Puma Cup Final at Wimbledon. Steve Denner and Ian Mayall beat then Davis Cup player Tim Wilkinson at men’s doubles and the team were treated to a honorary dinner at the All England Club.

THE 1990's

In 1993, the ladies' team became national champions, winning the National Premier League at Welwyn Garden City. They repeated the feat in 2001 and 2008.

THE 2000's

The next chapter began when the club announced on the front page of the Bury Times that it was looking to re-locate to Hazel Hall Lane. Planning permission was finally granted in 2011 after a lengthy process, paving the way for the club to move to its current site.

Progress continued, with Holcombe Brook becoming Mini Tennis accredited in 2003, and in 2005 the club was presented by Tennis Lancashire with the Best Practice Award in recognition of its junior development and coaching programmes. In 2006, the club received the Robinson Junior Aces Award for best club in Lancashire.

In 2008, the Lawn Tennis Association's president visited the club to award Holcombe Brook with Clubmark accreditation.

THE 2020's

In 2010 the club became a Satellite/Performance centre and has since hosted numerous national and regional tournaments, while success has continued across the age groups. In recognition of the club’s success, in March 2011 the Davis Cup team held a coaching masterclass at the club, which included Jamie Murray, Colin Fleming and Louis Cayer. The club was also featured on the ITV news.

In 2015, the club opened its exciting new chapter by relocating to its fantastic new home, boasting nine hard courts, six of them floodlit, and a superb indoor facility with sports hall, bar and lounge. This has enabled Holcombe Brook to expand on its previous achievements and maintain its position as both a key community asset and one of the best places to learn and play tennis in the north west.

Head coach Tom Lemon was named 2018 Lancashire coach of the year at the British Tennis Awards, while in 2019 the club won the Lancashire Club of the Year award