History of the Club
Tennis on the Sports Ground actually started around 1922. A tennis secretary, Miss Nancy Hawes was elected and 29 members joined, although enthusiasm was not to last long. However, a grass court was made near the school boundary, surrounded by a high chicken wire fence, a tennis net was purchased and some tennis was played there for two or three years when it seems to have fizzled out. The wire was taken down, the net put away and no more was to be seen of tennis at the club until 1962. Village tennis in the intervening years was confined to a court in the Vicarage garden and one or two other private courts.
A public meeting was held on 6 December 1961 to test support for a tennis club and consequently the tennis club was formed on 4th July 1962. The original committee was: W Lacey (chairman), R Biggs (secretary), G May (treasurer), A Luxford, E Mines and G Baker. The hard court was completed in August 1962 at a cost of just under £900 and it was officially opened by Dr & Mrs Bateman on 1 September that year. It was in use most weekends until Christmas, when the snow prevented play for almost the remainder of the season! Adult membership cost was £1 and junior's was 10 shillings.
Membership grew steadily during the 1960s and by 1970 the committee looked into the cost of building a second court. Estimates received from Gaze were between £1,500 and £1,700 and it was decided that the amount of money to be raised was too great. Fortunately Mr Bateman had agreed that the club could use his court at Grymsdyke on club nights and other special occasions.
Lack of finance continued during the 1970s, and eventually matters came to a head on 28th November 1979 when Bob Barton (chairman) called an extraordinary general meeting to discuss a second court. "Ever since the club got under way in 1962, there has been talk about building a second court....well, nothing happened. Now the existing court which has held good for 17 years is beginning to deteriorate....so all of us have to face the unpalatable fact that we need to spend some money - money, which at the moment, we haven't got." This call for help got members motivated. Court 1 was resurfaced in 1980 at a cost of £1,849 and eventually at the AGM on 24th March 1981 it was decided to move ahead with plans for a second court. Subscriptions were: adult £10, family £20 and junior under 18 £5.
Annual fundraisers at the time included a Christmas dinner event held in the pavilion. In the AGM minutes of November 1982 it was reported: "last year we had to cope with being snowed up, but with the loan of John West's Landrover which was able to struggle down to Loosley Row to collect the committee and the turkey etc, we had a very good evening."
Momentum for a second court continued, and in August 1982 the Secretary was able to announce a grant of £1,000 from the Sports Council plus a five year, interest free loan of £2,000. By Christmas 1982 work had actually started though progress was to be slow and intermittent. The second court was eventually completed in February 1983 at a cost of some £6,200, and with more members and plenty of fundraising, work started on the third court on 23rd September 1985. This was completed by the end of the October, and a cabin with electricity was moved to the courts in 1991. This was demolished in 2014 and replaced by a new shed in March 2015.
In May 2013 court 2 was resurfaced and in September 2015 court 1 was resurfaced and re-fenced. At the same time, a new carpark and patio area was added which was a huge improvement. We also became a community amateur sports club and were awarded "Clubmark" status by the LTA.
Progress continued in 2018 with the installation of modern LED floodlights on courts 1 & 2. This has vastly increased playing hours particularly over the winter months.