The Handley Lawn Tennis Club was originally formed in 1882 with a single grass court at Sleaford Cricket Club. In 1887 a second court was added and in 1888 the club moved to the town end of the Boston Road becoming tenants of the Marquis of Bristol.
In its heyday there were six grass courts, which somehow were maintained through two world wars and beyond until the practical and financial difficulties of maintaining grass courts and a large pavilion forced the club to be wound up in 1972.
The Club was reformed as the Sleaford Tennis Club in 1976, by a few enthusiastic and determined members, becoming tenants of Sleaford Town Council and using the two hard courts at the east end of the recreation ground. Two more courts were built in 1979, and the small, but friendly pavilion was erected by members in 1980.
The Club has had its ups and downs, but has for many years maintained a Mens, Ladies and Mixed Team in the Lincolnshire Leagues and became renowned for its post match hospitality. The Club also runs Annual Championships and the Barbara Beard Trophy for mixed pairs. This trophy, like the one at Sleaford Badminton Club, was first presented in 1954 by Barbara’s parents, to commemorate her tragic early death.
The junior coaching has always been an integral part of the Club and our juniors are encouraged to play at senior sessions as and when they are able.
Deteriorating surfaces and the loss of basic facilities on the Boston Road recreation ground forced the club to look for another site in order to maintain tennis in Sleaford. However, after much hard work it was decided to remain on the Boston Road Recreation Ground and plans were passed for four new floodlit courts and a pavilion and a lease was secured. Completed in September 2011, these new facilities were opened by Andrew Castle in March 2012, with the pavilion completed and officially opened in March 2015.
Fund raising and social events for members and their families have become very much a part of the Club’s ethos and will continue to be so to further grow tennis and offer a sporting facility for all ages worthy of a town the size of Sleaford.