BLTC Newsletter: Spring 2008


Chairman's Report

Looking back at the last year, my summary of 2007 is that it has been a steady year but with no major changes. Our coaching programme has continued to run well due to James Marsh's continued commitment to Bredon. It is so good to see young people of all ages enjoying their tennis. The disappointment for me is that despite encouraging junior members to Monday night club sessions, we have not succeeded in bringing our junior members into more contact with our adult members apart from in our club tournament where it was good to see some of our juniors taking part.

As you will see in the Team Reports, in the summer league our men's teams maintained their league positions, but unfortunately this was not the case with the ladies. It has also been a very busy winter season. Our team players get a great deal of pleasure from these very competitive matches, and I would like to thank everyone involved with organising these matches.

In the last newsletter, I expressed my concern about club session attendance. This has remained a problem over the winter months. However the text service operated by Martin Sime has worked very well for those who have added their mobile phone number to Martin's list. Regular communication on Mondays and Thursdays has ensured that everyone knows if there are people who wish to play that night. Hopefully attendance will increase as the weather improves. If you wish to add your number to Martin's circulation please contact him directly (details in the pavilion).

The courts have remained in relatively good condition. They were pressure-washed over Christmas to clear away the moss and dirt, particularly on the top courts where it was becoming a problem. We are still monitoring the condition of courts 3 and 4, and hope to resurface them in 2008 as long as sufficient funds are available.

Polly Christian, who was one of our junior members for many years, has recently completed a Club Development Plan as part of her university studies. The main weakness highlighted was the lack of members aged 18 to 30. As a move to improve this, the committee is proposing an extra membership category in 2008, in an attempt to attract younger members to the club. Details of the conclusions reached by Polly will be available at the AGM.

Finally I would like to thank all of my committee members for their support and time commitment in 2007. The discussions with Polly have stimulated several ideas and I am really encouraged by the enthusiasm that the committee is showing in discussing ways of moving Bredon Tennis Club forward.

After serving for five years as Chairman, I have decided to stand down at the AGM due to growing work commitments that are reducing the time that I have available. I have enjoyed my period as Chairman and I would like to thank all of you for your help over this period. I intend to remain on the committee if elected! An existing committee member has expressed an interest in standing as Chair but if anyone wishes to be put forward for the position please contact me or Linda Whittaker.

Hopefully, at the AGM we will be in a better position to explain how British Tennis membership affects the club and particularly our Wimbledon draw. The AGM is an opportunity to express your views on the way the club is run, and elect new officers and committee. Please come along to show your support for the club, and also enjoy the company of other members at the 'bring and share' supper afterwards.

Secretary's Report

This season has seen another fall in membership, which was disappointing as it meant that there were insufficient funds to resurface courts 3 and 4. A Tennis Taster Day was held in June, but despite much publicity, only three adults and one junior came along, and subsequently only the junior actually joined. There were 30 other new members. The club had a lot more media publicity when two reporters from Radio Gloucestershire challenged us to a mixed doubles match. Alas this didn't result in a single enquiry. You will see that we are proposing a new membership category of Young Adult (18 to 25), in the hope of attracting members in this age group. If you have any family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues who fall into this category and are interested in playing tennis, please encourage them to come along.

The committee met five times during the year and we were pleased to welcome another volunteer, Martin Sime, who joined us after the AGM. Polly Christian produced a Sports Development Plan for the club as part of her university course. Thanks to those members who filled in a questionnaire. We shall be implementing some of the ideas.

Getting information to all members about British Tennis membership would have been easier by email, so with this newsletter there is a new membership form. Please fill it in and return to me (even if you don't have email) with your membership fees for 2008. If you change your email address at any time, please let me know. If you haven't signed up to British Tennis, it is not too late to do so. A form is enclosed in the newsletter, which you can return to me with your membership fees, or you can register online at: Your free membership will last until the end of February 2009.

It was disappointing that both American Tournaments were cancelled because too few people wanted to play, but mixed doubles (with mulled wine, mince pies and delicious home-made peppermint creams) just before Christmas once again proved popular. Richard Evans represented the club at the village carol service.

Treasurer's Report

Before I start my first report as Treasurer, in light of Colin's decision to step down as Chairman, I feel it is appropriate that, on behalf of all members, we gratefully acknowledge the time and effort that he has contributed to the stewardship of the club over the past few years.

At this point of the financial year, the club's finances would appear to be healthy with over £17,000 in the bank. During the year, we have spent over £4,000 on re-fencing courts 1 and 2, together with the recent pressure washing of all courts.

However, attendance at club sessions continues to be disappointing which means that revenues from that source is less than previously had been expected. The club's only fund-raising activity during the year, the annual quiz, contributed over 260 to club funds, largely due to the sales efforts of a relatively small number of members.

Given that background, the committee deferred the plans to re-surface courts 3 and 4, which is likely to cost around 20,000, until such time as the financial position is able to afford such expenditure, while retaining sufficient funds for everyday and/or emergency use.

Full details of the club's income, expenditure and its financial position will be given at the AGM.

Team Reports

Team tennis has proved to be very competitive throughout the summer and winter, and also gives the team members time to socialise with other teams at the suppers after the matches. Thanks to all who commit their time to these matches. Bredon has become known as the club which provides great suppers. Note that the costs of the matches (ball purchase and also the floodlights in the winter) are funded directly by those who play them.

Many thanks to Anthony Hickling and Carol Smith for overseeing the men's and ladies' teams. If you are interested in playing team tennis do contact Anthony or Carol, or email . You can also follow the progress of the Bredon teams online at:

Men's Summer Leagues

In a very strong division 2 section, Bredon A team played several very closely fought matches against East Glos., Gotherington, De la Bere and Painswick. The points we won against these teams were hard-earned and although the Redmarley and Chalford matches were competitive, these opponents were clearly superior to the rest. Perhaps the most exciting and certainly the most fractious match was against De la Bere in the final game of the season, but we probably played our best tennis away at Chalford even though we lost.

Everyone gave their all on match days and most practised regularly at team sessions on Saturday mornings. We certainly knew from very early on that the number of sets won would be important and it was this focus that eventually enabled us to avoid relegation by the narrowest of margins; percentage of sets won over the twelve matches.

A good season was had by our Men's B team in Division 3A. In a closely fought division, Bredon B topped the table for half the season, only to be pipped at the post in the later stages of the season, finishing third on 30 points (won 6, drawn 2, lost 4). Many thanks go to the small squad of seven players who travelled throughout the county playing some wonderful tennis, including notable 4–0 wins against Cerney Lakes B and Gotherington B. Here's hoping the 2008 season brings more enjoyable matches and another shot at promotion.

Ladies' Summer Leagues

It was a disappointing summer for all three ladies' teams. After gaining promotion the previous year, the A and C teams only managed to win one match and draw one match each, and so have been relegated. The B team was faring better until 7 of their 19 points were deducted because Tewkesbury Park dropped out of the league mid-season, so they too have been relegated. After much deliberation, it has been decided to drop the Ladies' C team, as it proved too difficult to find enough players for three teams continually throughout the summer.

Winter Floodlight Leagues

Two mixed doubles teams played again in the Gloucestershire Floodlit League, involving home and away matches. It appears that the Mixed A team will probably be relegated but hopefully the Mixed B team will just about hold on to their position in the league. This should be confirmed by the AGM.

One men's doubles team was entered in the East Glos Floodlit league. This league is still ongoing at the time of going to press, as several matches were postponed owing to bad weather.

Ladies' Daytime League

This winter, the club has entered a team in a Ladies' Daytime League with four other Gloucestershire clubs. At the time of going to press we have won four matches and lost three, with one more to play. The League is hoping to continue over the summer months. These daytime matches are an opportunity for some ladies who do not normally play competitively to play matches for the club.

Junior Teams

Summer League

The club entered two teams in the Gloucestershire Junior League last summer. The U12 team was Rory McGuigan, Daniel McGuigan, Simon Cox and Dan Barber. The U14 team was Pete Hutchison, Steven Rhodes, Alex Stanghellini and Max Barber. These were the first matches the boys had played and the opposition players were generally much more experienced. However, although we didn't win many matches, our teams played some fantastic tennis. The spectators (i.e. parents) were extremely impressed! The boys all enjoyed themselves and really improved as the League progressed and now look forward to the next season in the National Junior Club League in a division higher than last year. Matches start in March. Good luck all of you!

Winter League

Bredon entered a mixed team in the Mini Orange Gloucestershire Winter League. Each player plays two singles matches followed by a doubles. Those juniors who took part were Grace Bradley, Lauren Brown, Matt Millward and Edward Palmer. This competition is designed to be an introduction to league tennis. In the two completed matches, Bredon won against Chipping Camden but lost against Chalford. Many thanks to the boys and girls for representing the club and for the sporting manner in which all the matches were played. Entering a team also raised 75 for the Club.

Junior Coaching

The coaching numbers have fallen slightly over the winter which is no surprise, but I am expecting them to rise again as the daylight and weather improve. Over the past year I have seen improvement in all of our juniors and some have moved up a group to further their skills against more experienced opponents. There will be coaching during the Easter holidays on 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th of March, during which all four courts may be required. As well as the teams in the National Junior Club League, we will again be running The Road to Wimbledon Competition. Thanks to Viv for her continued help with coaching.

Ladies' Coaching

Ladies' coaching on Thursday mornings with Dee is going well. The advanced players are well motivated and a fun group. The rusty returners/beginners remain enthusiastic despite the wintry weather. There are spaces in the second group so, if you are interested, contact Dee.

Club Tournament 2007/08

Many thanks to all who entered the tournament this year. At the time of going to press, we are eagerly awaiting the finals on the weekend of the 15th/16th March. It was nice to see some juniors enter in the doubles. I hope that they have enjoyed the matches that they played and will enter again next time. It is disappointing to see that very few ladies enter the ladies' singles, perhaps we should make it a stipulation for team membership! (Only joking!)

Skittles Evening

The club is starting its social calendar this year with a skittles evening. This will be held on Friday 18th April at The Queen's Head, Aston Cross, starting at 7:30pm. The cost per head is just £6, to include a basket meal (sausage, chicken or burger) or a vegetarian option. We hope as many of you as possible will be able to join in the fun! There is a list in the pavilion to sign up for a place, or you can e-mail: .

Another non-tennis social event is currently being planned for June or July — keep an eye on the website for details. We plan to hold events quarterly throughout the year, and hope you will come along and support your club, as well as having a great time.

Season Starter

To kick-start the tennis season, we are holding a season starter evening, coinciding with our normal club evening on Thursday 24th April from 6:30pm. Our club coach James will be on hand with advice and tips to improve your game, there will be a selection of rackets to try out, and a speed machine to measure your service speed. I'm sure there are plenty of you who would love to know how fast your serve really is! Come along and get the season off to a great start.

Annual Quiz: 'Who was That?'

The annual quiz is in its final stages of production and copies will be available shortly from any committee member and also at the AGM. You'll be asked to solve clues to identify famous people from landmarks and inventions, to literature and sporting achievements.