Here's a quick update for you.
These appear to be in rude health at the moment. We had 13 people at Wednesday club night this week from 7 to 10 pm, there were 15 at the outdoor session on Tuesday evening, 20(!) at Saturday club afternoon, 4 despite the rain on Thursday evening last week and 11 last Tuesday evening.
The Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday sessions are combined sessions with Elms Tennis Club and seem to be going really well. With club sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, there is no shortage of tennis on offer if you want it.
The weather has prevented the mixed team in Division 2 of the North Somerset League from playing a match so far (but fingers are firmly crossed for tomorrow evening at Blackbrook), while the vets team lost their first to Victoria away 9-2.
The new men's team in the Culm and Exe Valleys League lost their KO cup match to a strong Trull team 8-0 but beat Tiverton 6-3 in their first league match last Sunday.
Kerry representing GB
Kerry Quirk, the tennis centre manager, is in Miami with the Great Britain over 40s ladies' team for the World Team Championships. They won their group and are now playing off for the medal spots. There is a nice pic of the team on the Facebook page.
We need to revive the singles ladder, which petered out once the summer season got under way. I'll be setting that up again in the next week or so. I'd really like to see a thriving singles scene at the centre. Let me know if you'd like to play by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The season is two or three weeks old now, and we're struggling on despite injuries, players being otherwise indisposed and the other teams being rather good in a lot of cases.
It's just as well we're managing to blood a few new players. We had three players making their debut for the brand-new men's team in the West Somerset League on Thursday: Lloyd, Benji and Will Walsh. Glenn played too. It must be the youngest team we've fielded for quite some time. Age range: 17 to 29.
If you'd like to watch some tennis, we've got a few home matches coming up this week (with a bit of luck you should be able to get a cup of tea in the clubhouse if you do go):
Monday 20th: Men's A team vs Backwell A at home in Division 2 of the NSTL
Tuesday 21st: Ladies' A team vs Bridgwater B at home in Division 1 of the NSTL
Tuesday 21st: Mixed C team vs King's College Pupils at home in Division 5 of the WSTL
Thursday 23rd: Mixed B team vs Elms B at home in Division 2 of the WSTL
Friday 24th: Men's A team vs Sherborne A at home in Division 1 of the Y&D League
And if you fancy joining the travelling support, there is this one too:
Friday 24th: Mixed A team vs Trull A away in Division 1 of the WSTL
You'll find the results so far and the current league standings in the links and downloads on the right. I'll do my best to keep them updated every week.
We had 14 people at club night last Wednesday and 13 on Saturday afternoon, so a pretty good start to the year. Let's keep it up!
Shingo organised a fun handicap tournament on Saturday 5 January. 24 people of different playing standards who attend a variety of sessions at Blackbrook took part, and it was a big success. The scoring system seems to have worked a treat. Thanks again to Shingo for organising and Kerry for making the indoor courts available at no cost.
We'd like to organise more of these tournaments in an effort to bring together people from different sessions. There will be another one on Sunday 17 March, so please put that in your diary and look out for more information. I've added some of the people who played in the tournament to the club email list. The emails are designed to keep you updated on what's going on in the club and at Blackbrook as far as tennis is concerned. If you don't want to be on the list, please let me know and I'll take you off again.
We had a meeting on Saturday. Here are the main points:
We are building up some small funds from tournaments we organise and our other activities (competitive indoor doubles etc.) so that we can finance further activities. We now have our own domain name for the website (www.tauntontennisclub.co.uk) at a cost of £60 a year, for example. That's helped us to feature reliably in the first few Google hits. We'd like to reimburse people for having club tournament trophies engraved this year as well. If that's you, please get in touch.
Laurence agreed to become treasurer and join the committee, so we have a pretty good team in place now: David Walter (chairman), Mike Lynch (communications), Oli Knowles (men's captain), Hayley Collins (ladies' captain), Laurence Paul (treasurer), Shingo Yamada (new players) and Karin Sladden plus Kerry Quirk, the tennis centre manager. Nigel Hatfield has told us he will be coming off the committee but continuing to captain the men's team in the North Somerset League.
The team is playing in Division 1 of the North Somerset League, where the standard is very high. Laurence, Oli, Shingo, Hayley, Alice and Nicolette have played most of the matches. They've been competitive and had some good matches, but with four matches left they have their work cut out to stay in the division.
It looks like we will enter one more mixed team in the West Somerset League, which will start at the end of April or beginning of May. Bill Scott has expressed an interest in this team. We hope it will be made up of players from the Evergreen sessions and others who are unlikely to get many games in our other teams. We had a number of teams that were promoted last year, so things are likely to be tough! We'll have the following teams in local leagues:
We'll also have a men's team at the county level of what used to be the Aegon league (involving a handful of Sunday matches where you get to play singles as well as doubles) and two women's teams (one at the national level and one at the regional level).
Winter indoor doubles league
31 players from five different clubs have played in the Monday and Friday evening sessions in the bubble since September, playing a total of 254 sets in 76 different pairings and occupying two courts 75% to 80% of the time. The idea is to run competitive sessions, and we are keeping a table of results and standings for both the different pairings and individuals. Of those players who have played five or more sets, John Rens of Martock and Oli Knowles have been most successful up to now, winning 83.33% of their sets. John just has his nose in front in terms of percentage of games won. This will be running until April.
The Thursday lunchtime and Sunday evening sessions are also still going ahead, although a few players have been lost since the spring. They are generally filling one court per session.
Clubhouse, open day
The clubhouse has undergone a deep clean. We agreed to bring our own tea towels for matches and club sessions.
There will be an open day on the Great British Tennis Weekend on Saturday 20th July. There will be more on that nearer the time.
Have a good year's tennis!
Shingo is organising a handicap doubles tournament on Saturday 5 January in the main hall from midday to 3pm.
It should be a lot of fun and an opportunity for a get-together – a good way to start the year and get back into tennis, whether you haven’t played for a couple of weeks or a couple of years, and whether or not you are a member. We hope people who attend different sessions at Blackbrook will play.
There will be a £5 entry fee to cover the price of balls, tea, coffee, nibbles and perhaps some small prizes. You can enter as an individual, but if you’d like to enter as a pair, that should work as well.
The handicap scoring system is designed to even out differences in standard and produce close results. Are you paying attention? Here goes:
It’s likely we’ll use a hit-and-mix (American-style) format, but we’ll decide on that when we have all the entries in. In this system there’s a top court (Court 1) and a bottom court (Court 4). When you win, you move up a court, and when you lose, you go down. You play against the person you’ve just played with.
Please enter by sending an email to email@example.com by Friday 28 December, preferably sooner to give us an idea of the kind of numbers we can expect. If this is a success, we’ll look into organising more such tournaments.
All the best and have a good Christmas,
The winter league team has been having some good matches in the heights of Division 1 of the North Somerset Tennis League, where the standard is pretty high.
The website hasn't been updated recently, but it looks like we're fourth or fifth (out of six) and fighting for survival in the top division against Backwell.
The attached file shows the results so far, who played and the dates of the fixtures in the second half of the season.
Although we're in the depths of winter, we should start thinking about how many teams we'll be entering in the summer leagues. To make things simple, if you played last year, we'll assume you're going to play again unless you tell us otherwise. If you didn't play last year and would like to, please let us know.
Oli and Laurence played an absorbing, high-quality final on Saturday, with Laurence eventually coming out on top 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. As you'd expect from two such athletic players, there was some terrific retrieving, but there was also a lot of enterprising attacking play with frequent forays to the net from both of them.
In a hard-fought first set, Oli seemed to have an answer to everything Laurence threw his way, and it wouldn't have been a surprise if the second had continued in much the same vein. But Laurence dug in and gradually began to make headway. It was tight throughout, and they reached deuce at 5-4, but that was the closest Oli came.
As the third set wore on, both players continued to win well-constructed rallies, but Laurence gradually began to establish a bit of a stranglehold, making full use of his top-spin forehand and charging to the net at every opportunity. By contrast, Oli's game was no longer looking quite so robust, and one or two volleys went awry at crucial points.
It was a very enjoyable match to watch, one of those where it was a shame there had to be a loser. And it made me want to get out on court and play more singles! Does anyone else feel the same?
So that's the club tournament done and dusted for another year. Thanks again to Shingo and Matt for organising it.
We played the club tournament doubles finals on Saturday. There were 15 of us involved, the rain held off, and there was some really good tennis played. The winners were:
The mixed doubles final was a really high-quality match with some fantastic rallies. David and Sophie, who replaced the injured Kerry, just managed to get their noses in front of Oli and Kelly.
There are some pictures on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/TauntonTennisClub
We've still only got the one team (in Division 1 of the North Somerset League), and it looks like we're a bit short of ladies for a second team. Is anyone interested who hasn't come forward so far? We still have time to enter a mixed team in Division 4 of the Yeovil & District League.
The Monday and Friday evening sessions are starting next week. Karin's Thursday lunchtime and Sunday evening sessions are starting in the week beginning 24 September.
The mixed A team won the league last night. For the first time in quite a few years, a period dominated by Trull and Taunton School, they won Division 1 of the West Somerset League. Elliott Rugg (captain), Kelly Cunningham, Laurence Paul and Hayley Collins needed 7 points away against Wellington to move ahead of Taunton School into first place, and they came away with 9. Honourable mentions also go to Oli and Nicolette, who played a lot of matches, and maybe other people too (not sure exactly who played in every match).
Here is Laurence's match report:
Our first pair [ed: Laurence and Hayley] began their match holding serve effectively while securing several break points in some long games without being able to take those opportunities. At 2-2, and with a few adjustments to their play, however, these break points were soon converted and the set was secured 6-2. At 5-1 up in the second, their opponents managed to play an impressive game and broke back for 5-2 but, in the end, could not best their previous set; the final score being 6-2, 6-2.
Taunton's second pair [ed: Elliott and Kelly] were even more imperious, finishing their two sets in record time with a 6-0, 6-0 victory, proving that consistency and tactics is a solid recipe for success. This proved to set in motion the next rubber, for the women managed to replicate this scoreline with good serving from both players and little to trouble them. While the men took longer to do so and had several very close games, they too pulled off a 6-0, 6-0 win, meaning the team lost only 4 games on the night and emphatically sealed their position as winners of the league.
What a fabulous way to finish the season and for Elliott to bow out: captain of the league champions and without conceding a single game in his final match. Unfortunately for us, he's moving away from Taunton next week. Our loss will be his club on the Isle of Wight's gain. We'll miss him, and I don't mean just for matches.
So that wraps up a very successful summer season. Let's not forget that three of our other four teams won promotion: the women will be playing in Division 1 of the North Somerset League next season, the men in Division 2, and the men's team in the Yeovil and District League won Division 2 with matches to spare and next season will be trying to spend more than their usual one season at a time in Division 1. The mixed B team narrowly lost to Wiveliscombe last night and finished in a comfortable third place in Division 2 of the West Somerset League.
Winter league next: we have a team in Division 1 of the North Somerset League and want to enter another one, possibly in Division 4 of the Yeovil and District League, but we're looking a bit short of women. Is there anyone out there who'd like to play?
Our teams have been doing remarkably well...
Mixed A team in the West Somerset League
Most remarkably, after years of relegation battles or languishing in mid-table while Trull or Taunton School took the glory, the mixed A team is now one match away from being champions of the West Somerset League. They need seven points from their final match against Wellington. Currently, they are six points behind Taunton School with one match left to play. The school have played all their matches. The table is shown in the attached file.
Ladies' team in the North Somerset League
In their final match of the season last week, the ladies secured promotion to Division 1, finishing second, four points behind Wrington. Here's the table: http://nstl.org.uk/Summer18/LADIES2_.TXT
Men's team in the North Somerset League
The team has won promotion to Division 2, securing second place, just two points behind Congresbury, the leaders. Here's the table: http://nstl.org.uk/Summer18/MENS3_LG.TXT
Men's team in the Yeovil & District League
The team won Division 2 last week with a 7-4 win over North Cadbury and two matches still to play. The table is here.
Mixed B team in the West Somerset League
The team is currently third with two matches to go and, as things stand, could still come first or second, in which case they'd be involved in a play-off for promotion.
We had our first committee meeting since the AGM on Saturday, our first with David Walter as chairman. Present were:
Oli: men's club captain
Hayley: ladies' club captain
Shingo: new player recruiter-in-chief
Matt (not a committee member but helping to organise the club tournament)
Laurence (happened to be there and joined in)
Apologies from Karin, Nigel and Kerry.
The club tournament
Men's singles: We've had 14 entries for the men's singles, and Shingo and Matt have made the draw. Players are arranging their own matches, and the final will be played on Finals Day on 8 September.
Women's singles: no entries!
Mixed doubles: We've had four pairs entering so far, with three players still looking for a partner.
Men's doubles: We've had three pairs enter so far, and there are two players looking for a partner.
Ladies' doubles: Two pairs have entered so far.
If you haven't entered yet, please do, regardless of your standard. If we get people of very different standards entering, we can organise separate events. You don't even need to be a member - just a Blackbrook user. Please enter by 19 August, preferably sooner. You can do so by replying to this email. If you don't have a partner, we'll find you one.
All doubles matches will be single-set matches on Finals Day (Saturday 8 September).
We need to think about the winter. Our one winter team is now in Division 1, which is a pretty high standard. We need another team so that others get some tennis in the winter too. We think we probably have enough people for another team – but we'd like to hear it from you in writing! If you are interested in playing and haven't told me already, please reply to this. The options are to enter a mixed team in Division 4 of the Yeovil and District League or Division 7 of the North Somerset League. In both you get some mixed tennis and some single-sex tennis.
We're very pleased to report that we've had a couple of new people turn up on Wednesday night – the Walsh brothers, Kevin and Will – and we're hoping for more.
We had 13 people at club night on Wednesday last week, and that should increase as we move towards the autumn. On Saturday two courts were in use on a very windy afternoon. On Thursday evening at 7 pm only one court is used generally, I think, so there is definitely a lot of room for more. We want to encourage people from other sessions at Blackbrook to come along to Thursdays and Saturdays.
We've had a couple of match reports in the Gazette, and hopefully there will be a couple more before the end of the season. This should be a good way to promote the club. We have a Facebook page (you don't need to be a Facebook user to see it), which should also help. You can find it by googling "Taunton Tennis Club" (it's the fifth or sixth hit). If you're a Facebook user, please LIKE it! And if you'd like to contribute, please let me know. We will soon have a website. I'll let you know when we do.
Competitive indoor doubles
We are going to try and continue the competitive indoor doubles we enjoyed earlier in the year and turn it into some sort of league format.
That's all for now.
Local league results
summer local league standings
Yeovil & District League
North Somerset League
West Somerset League
Mixed A team
Mixed B team
Mixed C team
winter local league standings
Culm and Exe Valleys League