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Edith Hopper Park, Ladies Mile, Manly

Talking Tennis – Summer 2020 Edition

The chains came off …

… on Wednesday 7 October. I so enjoyed going round to all our gates and taking away the padlocks and chains.

It signalled a near return to normal club activities. As Spring moved into Summer our two marvellous tennis coaches Kenny and Nico could operate fully once again.

Inter-club matches started with a vengeance and the club bar could re-open!

As the season got fully underway, we gained agreement with Manly Park Seniors to utilise two of their courts as an overspill on dates when we host two home inter-club matches at the same time.

Also, for the first time, our Junior Inter-club teams are using two of their courts on agreed dates on a Saturday morning. Great to see this co-operation of the two local tennis clubs.

Membership holds up

One of our anxieties has been the possible negative effect the Covid-19 pandemic may have on our membership numbers. There are examples all around of how people’s livelihoods and household incomes have been impacted by the lockdowns. Our members have not been immune from that – and we know there are examples of redundancy and salary reductions suffered by our fellow tennis players.

Against that background, I am thrilled and relieved to report that our worst fears have not been realised. Adult membership numbers have remained constant at 160-165, albeit with the normal churn of non renewals and new arrivals. This means there are a number of new faces at the club. We all have a part to play in welcoming them on board.

Junior membership is slightly down. Although with 175 juniors enrolled this season, it is still a very big programme. Kenny & Nico have streamlined the coaching programme to offer more sessions, with smaller group numbers. We continue to seek grant funding to bolster the junior programme income.

The Love Tennis weekend took place over 10/11 October. Whilst not as busy as the previous year, to date we have 7 new members as a direct result of that event.

Social Re-Launch

After such a tough 2020, with populations and individuals feeling isolated and locked down, we are keen to kick start the social side of our club activities and help overcome any latent nervousness of ‘going out’ again to socialise.

We plan to do this in 3 ways:

at home inter-club matches we can return to ‘bring a plate’ routine so we properly host and socialise post match with the opposing teams.
we operate a BBQ on the first Sunday of each month at Senior Social Tennis to encourage good attendance, staying to socialise and adding to bar takings!
we stage our first Club Event for over a year ( yes, a whole year!). The Quiz Night on Saturday November 21st, hosted by Simon Yock is a sell-out. The evening features the return of ‘Band on the Rum’.

Development Projects

Easy to forget that the calendar year started with the clubhouse out of bounds for a couple of weeks whilst the interior was decorated.

Much has happened since, most recently the seating has been upholstered and painted, additional lighting installed and a club history board displayed. Thanks to all involved.

Attention now moves to the exterior. November will see a refresh of a section of the decking and sun blinds.

Additional court space opportunities continue to be pursued, albeit one could be forgiven for thinking they progress at the pace of the tortoise rather than the hare!

We have just had a further meeting with the Netball Club representatives ( the first for 6 months), and we await the response from the Local Council on our bid to get ‘provision’ for 2 extra courts included in the rewrite of the Local Parks Management Plan.

I know many club members did take the time and effort to fill in the Auckland Council feedback form – thanks to everyone who did so.

My hunch is that on both these potential initiatives we will not have anything tangible to report to members until the first quarter 2021. ( as I say, progress is slow going!).

Enjoy the Sunshine- and bring on 2021

After the anxieties throughout this year it is heartening to see everyone back on court, unrestricted, playing sport, laughing and relaxing.

The enjoyment we derive from belonging to this tennis club cannot be understated.

As we say good riddance to 2020, and look forward to 2021 which must surely be better, can I remind everyone to sign in via the QR Code each time you attend the club.

Hopefully that discipline, whilst an irritant, keeps us safe, and is a small ask compared to what many countries are facing outside of our wonderful New Zealand.

See you on court.

Alf Sayer
Club President