Courts 1 and 2 completed

The courts were completed and that year the Company purchased the land from Mr Wood.

Here are some lovely memories collected from Rod Greig. I’m not sure many of these processes would be ok within our current safe-guarding rules.

Memories of my playing days at Hutton and Shenfield Tennis Club

As junior members we were only allowed to play on Court 4 in the wood which had a hard asphalt surface with no give whatsoever so falls resulted to bruises and grazes at the very least. The junior group was fairly small with more girls than boys.

The only time we were allowed to play on courts 1 to 3, which were brown shale surfaced, was for junior cup semis and finals on which we were not used to playing. There was no coaching available in those days so playing styles were somewhat idiosyncratic.

I managed to reach the final of the boys singles competition one year but lost to Martin Clements. If memory serves me correctly, I won the following year in a match played on a Saturday afternoon in front of a few of the elderly adult members. I would be interesting to know what records of those times are available.

All our playing gear had to be white the only colour permissible was the green Dunlop flash on shoes!

An outstanding memory was the year Mac Ennals asked me to attend to the shale courts (nos 1 –3) on a Saturday morning. The job entailed dragging a mat over the surface, watering each court with an ancient watering system of a portable long metal pipe on wooden ball runners which (from memory) would water half a court at a time. The lines were marked by tape 3 cms wide. The most laborious aspect of the job was to brush shale off all the lines with a tiny brush after drag matting but before watering. One Saturday I was criticised by my aunt for the fact that the courts were too wet for play at 2.00pm after being watered much earlier in the morning. She had not considered the heavy shower in the intervening hours.

Most of the adult members appeared at least twice our age and I don’t remember many of the junior members surviving the age gap to adult membership.

I remember members names written on small pieces of wood in black script which were brought out when you arrived and placed at the bottom of the rank and you played as doubles as and when your name reached the top four as courts become available irrespective of your ability. Ruth Kingston (Cumbers!) told me a few years ago that the name plates were still in existence. (She would be a great source of memories of earlier times.) 

Cricket became my first love, and I gave up tennis in my late teens.

Rod Greig


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