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November newsletter

The Winter league is now fully underway and at the time of writing we have won 2 & lost 2 so far. The team are enjoying some great matches though and at the moment there is a good spread of youth and experience having a go, which can only be good for the club’s future development. Future fixtures are up on our website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk .

We have continued with some group coaching through to half term this autumn, but as that comes to an end we will recommence it in the Easter holidays. In the meantime, for a very reasonable fee (not much more than a couple of pints of beer), our club coach Eddy is around to give one to one lessons or you can put your own group together and book a private session with him on 07854 294447 or Edward.kerr14@yahoo.co.uk.

Eddy also hosted an adults tournament on Saturday 26th September down at the courts, in what was really very pleasant “Indian Summer” conditions. Although entry numbers were somewhat disappointing, the tournament was a lot of fun. And (probably because the numbers were somewhat reduced) I managed to take the singles title this year, but obviously then I must have tired badly as a certain Dr and Mrs Kerr won the mixed doubles and Clive Staveley and (ahem) Eddy Kerr took the title for the mens doubles. There must be a club rule about that somewhere…

Our next social event is the annual Christmas Dinner and this year it is the misfortune of Moores Restaurant to host us on Friday 18th December. Having eaten there before, just once or twice, my recollection is that the whiskey – steeped bread & butter pudding is extraordinary and acts as an excellent appetiser when followed by a Christmas pudding! Apologies in advance to Jon & Kate Moore for the inevitable emergency redecoration that follows our social events.

The tennis of course continues throughout the autumn and winter with regular club night on Thursdays from 7pm and a gentle Wednesday afternoon mob session from 2pm or so. Anyone can come along and have a go and you are assured a warm welcome. Hope to see you there!

October newsletter

So there goes the Summer. I must have blinked... but at least the gardens are looking extra "green and pleasant". Many people seem to link the end of Summer with the end of the tennis season, but in the case of our club they would be mistaken. Although the US Open marks the final major tournament of the year for the "big boys", we're only half way through our year, which runs through to the end of March, and indeed we're delighted to still have new members joining us (a warm welcome to them, by the way!), enjoying a discount to the already reasonable annual cost for joining part way through the season.

Sadly Andy Murray's US Open challenge ended somewhat prematurely, whilst his brother stepped into the limelight this time by reaching the final of the men's doubles event. Also in the limelight was our US - themed roving supper, and although numbers were lower than in previous years, in my humble opinion it went deliciously well. Many thanks to John & Ann Kelly, David & Rosemary Zirker and Pat & Jane Coleman for providing some fantastic food - a good time was had by all.

The turning of the leaves marks the beginning of our team's winter league fixtures, details of which can be found on our website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk. The format of the matches returns back to mixed doubles. On the website you will also find vast amounts of information on the club including contact details. Our club night runs throughout the year on Thursday's from 7pm, and you can just pop down in a pair of trainers and have a go. Some form of additional clothing is of course recommended too, lest you catch a chill!

This year's annual Christmas Dinner is booked for Friday 18th December at Moore's Restaurant. The event is always popular but reserved for members and their partners (I can allow groupies too!) so stick the date in your diary and book with me ASAP to avoid disappointment.

Finally, many congratulations to Steve Watts and Sue Redish who were the winners of our round - robin Summer doubles competition. We may be running another competition over the winter too, so watch out for that.

September Newsletter

Our Summer league has now finished with a minor flourish as we managed to draw 4 sets all in our final match away to Teign Valley. Previous losses in August against Okehampton and the very strong Exeter Golf & Country Club proved costly in the end of what was a commendable league performance. My thanks go to Sue Redish, our team captain, for organising the matches. We have entered the Winter league again this year so the whole process will start again later in September although at this stage we’re not yet sure who our opponents will be. We are always keen to give new players who are looking to play some competitive tennis a go, so if you’d like to have a go, please contact Sue at src22@btinternet.com.

Speaking of competitive tennis we have a junior open tournament scheduled for Saturday 29th August and an adults version (over 14’s anyway!) the next day, on Sunday 30th and there is still time to enter. You should have been inspired by Andy Murray’s success at the Canadian Masters in Montreal where he finally managed to beat Novak Djokovic in a gripping final. We wish him luck in the forthcoming US Open tournament which runs during the first 2 weeks of September.

That brings me nicely to our US Open roving supper, which is scheduled for Saturday 12th September. We’ve got a volunteer for the starters so far & I’m sure main’s & desserts will be forthcoming in due course. Traditionally the food has a US theme, together with US beers and wines, which are all included in the ticket, which is available from me at paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk, priced at just £12.50. This is not designed to raise money for the club, just be an entertaining social event & is always a lot of fun, so please do come along if you can!

What is raising money for the club is our effort to sell raffle tickets jointly on behalf of the ourselves and Otter Vale Rotary. Tickets have been sent out to every adult member of the club and it would be really appreciated if you could support our efforts by buying a ticket or two. This year we are spending money on repairing the fences where they have been broken in the past and are looking at replacing the second court’s floodlights, none of which comes cheap!

August Newsletter

By heck, it’s been busy! The Wimbledon Ball feels like it was a lifetime ago, but in fact was only on July 4th, and very successful it was too, in my opinion. Over 50 revellers (I mean guests) ate a sumptuous buffet, played a silly game or two and had a good old boogie until late. Over £300 was raised towards the tennis club’s funds, and the prize winners of the games generously donated their combined £40 winnings to the Pavilion refurbishment fund. Reports of a lunatic playing “tennis racket guitar” to the tune of Summer of ’69 have NOT been verified. My thanks go to all those who supported the event in any way, from planning it, decorating the hall, through to donating raffle prizes, especially to The Cannon Inn, La Rosetta, Moores Restaurant, Sarah Gibbs Beauty and Pride Hairdressers, and also to those who stayed behind to help clear up afterwards. Finally, a special mention to David & Rosemary Zirker for catering. Another great night.

Junior tennis coaching has now finished as our coach, Eddy, has disappeared off for a well – earned family vacation as far away from our children as possible. He will return, however, around mid-August and will undoubtedly be happy to run some one – to – one sessions, or how about getting your own group together and booking him for an hour or two? He is also running his Junior Sports Camp down at the courts for youngsters aged 6 to 15 starting on Monday 24th August for the whole week. You can join for half a day or the whole week, whatever suits. And on Saturday 29th he’s hosting an open junior tennis tournament, again at the courts. For more details contact Eddy directly on Edward.kerr14@yahoo.co.uk or 07854294447. On the following day, Sunday 30th August, he’s also hosting an adult’s tournament (well, over 14’s anyway). Feel like having a go, even just for fun? Just drop him a line or send him a text!

Well there was a point when our tennis team seemed to be totally inspired by the fabulous tennis going on at Wimbledon and latterly with the Davis Cup crew at Queens Club. Having lost our first 4 matches we started to turn it around with a win away to Okey Dokey, then Seaton and even an 8-0 demolition of Woodbury, but alas the last result was a thumping defeat at home to Exeter Golf & CC. As I write we have 3 fixtures left in the Summer league; at home to Okey Dokey on Monday 27th July, Away to EGCC on 4th August and away to Teign Valley on Weds 12th Aug. Promotion is looking less than likely, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say it has been fun!

Membership is at a record high at the moment, and it’s not too late to join. All you need to know is on our website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk, so check it out! Annual children’s membership starts at £20 for the year, for virtually unlimited access to the courts. Go on, you know it makes sense!

Wimbledon Ball

Many thanks to all those who helped to make the Wimbledon Ball such a success. We had 50 or so revellers down at the pavilion on Saturday 4th July. Great food, good company and some disco - tactic dancing. Thanks especially to Rosemary & David who did all the catering and continued to work tirelessly during the evening. Also to those who donated raffle prizes, especially the local businesses, The Cannon Inn, Moores Restaurant, La Rosetta, Pride Hairdressers, Sarah Gibbs, and The Otter Inn.

Many thanks to those who helped clear up afterwards too.

More photos in the gallery!

Wimbledon Ball 2015

Newsletter - July 2015

It’s great to see world - class tennis on the telebox at this time of year and to see some British success too. July is peak time for British tennis, culminating in Wimbledon fortnight attracting worldwide attention and the usual over - hyped expectations. The tennis club traditionally celebrates the Wimbledon tournament with a disco and buffet evening at the Pavilion, which this year is on Saturday 4th July from 7.30pm. Tickets are £12.50 each and include great food, good fun and a bit of a boogie (or dad – dancing in my case) and are available from me (Chris) on 568766 or paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk. So why not put a group of friends together and come and have a great time?

The club’s junior coaching programme is continuing to prove very popular. It is held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with under 8’s from 4pm, 9 – 11 yrs from 5pm and the 12+ group from 6pm on each day. The programme runs through to the end of term and sessions cost £3 for members or £4 for non – members. You can book in advance or take your chance and pop along for a session & see you how get on. Our LTA – qualified coach, Eddy, has some spare children’s rackets so there’s nothing to stop you! Eddy is also available to book for one – to – one sessions at just £14 / hr. How about putting your own group together and sharing the cost of a lesson? Just contact Eddy directly on 07854294447 or edward.kerr14@yahoo.co.uk.

Later in the Summer Eddy is also going to run a week – long tennis camp, from Monday 24th August through to Friday 28th, from 10am – 3pm. Places will be available to book for children directly with Eddy by using the contact details above. Prices will be dependent on the number of days attended, but will of course be very reasonable! The week will culminate in a junior tennis tournament on Saturday 29th August and an adult tournament on Sunday 30th too.
These competitions will be open to all, members & non – members, so why not sign up to have a go!

Speaking of tournaments, there is also a junior open tennis tournament running at Exeter Golf & Country Club on Saturday 25th July. Entries are just £3 and they need to be submitted by 11th July, but if you’d like more details or to enter please contact me.

League tennis is going well and although we are facing an uphill struggle in this Summer’s group the team are enjoying it and have been boosted by the enrolment of coach Eddy into the team’s ranks. Details of all tennis fixtures are available on the club’s website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk. Just to remind you, pre-planned club fixtures and coaching sessions do take precedent over other tennis on the courts, so please check the website before you wander down to the courts and avoid any disappointment. That includes club nights on Thursday evenings from 7pm and “vets” afternoon on Wednesdays at 2pm both of which run through the Summer.

Coming soon is hopefully the annual cricket v tennis challenge (if a date can be found in the busy schedule) and September will see the annual roving supper, but there’ll be more details about that in next month’s exciting instalment. Strawberries and cream for me please!

Newsletter - June 2015

On Sunday 17th May we hosted what was probably the best attended tennis open day event I have been to. It coincided with the LTA’s first Great British Tennis Weekend for 2015 and over the course of 6 hours well over 50 people came down to the courts on Back Lane and played some free tennis, mini tennis and chatted about the club. A good few parents who came along with their children hadn’t played since they themselves were kids and it was great to see them having a go. There was evidence of some (sometimes rusty) talent there too! The free BBQ & refreshments proved popular and many thanks to David & Rosemary Zirker for running that side of the event, and to Sue, Mike and especially Steve Filer for helping out during the day, and Simon Howlett for logistics!

The club is of course available to join throughout the year, but the sooner you join, the better value for money it is. Children’s annual membership starts at just £20 and there are no other fees to pay for as much tennis as you want. Membership of the club also entitles children to discounted coaching, which I’m delighted to say is starting again every Tuesday and Thursday from Tues 2nd June throughout the next Summer half term with our LTA registered coach Eddy Kerr. The sessions will run from 4pm for ages 8 and under, 5pm for ages 9 – 11 and 6pm for 12+. The cost is £3 / session for members or £4 for non – members. Please call me on 568766 or email me on paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk to book or for further details. The coach and the club both have some spare rackets if required and balls are provided too. For adults, Eddy is available for one – to – one sessions for just £14 / hr, or why not put a group of friends together and share the cost? For more details on adult coaching contact Eddy directly on 07854294447 or edward.kerr14@yahoo.co.uk.

Early warning that Eddy is also planning at least one tennis / sports camp this Summer at the courts from 24th to 28th August, followed by a junior tennis tournament on Saturday 29th August. Last year’s camp proved very popular. More details about timings (likely to be 10 - 3) and costs will be posted on the club’s website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk as soon as we have it, but again there will be a discount to members!

This is fast approaching peak time for the tennis season, and with Andy Murray recently victorious against Rafa Nadal in the Madrid Masters event expectations will be high for great things from Andy in the forthcoming French Open and Wimbledon tournaments. Our club was allocated 11 pairs of tickets for the Wimbledon fortnight and the draw for these was held at the courts at the open day. More tickets have also been made available courtesy of Devon LTA too, and it’s good to see a wide cross section of the club getting the chance to visit the tournament which is a fantastic, memorable experience.

All this talk of Wimbledon reminds me that we’re holding our annual Wimbledon Ball (Hurrah!) at the Pavilion on Saturday 4th July from 7.30pm until midnight. Once again we’ll have a great night out, with a sumptuous buffet, followed by dancing into the night with an excellent disco. Tickets are just £12.50 and again are available from me. Please don’t leave it too late as we are limited on numbers.

The Summer league is well into its stride, and coming up we have a home match against Seaton on 1st June, then away against Okehampton on 24th June. So far the results of the first three matches haven’t gone our way, but the teams have been enjoying the matches, and some good quality tennis has been played. If you’re interested in playing some league tennis then please contact our club captain Sue Redish on 567465 or src22@btinternet.com. This year we are also running a doubles league competition, where members have been drawn at random with partners and will play other pairs in a league format.

So as you can see, it’s going to be a tennis – filled Summer, and that can’t be a bad thing. Now, what’s the weather doing…?

The start of the new season is always busy, with the AGM and formation of the new committee leading to new ideas, plans and optimism. It reminds me of the well - known “5 stages of a project”;
1. Enthusiasm
2. Disillusionment
3. Panic
4. Search for the guilty
5. Praise and honour for the non – participants.
I think you’ll find that the above can apply to almost every planned event you can think of.

But I digress. Our committee is very much at the “enthusiastic” stage and I’m delighted to say that this year we will be coinciding our annual tennis open day on Sunday 17th May with the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) Great British Tennis Weekend. This will be a national event, with LTA – registered clubs like ours hosting a variety of activities throughout that weekend, so expect to see lots of publicity in the newspapers and on TV too.

Our event will run from 10am through to 4pm on the Sunday and will be open to all, young and old, from novices to professionals, to come and have a go, for free. We’ll have some supervised tennis sessions, rackets to borrow, and advice on hand on what our club is about. We will also be running a free BBQ from 12.00 – 2pm (whilst stocks last!) and there will be free refreshments available throughout the day.

Our team captain Sue Redish will also be on hand during the day to discuss league tennis and fixtures, for those who are keen to participate in competitive fixtures, and we also hope to have some friendly fixtures arranged with local clubs. Details of our summer league matches, along with lots more information about the club, can be found on our website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

At the end of the open day at 4pm we will be holding our Wimbledon ticket draw for eligible members who have applied for tickets to this year’s tournament. I’m pleased to say that this year we have been allocated 11 pairs of tickets for various days throughout the tournament so there will be a good chance for those who apply. The deadline for eligible members to apply is midnight on Friday 15th May. For more information on the draw please contact David Zirker on 01395 567430 or d.zirker@btinternet.com or check out our website.

I’m pleased to say that the coaching sessions arranged for the Easter holidays went very well, and our coach Eddy Kerr is keen to put some more coaching on this summer. We are planning to run after school sessions on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, starting from Tuesday 2nd June at 4pm for ages 5 – 8yrs and 5pm for ages 9 – 11yrs, through to the end of term. Costs will be £3 / session for members, £4 for non – members. To register a place or for more information please call me on 568766 or email me at paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk. Following the success of last year’s Summer tennis camp we are also planning to put on 2 events this year in the summer holidays. More details on these nearer the time.

Finally, it is fast approaching that Wimbledon time of year, and that means only two things – huge British tennis optimism on the shoulders of a lone Scot, and the Tennis Club’s Wimbledon ball. This year it will be held at the pavilion on Saturday 4th July from 7.30pm through to midnight and will include a great buffet supper and a super disco, but you’ll have to bring your own liquid refreshments. Tickets, priced £12.50, are available from myself or Paula on 568766 or email paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk. So put it in your diary – I’ve given you loads of notice so you can order your glad rags in plenty of time. Enthusiasm prevails!

Parish Magazine Article - April 15

Well it would seem that lightning really can strike twice! Having been awarded 4 sets in the penultimate league fixture of the season because Budleigh Salterton played an unregistered player, the team duly took to the courts in the corresponding home match on 16th March and, having won two out of the four matches were subsequently awarded two more because, yes you’ve guessed it, the opposition again fielded an ineligible player! That should not deflect attention from the original two good wins on the night, especially for Veronica Bray and Jane Coleman who came through a tough ladies doubles match to take it 6-3, 2-6, 12-10 in the “championship tiebreaker” right at the death. Heroines both. That was after Steve Filer and myself were roundly thrashed by the mens pair, one of whom was quite simply the best player I had ever played against (yes, that includes you Steve, sorry!). But fortunately for us, the other was a) not so good and b) as it turns out, illegal in some way. Knowing the tennis league as I do I fully expect him to be classed as persona non grata and right now on his way to some barren island in the middle of nowhere. They’re pretty strict round here.

Unfortunately the above was not enough to lift us up from bottom of the league table so we are now looking towards the Summer league for new challenges and new success.

The club held a successful curry and skittles night at the Cannon Inn on Saturday 7th March, and around 16 people enjoyed some good curry followed by three different formats of skittles. The date coincided with some of the club’s regulars (including myself) being away for one reason or another, but that just seemed to make the evening go even better, as from all reports a good time was had by all and I would expect this to become firmly ensconced into the club’s social calendar in future. My thanks go to Andrew De Gruchy who stepped in / was press - ganged into organising the event on the night.

The future of the above event is, of course, subject to ratification and approval by the club’s committee which is all set to be confirmed at the forthcoming AGM on 23rd of March (which I realise will have happened by the time you read this). Because of the timing of this I can’t give you any information on the new prices for the new season’s membership, but I’m confident that they will stay excellent value for money. We should have a couple of new committee members joining this time too, so hopefully more about that later. But if you can’t wait that long, all the new membership details including a form for the new season can be found on our website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

What I can tell you about is the Easter junior tennis coaching, which is all set to start for a week on Monday 30th March through to Friday 3rd April, with ages 4 -8 from 3pm, 8 – 11 from 4pm and 12+ from 5pm. Costs are £3 / session for members or £4 / session for non – members so, please join (and save money!), and then drop me an email on paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk or call me on 568766 to book a place. These coached courses are always very popular so don’t be disappointed – book early! The coach will have some spare rackets for those who just want to give it a go so why not try?

So there you have it. This magazine’s publication coincides not only with the great Christian celebration of Easter (which has become synonymous with chocolate eggs for some bizarre but slightly yummy reason) but also the start of another tennis season. For those who were members, now is the time to renew. For those who wish they were members, now is definitely the time to join! See you on court!

Parish Magazine Article - March 15

March is always busy for the tennis club with the AGM, scheduled for 7pm on Monday 23rd in the Cannon Inn. We’ll be reviewing the year gone by and looking forward to the year to come. We’ll be discussing the upcoming social events, the Wimbledon ticket ballot, the coaching and the team performances, plus lots more. We’ve laid on a bit of a buffet to help keep the wolf from the door, so I hope we get a big turnout, otherwise I’ll end up eating it all myself. No need to book, by the way, and it’s open to members and non – members too…

Speaking of coaching, I’m pleased to say that we’ve arranged for some more coaching for our aspiring tennis stars of the future. Eddy Kerr will be putting on three one hour sessions each day from Monday 30th March through to Friday 3rd April. The sessions will start at 3pm for ages 6-9yrs, 4pm for 10 – 13yrs and 5pm for 14 – 16yrs. Each session will cost £3 for members or £4 for non - members and booking is advisable. For more information or to book a place please give me a call on 568766 or email paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk. Eddy will also be available for some one – to – one sessions, for children or adults, which can also be groups if you want to club together.

But before all that we’ve arranged a skittles and curry night at The Cannon on Saturday 7th March starting at 7pm. There’ll be a choice of curries followed by some skittling – nothing to do with tennis at all really, but just a bit of fun. Tickets are £10 and again are available from me.

The league team is continuing to fight the good fight, but with one game to go in the winter league we are still yet to record our first victory. Last time out our plucky foursome of David Z, Sue Redish, Jane “the cake” Coleman and myself unfortunately lost to Budleigh. The winter league matches are special, though, and despite the loss all concerned enjoyed the tennis, and the post – match hospitality, which, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, featured a cake. On the plus side, we’ll be enrolling into the Summer League so we get to try it all over again. If you fancy some league action in the springtime then let us know. We have more contact details on the website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

So, to summarise, we want all of you to come to the AGM, and then (re)-join the club on 1st April, ‘cos that’s the start of the new season. Membership forms for the 2015/16 season will be on the website. Come on, you won’t regret it!

Parish Magazine Article - February 15

New year, new season. Tennis is in the news already with the Australian open underway as I write this and a brace of British hopefuls ready to do their best against the odds (and the not – so odds) of world tennis. Expectations are a big part of watching sport. Personally I prefer to be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed, so accordingly I set my expectations for British success low. Kind of “hope for the best, plan for the worst”.

For players, however, a good coach will tell you that setting low expectations of yourself is the wrong approach. Confidence is important when going into a match. We’re told it’s all about the mental game. The contest can be won and lost in the head. Maybe, but I’m not sure that’s true at all levels of sport. I think our ethos at the tennis club is more of a “try for each point but have fun”. Maybe that’s just me – I must confess that I haven’t surveyed the membership at all. But, for me, the spirit of the game is more important than winning & losing. It’s a well stated maxim that we learn more from our defeats than from our victories.

So our league team must be wise beyond their years, given their run of results. But they have competed, and had fun, and yes, they’ve learned. League tennis can be a bit of a David (Lloyd) against Goliath, given the pool of tennis resource some teams have to call on compared to our gallant little club. But nevertheless the teams we play always say that they enjoy the experience, our floodlit and recently resurfaced courts are highly regarded, and they particularly appreciate the post – match hospitality at the Cannon Inn.

Our new season doesn’t actually start until the beginning of April, as we are as yet unaligned with the world tournament circuit, for whatever reason. So you ditherers and waverers still have time to pluck up your courage and take the plunge. Before then, we’ve got a skittles and curry social evening at The Cannon Inn on Saturday 7th March at 7pm. Tickets are £10 each and we expect it to be a lot of fun, so please book your place by calling me or Paula on 568766.

The tennis continues each week through the winter, with a good turnout on Wednesday afternoons for “vets” and Thursday evenings for all members. And non-members who just want to come and have a try, because everyone’s guaranteed a game & a warm welcome, metaphorically at least. We are also in the throes of planning some Easter tennis coaching, so give me a call on the number above or email paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk if you’d like to register some interest for that or to find out more – there will be more details in the magazine next month and on the tennis club notice boards & website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk once we’ve finalised the arrangements.

Finally, further early warning that our clubs AGM will be held in the Cannon on Monday 23rd March at 7.30pm. We must like the hospitality there an awful lot!

Parish Magazine Article - January 15

A belated Happy Christmas to you all! I hope that Father Christmas brought you the new racket you asked for. If not, then maybe you weren’t quite as good as you thought you were over the past year! If you did get a racket then I hope you’ll be coming down to the courts to start your new year’s resolution which will undoubtedly be to take up tennis and get some exercise.

Speaking of exercise, the league team have registered their first points of the Winter season with a remarkable draw against Okehampton. Why remarkable? Because it’s not every match that finishes 5 sets all and 50 games all, so well done to them. We have another couple of matches coming up , both against Budleigh, so there’s still a chance to register some more points. And if league tennis sounds tempting but you’re too lilly-livered to venture out in February, rest assured we’ll be signing up for the Summer league too.

After a suggestion from one of our members we’ve decided to hold a Skittles and Curry night in the Cannon on Saturday 7th March. The concept is quite simple – for £10 / head you get skittles, and curry. Oh and a lot of fun. So please give Rosemary Z a call to book your place as soon as possible (yes, to avoid disappointment) on 567430. After that, the early warning lights are already illuminated for the club’s AGM which will also be at the Cannon from 7.30pm on Monday 23rd March.

The club held its annual Christmas dinner, at The Cannon Inn (yes, again!) on Saturday 13th December and 29 members and partners made merry. The food was excellent and so was the company. The only complaints that I registered on the night were about the dastardly quiz which was inflicted on the gathered throng by yours truly. It wasn’t that bad, although some of the cryptic confectionary clues had quite a few people stumped. My favourite question was “like Heineken, perhaps”… There was one other notable observation which came from Jaine D who was highly critical of David Bray’s lack of stamina with the blowout horn. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

For those who just need to get out and play some knockabout tennis, we always have the weekly club night on a Thursday from 7pm and yes, it is all year round, or the vets (older generation, not James Herriot lookalikes) meet every Wednesday afternoon from 2pm. Either way we have a game to suit you. And if it’s coaching you need, Eddy Kerr is at your disposal this holiday season until Sunday 4th Jan when he has to nip back to uni again to do some real work – only until March when I’m sure he’ll be back. His contact details are on our website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

Oh, and that dastardly cryptic clue? The answer is “Refreshers”. Because everyone knows that only Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach. Happy New Year!

Parish Magazine Article - December 14

I’m not sure about you, but I can scarcely believe that it’s December already. Yes, the season of goodwill is upon us and, if you’ve been good, it’s your opportunity to ask for your heart’s desire for Christmas. So obviously that’ll be a shiny new tennis racket and balls so that you can make good on that New Year’s resolution (see forthcoming January magazine) to play more tennis! Seriously though – consider this carefully. Tennis is such a great way of keeping active outdoors, all year round. OK, tennis in January isn’t quite the same as tennis in Wimbledon fortnight, but believe it or not it is, if nothing else, totally exhilarating!

Now I know what you’re thinking – he’s got a vested interest. A most ungracious thought at this time of year, but unfortunately accurate. You see I do have multiple objectives in enticing you onto the courts right now. Firstly, I have done some advanced maths that clearly show that the more players we have simultaneously on the courts on a cold December evening, the higher the courtside temperature. OK this is a bit marginal, but there is a genuine buzz on a crisp Thursday club night and I would genuinely love for more people to be experiencing that.

Secondly, there is no getting away from the fact that our excellent courts are a fantastic resource available for us to use and they definitely have capacity for more tennis than they currently get. So if Thursday evening club night isn’t for you, you can pair up with friends and or family and have a run around together without even getting muddy. Let’s face it, this time of year is also the time for over – indulging and with the average Brit consuming a whopping 7,000 calories on Christmas Day, maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to get out into the fresh air and burn some off either before or after Christmas – if only to make space for more on Boxing Day!

OK and finally, yes, you’ve rumbled me, I do want more people to join the tennis club. Not that I’m on commission or anything, just that we want to make sure this already successful village institution goes from strength to strength. There’s loads of info about the club including how to join & even just the rules of the game plus full contact details on our website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

Whilst you are contemplating those three compelling reasons, consider the fact that we are leading by example. Our league team have been fighting an ultimately unsuccessful but good fight in some exciting matches on just the sort of evenings described above. Despite being in the lower tranches of the East Devon leagues we have been playing some pretty good teams, such as Tiverton and David Lloyd, as well as some old adversaries in Budleigh Salterton and Okehampton. Suffice to say that so far we have come second in these encounters, but actually they have been good fun and an opportunity to play at least 4 sets of proper tennis per match. The next encounter is on Monday 1st December at 6.30pm against Okehampton at home & this represents probably our best chance to get some points on the board this season. So come and cheer us on if you can. If not, just raise a glass to us instead!

So remember, for Christmas this year all you really want is… tennis!

Parish Magazine Article - November 14

The Indian Summer seems to have moved on, probably to India, but as I write has left behind some unseasonably warm temperatures in its wake. The tennis club has been making the most of these, with regular Thursday club night sessions taking place from 7pm. These are planned to continue throughout the winter so please feel free to come along for a knock any Thursday evening. Generally speaking it’s only when it’s actually raining or Christmas day that no-one shows up.

The weather hasn’t yet interfered with our programme of winter league matches, although on occasion we might have hoped that it had, given some of the results! It’s never been an easy league & we are facing some new entrants this year who must necessarily start in the lower leagues to progress upwards to their “natural level”. This in turn can lead to some hard matches for smaller clubs like ours against for instance David Lloyd, with 3000 or so members to choose from, or even Tiverton Town, with shall we say a much larger catchment. Perhaps enlarging our village would be one solution? I’ll give it some thought.

The next league matches are away to Tiverton on 7th November and then home to Okehampton on 1st December. On the plus side, we are constantly being complemented on the warmth of our hospitality, mainly due to the post match review at the Cannon Inn (thanks Karen) and the quality of our courts and lights. The court facilities are something we take for granted but in truth, as we play elsewhere in league matches, we observe clubs playing on much poorer surfaces and some with no floodlights – essential in winter in particular – so from time to time we should stop & reflect on the quality of the facilities available to us & thank those who, in the past, have worked tirelessly to make them available to us. The club would, however, dearly like to have a small clubhouse available to us to shelter from the occasional inclement weather etc, so that’s something the current committee are working towards.

In October I attended an LTA forum event with David Zirker our club secretary at the David Lloyd Centre in Exeter which provided some interesting information for the forthcoming year together with a review of last year’s LTA “free tennis” weekend initiative. We will be reviewing the plans for the forthcoming year in due course but I would anticipate a free tennis event some time in the late spring or early summer of 2015. British Tennis have in their wisdom also changed the rules around the 2015 Wimbledon ticket ballot. I’m hoping to get some info about this on the club’s website www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk in the near future so please do dial in to the “club news” section to keep up to date.

There’s just time for me to remind members that this year’s Christmas dinner is to be held on Saturday 13th December at The Cannon Inn – more details are available from Rosemary Zirker on 567430 or d.zirker@btinternet.com.

Parish Magazine Article - October 14

As it was foretold, so it came to pass… earlier in September the US Open roving supper quite literally went round the houses, calling at 3 of them (not quite at random, luckily for the rest of you) & ending up at mine where, obviously confused, the participants failed to find the exit door until 2am. The next scheduled event is the Christmas Dinner which this year is at the Cannon Inn on Saturday 13th December, so at least we’ve got some time to recover.

Despite the roving supper we’ve had a number of new members join the club in September, enjoying a discount to the full annual membership as we are now half way through the tennis year. If you want more information about membership then please contact me on paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk or 568766.

As I write this in the midst of an Indian summer, the winter league season is upon us. There are 2 matches in September, against David Lloyd and Tiverton, which by the time you read this will be over, but in October we host David Lloyd in the return leg on October 6th & then go away to Okehampton on October 20th. So whilst it’s a bit much to expect our club groupies to trek all the way over to Okie Dokey, especially at their age, do feel free to come down to the courts on back lane to cheer us on for the home matches.

Club night continues all through the year, at 7pm on Thursdays, so whatever your age or ability, do come along and have a go, and as the nights draw in, you’ll appreciate the floodlights to help you continue your 5 – setter into the early hours.

Parish Magazine Article - September 14

Junior coaching ran through to the end of the school Summer term, and was followed by a Junior tennis tournament which attracted entrants from a wide area for U14 & U16 singles and a doubles competition. The event was a great success & all concerned seemed to have an appetite for more, although the “more” might have referred to the barbeque and home - made chocolate brownies which were a definite hit.
 
This was followed up in August with a week- long sports camp which included tennis, football, cricket, frisbee, tag rugby and even a quiz when the showers came, all hosted by our coach Eddy Kerr.
 
The Summer league team has now played its final match of the season & by the time you read this we’ll be enrolled in the winter league which is a slightly different format, where 2 mixed doubles matches are played followed by a ladies doubles & gents doubles. As our captain Steve Filer reminded me as I was playing the other day, we’re always looking out for new talent in the team, so, if you can hold a racket, don’t be shy & come on down to club nights on a Thursday evening from 7pm, even if you want to “try before you buy” a membership.
 
I’m sure the US Open tennis tournament will be on all your calendars and this year we’re planning a US Open roving supper on the evening of Saturday 6th September to commemorate the final weekend of the competition. Now lately these events have calmed down considerably, so I’m confident my usual “lock up your daughters” warning won’t be needed on this occasion, although we’ll obviously have a hefty police presence, just to be on the safe side. I’m sure a good time will be had by all. We’re hoping to stage a couple more social events in the autumn too, so watch this space for more details.
 
Just a reminder that the courts play all year round (hence winter league fixtures) and are of course floodlit, so, as the nights begin to darken a little earlier in September you’ve really got no excuse not to get your shorts on and play some tennis!

Parish Magazine Article - August 14

It has been wall to wall tennis for the past month, interspersed with a healthy slug of world cup football. First we had the Wimbledon Ball, which was, even if I say so myself, a lot of fun this year. A special thanks to all those who donated prizes for the raffle, in particular La Rosetta, The Cannon Inn, Pride Hairdressers, Moore’s Restaurant, Sarah Gibbs Health & Beauty & Pecorama, plus numerous anonymous private donors. Also a special thanks once again to David & Rosemary Zirker who worked tirelessly (such an ironic word, ‘cos whenever it gets used I’m sure whoever it refers to is absolutely exhausted) to provide another great buffet for 50 or so revellers.
 
The very next day – and dark glasses were mandatory for the team – was the annual cricket v tennis challenge. There was an awful lot of spirit on show, particularly by the umpires for the cricket, Matt Raistrick & Kenny Clay, although James “I’m not walking” House let the side down somewhat in my slightly contentious opinion. The spirit overflowed onto the tennis courts too and the cricketers did their best to overturn the record books and had a real go, without it has to be said total comprehension of all the rules. But in the end the equilibrium in the universe was maintained & the Cricketers won the cricket & the Tennis club won the tennis. Thanks to Karen at the Cannon for putting on an excellent BBQ afterwards too.
 
The above ran through the middle weekend of Wimbledon fortnight, which saw a frustrating exit for Mr Murray but paved the way for an excellent 5 set final between crowd – favourite Roger Federer & the (relatively) new kid on the block Novak Djokovic. The club was allotted 6 pairs of tickets in this year’s draw including mens semi-finals, and therefore 6 of our club members were able to go along to the tournament in person.
 
We also managed to run the junior coaching on Tuesdays & Thursdays too, interrupted by a holiday for the coach. These sessions have proven increasingly popular as the term has progressed. The coach has also organised a junior’s tournament this year, for U16 & U14 levels which was hosted by the club on Saturday 19th July. This followed hot on the heels of the adult fun tournament on Sunday 13th July which saw 16 hopefuls pit their wits against their greatest rivals in a fun, round – robin format. With some epic matches there was only time for 3 rounds, after which the best placed unseeded player was Matt Copple and I shared the honours with Steve Filer for the best seeded player. One of the highlights for me was Rosemary Z’s cream tea, of course.
 
The coach is also scheduling a tennis sports camp for ages 4 to 14 from 10am to 3pm starting on Monday 11th August. All sorts of fun games are planned, not just tennis, and you’ll be pleased to hear that the pavilion will be available in case of inclement weather & for toilet breaks! Participants can duck in & out for a half day at a time with prices from as little as £10 per session, or go the whole hog of 5 days. More info is available on the website or from me on 568766.
 
Tennis membership is still available for the rest of the year, which runs to March 2015 and is remarkable value. The club’s league team continues to be in action, and club night is at 7pm on Thursdays. Please give me a shout if you want to know more.

Parish Magazine Article - July 14

We finally got the Open Day off our agenda. OK, it was still wet, but in that true British spirit of stubbornness we pressed on regardless, and on Sunday 8th June at 2pm, just as the heavens opened, 25 or so partook in games of damp tennis. Most then went on to dry off in the Pavilion at the excellent Vision & Victory charity tea event where, frankly, too much cake was consumed. At 5pm, as the Open Day
was officially over, the heavens closed again. OK Lord, I get the message!

This article is going in before the annual Wimbledon Ball at the Pavilion on Saturday 28th June, where £12.50 gets you a splendid buffet and a first class disco which, I am assured, will do (sensible) requests and all in all should be a bloomin’ good night. Those who can still stand the next day will be conscripted into the club’s annual Tennis v Cricket challenge which is on the fields / courts from 1pm on Sunday 29th. Refreshments will be available throughout the day, then it will be back to The Cannon Inn for some post – match analysis and perhaps their famous pub quiz.

Junior coaching is running well, with 6 – 8 yrs down at the courts from 4pm each Tuesday and Thursday and 9 – 14yrs from 5 – 6pm on the same days. This is scheduled to run through to the end of the school term. There are still some places available so if you are interested in this contact me on 568766 or paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk to book a place.

We are currently arranging a junior tennis camp too, during the Summer holidays, which will run from Monday 11th August for 5 days from 10am to 3pm. Participants can sign up for as many days as they want, and of course there will be tennis but also all sorts of other fun too. Costs and further details of this exciting new event are on our website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

I’m pleased to say that our coach, who is clearly keen as mustard, has also arranged for a Junior tennis tournament to commence at 10am on Saturday 19th July, with both U14 and U16 age ranges in single and doubles, a BBQ and prizes. The competition will be a round – robin format, guaranteeing that everyone gets a good deal of tennis. I know that this has already attracted entrants from all around East Devon so if you want to have a go you’ll need to contact our coach, Eddy Kerr, on 07854294447 or Edward.kerr14@yahoo.co.uk.

That will come hot on the heels of the club’s annual OPEN FUN tournament, which is on Sunday 13th July at 2pm. Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s OPEN so anyone can have a go, members or non – members, and it’s FUN! Again, there’ll be teas, coffees, scones, sweets and, for the ultra – fit, bananas, so do come and have a go!

Club night is for over 14’s and is from 7pm on Thursday evenings. It’s an opportunity for all members to come and get a game and also for non – members of all standards to try before they buy. Plus league tennis. Busy just doesn’t cut it this month!

Parish Magazine Article - June 14

Well the season is in full flow and as you’ll see below there’s a lot on! We’ve had to postpone the open day twice so far, and now we are having a third & final go at hosting it – this time with a bit of a difference as we are coinciding it with Ruth & Bernard’s Vision & Victory charity tea on Sunday 8th June at the Pavilion. The tennis will start at 2pm as usual but for refreshments you’ll be directed to the Pavilion where great things will await! Try and come down if you can – I’ll try and make sure that the posters are updated (again) to remind you! Even if you can’t make the tennis, go to the tea – it’s in a great cause.

Club night is now up & running again on Thursday evenings from 7pm, weather – permitting, & if you’re thinking of joining the club and want to “try before you buy” just pop down to the courts on a Thursday evening and have a knock about – there’s usually a committee member there who can help answer any questions. Alternatively our website, www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk (catchy) has all the membership details, club rules and constitution etc (a gripping read in itself).

After the success of the Easter junior training sessions I’m delighted to say we are going to put some more coaching on again with our LTA – qualified instructor Eddy Kerr for the second half of term each Tuesday and Thursday after school, starting on Tues 3rd June. The format’s the same as previously, with ages 6 to 8 yrs for the first hour, 9 -11 yrs from 5.30pm and 12 – 14yrs from 6.30pm. They will run for an initial 3 weeks, then the coach is on holiday for 10 days or so and the sessions will recommence on Thursday 3rd July through to the end of term (where on earth is the year going?!). Places are £2 per session for members, £3 for non-members and are limited, on a first come, first served basis, so if you’re interested please give me a call or drop me an email on the same contact details as for Paula below.

And now for the one of the village calendar’s main events – the Club’s infamous Wimbledon Ball is back, so start sewing on your sequins and put the date in your diary – Saturday 28th June, with frivolities kicking off at 7.30pm in the Pavilion. This year we’re trying a new disco, and there’ll be the same great food in the form of a buffet and a couple of fun games to have a go at, but do remember to bring your own beverages please. It’s a chance to let your hair down, so why not get a group together and make a night of it? Tickets are only £12.50 each and are available from Paula on 568766 or paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk.

The following day (Sunday 29th) is the annual Tennis Club v Cricket Club challenge match. That’s where we try and play their weird & wonderful game with an almost - round ball and a collection of wood, and we educate them in the civilities of the wondrous game of tennis. A BBQ is threatened to run throughout the afternoon therefore it’s bound to rain, so why not come down and cheer everyone on – it’s always a lot of fun!

The summer league season began in May, and I know that captain Steve Filer is still on the lookout for players for the team, so if you would like to play some competitive matches during the summer please contact Steve on 567756. Fixtures in June are Monday 2nd June away to Woodbury, Monday 9th June home v Budleigh. Matches start at 6.30pm, so again, pop down and watch if you’d like.

Parish Magazine Article - May 14

The weather took its toll in early April, claiming both the annual Open Day on Sunday 6th and the first day of the kids coaching week on Monday 7th. Thereafter it really brightened up though, and the rest of the week’s coaching was a great success, with an average of more than 20 attending the morning sessions from Tuesday to Friday.

In fact it proved so popular that we managed to scrape together another couple of sessions in the following week. We are aiming to put some more coaching on from mid - June and potentially run it through the Summer to September or so. For more info on that you’ll just have to watch this space, contact me on 568766 or dial into our website at www.newtonpopplefordtennis.co.uk.

The Open Day has been rearranged for Sunday 27th April from 2pm so there’s no need to miss out! The intention is the same, a bit of fun, free tennis and some refreshments, so why not pop down and have a look. We’ll have some spare rackets and balls so all you’ll need is yourself and some appropriate footwear.

The annual draw for Wimbledon tickets was held on Sunday 6th – all witnessed and proper – and 5 lucky winners were selected to take the 5 pairs of Wimbledon tickets on offer, including men’s semi - finals on Centre Court. Bad luck to those who weren’t successful. Next year we’re hopeful of being allocated more tickets as we have changed our constitution to automatically register every member for British Tennis. Hitherto only about 50% or so of our members were bothering to join (although it’s free!). So, in other words, next year as a member of the club you will automatically be eligible to enter the draw.

The East Devon Tennis Summer League is about to get underway and this year our captain Steve Filer is breaking with tradition and is appealing to men! Please don’t misunderstand me – what I mean is that we’re on the lookout for some gentlemen players to boost the ranks of our team. Steve likes to adopt the squad rotation methodology preferred by certain premier league football managers, which, whilst not guaranteeing success, means that the most of the squad can be certain of a game if they want one. So please don’t be bashful – step forward!

The first fixtures are on Mon May 12th home v Woodbury, Weds 21st May away v “Okey Dokey” Okehampton and Home v Exmouth on Weds 28th May. The matches are all mixed, start at 6.30pm and it’s all played in a nice friendly atmosphere, so it should be fun.

The new season is therefore underway, membership prices are the lowest in the East Devon area, and the courts are rated as amongst the best in the area, so we’ve got a great facility waiting for you – please come and use it!

Parish Magazine Article April 14

The club’s AGM was held at the Cannon Inn on Thursday 6th March. Personally, I think it was a success, with some interesting & useful comments from the floor which will help us to shape the club for the coming year. Membership fees were held at 2013/14 levels, with junior membership starting at just £20 for the year, and the club resolved to continue with its Rotary raffle, which has been a good way of raising funds in the last couple of years.

The club’s coaching will be extended and for Easter we have a week of coaching sessions for children aged from 6 to 14 starting on Monday 7th April. For more details on this or to book a place please give me a call on 568766 or email me at paula_chris@tiscali.co.uk Since I can remember it has been the aim of the club to keep costs as affordable as possible, and these group coaching sessions can be booked for as little as £2 / hour. Places are limited and are starting to fill up so please don’t leave it too late to book.

One to One training is also available with our coach, Eddy Kerr, at a mutually convenient time. Please contact Eddy directly for more details on 07854294447.

We’ve also booked our annual open day from 2pm on Sunday 6th April at the courts. This involves FREE TENNIS, and plenty of fun, games and refreshments. You can find out more about membership and coaching too, so please come down and support the club on that afternoon.

The rules for the Wimbledon ticket draw were reviewed and approved. They have been checked by Devon LTA to ensure that they comply with national requirements. To simplify the criteria for qualification, ALL new members signing up to the club will automatically be enrolled into British Tennis free of charge (unless they choose to opt out) and will therefore instantly become eligible to apply for tickets to Wimbledon in 2015.

Our club captain Steve Filer had to report that the enjoyment of the Winter League fixtures had far outweighed the actual results, however the last 2 matches were a draw and a win, so Steve’s pep – talks finally seem to be working! The Summer fixtures (yes, Summer!) are now out and our first is against Woodbury at home at 6.30pm on Monday 12th May. We’re also hoping to arrange some friendlies with other local clubs, including for juniors too. In any event the advanced warning gives you all plenty of time to get down to the courts for some practice before your inevitable selection to the team. Club nights are on Thursday evenings so you’re always assured of a game, weather permitting. Hope to see you there!

Annual Christmas Dinner 2013

An excellent Christmas meal was enjoyed by 29 members and their partners at Moores Restaurant in the village on Friday 13th December

Any old iron?

Who do you recognise from this photo? Taken in September 1990 during the opening ceremony for the current courts, there are some pretty scary mullets going on. Except the honorable Mr Woodley, of course...

Opening of the Tennis Court by Tom Fraser