Our chairman Martin's newsletter is now available to read.....
Spring is in the air, crocuses are out on the common, birds are singing, invoices for next year's membership fees are skipping into Inboxes everywhere, and the time has come for me to write to you all at the end of yet another successful year at the Club.
To my surprise and delight, I was re-elected as Chairman in November after an unexpected challenge for the post. I have now been in the role for 16 months and feel that, whilst I have learned a lot, there is still a way to go and more to do. In my time as Chairman I have watched the club go from strength to strength on many fronts. I am told that we are now the envy of many clubs in South West London and beyond both for the quality of our tennis and the vigour and the vibrancy of our social life. People ask me our secret. I smile and say nothing in what I hope is an enigmatic way. The truth is, I don't really know. It just works. Long may that continue!
The Committee has been invigorated by new members elected last November. Gareth Nicol is our new Club Captain. Kat Winn has taken over as Communications Officer and Meg Leckie has the role of Ladies’ Team Captain. They are all welcome and I thank them for the work they have done since joining the Committee. Penny has changed roles to become Tournament Director, a role she performs with skill and enthusiasm.
There are clubs around us, less successful by most measures, which have paid management. We rely on volunteers. Much of what Committee members do is unsung and unnoticed save where something goes awry as, inevitably, sometimes happens. I would like to thank all our volunteers for their continuing hard work and commitment to the Club.
This has been another excellent year for our team tennis at so many levels. You can see just by looking that the standard of tennis at the top end is rising steadily which is wonderful to see. I just hope there will always be a place for the more mature style of play that I personally favour. "Old gits' tennis" I believe it is called. Shame on you.
The summer tournament was well supported, superbly organised and produced an outstanding finals day followed by the best of parties. The Club was full and buzzing and the tennis was the focus of everybody’s attention. That is just how it should be. The simple truth is that places like this work best when everybody is committed to a common purpose. And as I write, the Clay Court Classic is reaching its climax and we have a great day of tennis and socialising to look forward to. Our thanks must go to Catherine and Penny for their efforts in organising these fantastic tournaments and all their supporters who help with the court bookings, the catering, the bar and the therapy for distraught losers.
We have had some wonderful social events. I am told the Halloween Party plumbed new depths of ghoulishness whilst at the same time being sexy and smart. The Christmas party was outstanding: great food, great company, classy live music and dancing well past bedtime. And let us not forget our amazing team of volunteers in aprons and heat proof gloves, slaving away to keep the revellers fed, watered and cheerful and then, come the witching hour, aprons and gloves were cast aside to reveal glamorous frocks, shimmering tops and exotic shoes to dance the night away.
We have many more social events planned for the coming year and I hope you will all try and support them. It is a good opportunity to get to know your fellow members and add to the sense of community at the Club.
We have every reason to be optimistic. Our tennis is getting better all the time. The bar is busy. Our finances remain robust and the Clubhouse is a nice place to spend precious time. The Committee is working well and we hope to carry out some major projects in the coming year. There is much in prospect to be excited about. The Committee keeps looking for ways to improve the Club's facilities - LED lighting, a court watering system, a better website are all being considered - we are even thinking of incorporating. If these projects leave the drawing board you will certainly hear more.
Now is also the time to think about renewing your membership of the Club. We should like to receive your renewal applications by no later than 31 March. Forms are available at the bar or online.
May I also mention a couple of housekeeping points? Please do remember to sweep the clay courts before play. Please try not to cancel courts at the last moment: there is nothing more dispiriting than to see precious court time wasted for this; and please pay the renewal fees promptly.
Finally, let me say that I am still challenged and stimulated by the role of Chairman. The Committee is full of talented and enthusiastic people who work hard on the Club's behalf and mostly in their spare time. The highlights for me this year were undoubtedly dancing the night away at the Christmas party and the raucous cheers from the Clubhouse when my wife and I narrowly lost our first round match in the mixed doubles. What is more, the clocks have not stopped once.
I remain very proud to be associated with such a successful and dynamic Club.