'Twas a dark and stormy night when the good and great of Bristol descended upon the mighty Bristol Real Tennis Club for an evening of drinking, The Chawner Challenge and some spectacular doubles.
Now I will be the first to admit that there may be some slight errors in that statement but I cannot say where.
Suffice to say that it was a superb evening and fun was had by all. Thank you to Will Chawner, Jan Fuller and all the team that helped.
We even had a visit from Santa although he was in civilian clothing and was clearly scoping me out to see what a good boy I have been...
Well done all!


"What's On" in November 2018



Dear Member,

I am trying a new format for the monthly newsletter, with the detail embedded in the email rather than in an attachment. Hopefully it will make an easier read and might even generate a few more responses!   

And whilst on the subject of responses, please, please, please don’t be shy about putting your name down to play in Club tournaments and inter-club matches.  The entry was disappointingly low for the recent Newman Bell Club Handicaps Doubles. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to play this year and couldn’t make the final, but those members who did play enjoyed some very good tennis. It would also be nice to have more people coming along to watch, support and enjoy a tournament final – the more the merrier in the dedans, so you could bring along all the family as well!   

Many of the Club tournaments are played off handicap, which means that everyone can join in and get the chance to play other members that they wouldn’t normally expect to play – and for doubles tournaments, KK and Ben are more than happy to find partners.  It can also be a struggle to get a team together for some of the inter-club matches – though I suspect we are not alone in this – but for home matches, it is an opportunity to play members from other clubs, and for away matches it is an opportunity to play on other courts and have a good day out. Remember - car sharing is always a possibility.  Unfortunately, in a similar vein, we have been unable to raise a team this year for the Preliminary Round of the Brodie Cup, which is one of the major T&RA inter-club competitions. The downside is that it is limited to T&RA members in the 30-50 handicap range, which is something of a limiting factor.  

I am very grateful to KK and Ben for doing a champion job in trying to get members to play more, BUT they can only do it with your help and support.

So important diary dates for November

We have four inter-club matches scheduled for November, one home and three away. The dates are:


  • Saturday 3rd November away against Seacourt (Hayling Island) - I know the call has gone out for players but this is an opportunity to play on a court very different to our own and one that is very difficult get a casual booking on.


  • Sunday 11th November away against Cambridge – a club with two very different courts.


  • Saturday 17th November at home to Wellington


  • Sunday 25th November away against Moreton Morrell


    Just see KK or Ben if you would like to play - for away matches the host club has to match the handicaps of our team, whereas for home matches we have to match the handicaps of the visiting team, so there is plenty of opportunity to join in. 

     Other tennis events in November Include:

  • A Singles Medal Day for 61-70 handicaps on Sunday 4th November

  • A Singles Medal Day for 71+ handicaps on Saturday 24th November

  • A Doubles Medal Day 41-60 handicaps on the afternoon of Saturday 10th November 

  • And a Taster Session for new players interested in taking up the game on the morning of Saturday 10th November – it is very important that Taster Sessions are well supported as we need to encourage new players, especially younger players, to become playing members, so please bring your friends and family along.

     And don’t forget the Monday and Wednesday Club nights.

     And forthcoming social dates for your diary

     Following on from last year’s success. Jan and Laurence are organising a whist drive on Friday 16th November, with supper and wine. Please let KK or Ben know if you are interested in coming.

     Start Christmas early with drinks, canapés, the infamous Chawner Challenge and an Exhibition Match on Wednesday 5th December from 6.30pm.

     The Club’s Christmas Lunch will be on Thursday 13th December at the Lansdown Pub in Clifton.

     With best wishes and plenty of good tennis.



Trip to Prested Hall

On the beautiful sunny morning of Friday 26th October, Squadron Leader Nigel Harradine, Flight Lieutenant Ben Coleman and a couple of stowaways Chris Barnard and Reggie Williams made a giant leap for mankind as they took to the air in hope of reaching Prested Hall. It was never in doubt.

Our fearless pilot touched down on a wonderfully narrow runway only a stones throw from our destination.

After 2 hours or Realers we had 2 hours of Padel and then a dip in the pool was needed before re-testing our drinking arms.

After 2 more hours of Tennis the following morning we made the return flight and huge respect to Captain Harradine for having to be re-routed and then landing with zero visibility in an instrument only landing in driving rain and strong winds.

Thank you to the team at Prested and massive fun was had by all.

P.S Reggie may need new pants after the landing. Over & Out.


Bristol v Holyport @ Holyport on Sunday 30th September

 Well, we lost.  But that is the merest of detail in black and white.  The technicolour report can barely convey the excitement, the thrills, the nail-biting finale and, indeed, conclusion, to a splendid day in the very hospitable environs of Holyport.

 The opening doubles of Andrews and Ben Wessley were peerless and, having allowed their opponents be be fooled into thinking they were going to walk it, produced a remarkably fine second half to run out confortable winners, 10-6.

 Ben stayed on court to be joined by John Grice but this all left-handed combination confused each other more than their opponents and lost 8-10.

 The battle of the Sues next. Susie Wessley offered stern resistance but lost to Sue Potts 2-6, 4-6 in a noble but ultimately doomed encounter.

 In the second bout of doubles Andrews and comparatively new boy Greg Caswell had a convincing if not crushing win 10-7 but then Caswell and Grice failed bravely, going down 3-10 to on-song opponents.

 We were wined and dined splendidly in the rather dashing Holyport club; almost the perfect Sunday.

 Stuart Andrews


Dear Member,

 I am sending this out early as I will be away from 23rd September until 6th October! So I will start with events that have happened or are about to happen in September. The Ponsford Plate mixed doubles on 16th September was a great success. Six pairs entered, with a wide range of handicaps to challenge the marker, and we played first to five in a round robin format. Two pairs ended up with the same score, so they played a closely fought final cheered on by a full dedans. Tricia Moffat and Lindsey Henniker-Heaton emerged victorious – 11 years after they first won the tournament!

Congratulations to Matt Skidmore in retaining his Sunshine Cup title by winning against John Grice in a very close final.6/4 6/4

The Youth Open Day is on Saturday 29th September and Chris Harland would appreciate support from any members who have links with young players at cricket and lawn tennis clubs. If you are interested and can help, email Chris on

 Then there are two inter club matches on Sunday 30th September, one away at Holyport and the other at home to Hardwick House – so speak to KK or Ben if you fancy playing.


Enhancing the real tennis experience

 The Committee is very conscious that we need to attract new members and get existing members to play more in order to maintain the long term sustainability of the Club.  Stuart Andrews, who joined the Committee in April, is setting up a small working group to bounce ideas around and get things moving –so if you have any ideas on increasing membership numbers, particularly in respect of getting more younger players, or generally improving the ambiance at the Club along with the social facilities, please get in touch.

Something that is under active consideration is acquiring some additional land from Clifton College, and constructing two Padel Courts which would be open to the general public for Padel membership.  Padel Tennis is apparently the fastest growing rackets sport in the world and very much family orientated - though I have to admit that I had never heard of it before and am very ignorant about the game!  However I am fast learning about it thanks to those members including our past President, Nick Ponsford, who have played it on holiday. Our Treasurer, Chris Willows, is very enthusiastic and the Club has set up a small project team under Chris to bring the project forward to the point where a decision can be made. Chris and Nick would be more than happy to describe it - or try Googling it, to see it played and spot the links with real tennis. It would be nice to know how many of you have played it and whether you think the game would complement real tennis and help to enhance the Club.

Building matters

You will have noticed that we are having problems with the car park barrier, which has been more locked up than down of late. It is an original feature of the Club and getting spare parts to repair the problem are proving difficult. So we are looking at alternatives and we may end up with a suitable notice board.On the plus side, we now have a brand new fire exit door at the end of the downstairs corridor. 


Important diary dates for October

 We have two inter-club matches in early October, one away and two at home. The dates are:


·         Saturday 6th October against Newmarket – now an AWAY match, a change from the Fixtures List;

 ·         Sunday 7th October at home against MCC


 See KK or Ben if you want to play.  Remember that for away matches the host club has to match the handicaps of our team, whereas for home matches we have to match the handicaps of the visiting team. 

 The Newman Bell Handicap Doubles is a Club tournament, with round robin boxes played over two days – Thursday 18th and Friday 19th October – and a grand finale on Saturday 20th October.  Do enter whatever your handicap and don’t worry about finding a suitable partner.  Just have a word with KK or Ben and they will arrange it.

 Then on Sunday 28th October, we send a team to Leamington to play Leamington in the Preliminary Round of the Brodie Cup. This is one of the major T&RA inter-club competitions and it is limited to players in the 30-50 handicap range. KK will be organising things and team members have to be members of the T&RA.


Other events in October Include:

 ·         A Singles Medal Day for 31-40 handicaps on Saturday 13th October

 ·         A Doubles Medal Day under 40 handicaps on the afternoon of Sunday 28th

October  - which we may need to change because of the Brodie Cup!

 ·         And a Taster Session for new players interested in taking up the game on the morning of Sunday 28th October – so bring your friends and family along

 And don’t forget - Monday and Wednesday Club nights start on 1st October.

 A new date has yet to be fixed for the social event for new members.

 With best wishes and plenty of good tennis.


PONSFORD PLATE Sunday 16th September

The Ponsford Plate, our handicap club doubles was fiercely contested on Sunday the 16th of September.
It was a long but splendid day...and after many hours of emotional and occasionally vocal games, two pairs came to the fore in order to claim the crown.
Angela Probyn and Will Chawner went from strength to strength through the tournament and whilst taking a break from battling the odd lost wasp...Will hit some cracking shots. Alas, it was all in vain as the sublime Patricia Moffat & dodgy lefty Lindsey Henniker-Heaton(LH²) stepped up to become overall champions winning 6/4 in the final.
Congratulations to them.
And thanks to the Ponsfords for hosting and feeding us.
Well done everybody for staying all day and making it such fun.
It just shows how much better a tournament is with constant abuse from the dedans 😁


It is with great sadness that Bristol Real Tennis Club(BRTC) learns that John passed away on 9th September 2018.

John was initially responsible for forming THE BRISTOL & BATH TENNIS CLUB(B&BTC) following a meeting at his home with a few other enthusiasts in 1985 and there was a wandering Tennis Club.

Having established an interest amongst a number of like minded folk, the decision was taken to establish a home court, whereupon John handed over the Chairmanship to John Bretten to drive the project to the court on which we play today opened in 1998.

Apart from tennis, John owned an extensive wine cellar and such was his knowledge that he enjoyed sharing this with his friends.

Our sympathies are extended to his wife Bee and family.

Peter Probyn President

c.c. T&RA

What's On September'18

 After the long, hot summer, we can start looking forward to the new season of real tennis. Interestingly court usage during May, June and July averaged out the same (38%) as last year – the only trouble is that we need to be averaging considerably more for long term sustainability.  The summer months have always been difficult in terms of court usage but we do need to have more members playing more often, or as Denis put it ‘one hour more a week’.


New Members 

The summer months also tend to be a slack time for recruiting new members, but I would like to welcome Steve Taubman as a Trial Member. This could become a family affair as Henry and Hannah, his son and daughter, were part of the junior group for the Royal Visit and are now Junior Members in their own right.

 Chris Harland, as Youth Development Officer, is planning a Youth Open Day on Saturday 29th September. He intends to use social media and emails to contact local cricket, squash and tennis clubs and invite young players to come along and try real tennis.  If you would like to help Chris in any way with this important project, then email him at  


The 2018-19 Fixtures and Events List

This has now been distributed to all members with email addresses and posted to those without.  Spare copies are available at the Club.  We have gone for a slightly different format this year, which hopefully makes for easier reading. There are plenty of inter-club matches and Club tournaments to look forward to, along with medal days and other events. Just let Kevin or Ben know if you are interested in playing.  The rule of thumb for interclub matches is that the home club endeavours to match as far as possible the handicaps of the visiting team – so there are plenty of opportunities to visit other courts and play new people, regardless of your handicap.

Jan has a number of social events planned, with several more under consideration. The Club’s Christmas Lunch will be on Thursday 13th December, at a venue still to be decided.

 Membership of the Tennis & Rackets Association (T&RA)

The T&RA is the governing body for real tennis in the UK and is committed to developing and enlarging the game at all levels. It also runs and maintains the National Handicap System and the associated Real Tennis Online (RTO) website. For the last decade or so, all active players have been required to contribute to the T&RA by way of an annual Corporate Levy, which goes towards the costs of administration and maintenance of the game and, more especially, the upkeep of RTO and the handicap system.  The Club paid the Levy and then recouped the individual amount (£15.20 for 2016-17) from the court accounts of active members who had played more than four times during the year.  Other clubs did likewise or incorporated the Levy in their annual membership subscriptions.

 This worked very well until the advent of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).  Under the old system, a new member joining the Club would receive their initial playing handicap from the Professionals. This, along with their name, was then entered onto the National Handicap System, which gave them access to RTO and the court booking system. Now, thanks to the requirements of GDPR, this can no longer happen and members have to be members of the T&RA in order to have a National Handicap and access RTO. Back in April, the Committee considered the best course of action to adopt and decided to encourage active members to sign up individually to the T&RA as Associate Members, thereby retaining their handicap and on-line booking ability.  At £28 per year, Associate membership costs more than the Corporate Levy payment for 2016-17, but it simplifies the job of the Professionals in terms of booking courts and also when inputting game or match results on RTO.  Non T&RA members wishing to book a court now have to be entered on RTO as guests, with no associated handicap. It also ans that when a T&RA member plays a non T&RA member in a game or a match, the result cannot be entered onto the system and is effectively void.  

 So a big thank you to those members who have signed up for Associate Membership of the T&RA and a big plea to those members who have yet to fill in an application form.


Important diary dates for September

 Then we have the new date for the Ponsford Plate – Club Handicap Mixed Doubles Championship on Sunday 16th September.  This will be great day for members of every level to play some doubles and socialise over lunch.

 We also have two interclub matches – both on Sunday 30th September. One is away at Holyport, which is near Maidenhead, and the other at home to Hardwick House.


 Other events later in September include:


·        A Doubles Medal Day open to all handicaps on Saturday 22nd September


·         Taster Session on the morning of Sunday 23rd September


And  Kevin and Ben will be setting up club nights during the week, so please get in touch with them if you would like a regular evening of social tennis.

 With best wishes and plenty of good tennis.





Thursday 13th September at 7:30pm
Meet the Committe - welcome event for new members
Wednesday 5th December from 6:30pm
Start Christmas early with drinks, canapés,
the Chawner Challenge and Exhibition match
Thursday 13th December
Christmas Lunch - venue to be confirmed

Thursday 7th February
Quiz night
Saturday 27th April
The Irish Weekend
Friday 7th June
The Michael Jones Dinner
With lots of other events being planned

Meet the Committee – for new members
Thursday 13th at 7.30 pm
The Ponsford Plate – Club Handicap Mixed Doubles
Sunday 16th (H) Match Managers: Judy and Nick Ponsford
Sunday 30th (A) Match Manager: Stuart Andrews
Hardwick House
Sunday 30th (H) Match Manager: Laurence Brook

Saturday 6th (H) Match Manager: Chris Harland tbc
Sunday 7th (H) Match Manager: Mike Neale
Jesmond Dene
Monday 8th (H) Match Manager: Denis Mullan
The Newman Bell –Club Handicap Doubles
Thursday 18th – Saturday 20th (H)
Brodie Cup: Preliminary Round
Sunday 28th Leamington (A) Match Manager: Kevin King
(Note:T&RA members only)

Saturday 3rd (A) Match Managers: Sam & Eleanor Beale
Sunday 11th (A) Match Manager: Nigel Harradine
Saturday 17th (H) Match Manager: James Dron
Moreton Morrell
Sunday 25th (A) Match Manager; David Pearce

Sunday 2nd (A) Match Manager: Jon Grice
Christmas Drinks, Exhibition Match & the Chawner Challenge
Wednesday 5th from 6.30 pm (H)
Santa’s Family Doubles Day
Sunday 16th (H)
Beale Trophy & Exmoor Horn – under 18 Club Championships
Wednesday 19th (H)

Hangover Doubles – Open to all handicaps
Tuesday 1st (H)
Boasters weekend
Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th
Saturday 12th (A) Match Manager: Jonathan Platt
Yearling Cup – for members playing less than 12 months
Sunday 13th (H)
Parents and Offspring Fun Day
Saturday 19th (H)
Saturday 26th Match Manager: Chris Willows

The Hyde
Saturday 2nd (A) Match Managers: Claire & Bob Stacey
Saturday 16th (H) Match Manager: Paul Butler
The 70+ Challenge – Age and/or Handicap
Thursday 21st (H)

MARCH 2019
Saturday 2nd (A) Match Manager: Kevin King
Old Etonians
Friday 8th (H) Match Manager: Julian Hemming
Saturday 9th (A) Match Manager: Phil Moss
The Ponsford Plate –Club Handicap Mixed Doubles
Sunday 10th (H) Match Managers: Judy and Nick Ponsford
The Marauders
Friday 15th (H) TBC Match Manager: John M Dixon
Saturday 16th (H) Match Manager: Angela Probyn
Sunday 17th (H) Match Manager: Matthew Skidmore
The Brigands
Friday 29th March (H) Match Manager: Dave Whitaker

APRIL 2019
Hatfield House
Saturday 6th (H) Match Manager: Basil Hollington
The Barford Salver –Club Open Singles and
the Bretten Bowl –Club Open Doubles
Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th (H)
AGM (6.30pm) followed wines and canapés (7.00pm) and
the Easter Egg Challenge
Wednesday 24th (H)
The Irish Real Tennis Association
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th (H)

MAY 2019
The Ron Brown Trophy –Club Ladies Open Singles and
the Val Probyn Long Trophy – Club Ladies Handicap Singles
Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th (H)

JUNE 2019
RTC Hampton Court
Sunday 2nd (A) Match Manager: James Dron
The Michael Jones Club Handicap Singles
Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th (H) with dinner on the Friday evening
Mixed Doubles Fun Day
Sunday 16th (H)

The Summer Programme runs from early July until early September
The Sunshine Cup and the Moonshine Plate will be played off
handicap throughout July and August

Dates for Taster Sessions for new players interested
In taking up the game
Sunday 23rd September 10.00 am -12 noon
Sunday 28th October 10.00 am -12 noon
Saturday 10th November 10.00 am -12 noon
Sunday 9th December 10.00am – 12 noon
Saturday 23rd January 10.00am -12 noon
Saturday 9th February 10.00am – 12 noon
Sunday 24th March 10.00am – 12 noon
Saturday 4th May 10.00am – 12 noon
Wednesday 11th July 10.00am – 12 noon
Sunday 18th August 10.00am – 12 noon

Dates for Medal Days
Singles - 2018
Under 30 Handicap Saturday 15th September
31- 40 Handicap Saturday 13th October
41- 50 Handicap Sunday 14th October
51-60 Handicap Saturday 27th October
61-70 Handicap Sunday 4th November
71+ Handicap Saturday 24th November
Open to all handicaps Sunday 9th December 12 noon to 4 pm
Singles - 2019
Open to all handicaps Saturday 9th February 12 noon to 4 pm
Under 30 Handicap Saturday 30th March
31- 40 Handicap Saturday 7th April
41- 50 Handicap Sunday 5th May
51-60 Handicap Saturday 11th May
61-70 Handicap Sunday 12th May
71+ Handicap Saturday 1st June
Open to all handicaps Saturday 22nd June
Open to all handicaps Saturday 13th July
Open to all handicaps Sunday 4th August
Doubles - 2018
Open to all handicaps Saturday 22nd September
Under40 handicaps Sunday 28th October 12 noon – 4 pm
41-60 handicaps - Saturday 10th November 12 noon – 4pm
Doubles - 2019
60+ handicaps Sunday 24th March 12 noon – 4pm
Open to all handicaps Saturday 4th May 12 noon – 4pm

Dates for the Chairman’s Doubles with lunch
Sunday 9th September
Sunday 18th November
Sunday 20th January
Sunday 31st March
Sunday 26th May

'What's On' Aug'18

I wasn’t planning on doing a ‘What’s on” for August but I thought that I would take the opportunity to encourage everyone to play a few games during August, in spite of the warm weather and going on holidays. 

The Summer Programme

There has been a mixed response to the Summer Programme put together by KK and Ben.  There was very limited interest in the two marking seminars in July and also in the Chairman’s Sunday Doubles and the Ladies’ Sunday Doubles. On the other hand, the doubles seminar was a great success and several people have signed up for the serving seminar on August 8th.   

The new format for the Sunshine Cup has been a great success. The second semi final, between Laurence Brook and Matt Skidmore, will be played on Tuesday August 7th at 6pm, with the winner playing John Grice in the final - date to be confirmed.  The final of the plate (aka the Moonshine Cup) was between Jeannie Pigott and John Redmond, with Jeannie winning a hard fought match. 

Taster sessions are ongoing, with the next one being on Sunday 19th August from 10.00am to noon – so if you know of anyone who might be interested, please sign them up with KK and Ben.  This will be followed some fun doubles in the afternoon, with tea and cake.

The Fixtures and Events List for 2018-19

This is currently being finalised and will be off to the new printers shortly. James Dron has done an excellent job in arranging the various inter-club matches and we look forward to welcoming the Irish Real Tennis Association for a weekend next April. There will also be a lot of Club tournaments to look forward to, as well as a great social programme.

We start with a home match against Hardwick House on Saturday 1st September. The Match Manager is Laurence Brook, so if you fancy playing get in touch with him or KK.

Another key date for your diary is the Ponsford Plate Handicap Mixed Doubles on Sunday 16th September. This will be limited to 8 couples, with lots of play for everyone. KK and Ben will be more than happy to find you a partner if needs be – and the Ponsfords will be providing an excellent lunch as usual. 

 The Royal Visit and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Fund

Denis Mullan and Chris Willows are still reconciling the final figure for the money raised by the Club in respect of the Earl of Wessex’s visit in February. I understand that this is partly due to some donations being sent directly to DofE, with no apparent mechanism for informing the Club of the amount! 

Apart from this we managed to raise a total of £6,280, as follows:

  • Ticket Sales - £880


  • The Silent Auction - £3,880 (so a very big thank you to Lindsey for all his hard work and also to the members who donated the prizes)


  • Sponsorship - £1,000


  • Known donations, with gift aid forms - £440


  •  Collection on the day - £80


  • And finally .... Congratulation to Ben on his nuptials on 2nd  August .

     Best wishes





A small but perfectly formed group of Ladies convened on 13th May to compete for the Val Probyn Long Trophy. We had a great time: lots of laughter, plenty of good close handicap tennis, many pertinent comments from the dedans and a winner who squeaked through by one game.

Jeannie Pigott, Jan Fuller and Jackie Healey all played well with cunning shots and well disguised lobs but in the end it was Angela Probyn and Susie Wessely who each won three games. However Angela lost to Susie in the first match of the day. So everything hung on the last match. If Susie won she would be the outright winner. She fought back after Jeannie took a 3-0 lead to get the score to 3-3 but Jeannie brought all her experience to bear to win the final game. So three wins each and on the count back of games won and lost Angela won out.

You couldn’t have arranged for a better finale. Thank you to Kevin for his as ever excellent marking and match management and to PJ for providing us with a lovely light lunch and wine.

A message from PJ: do put next year’s date in your calendar when the fixtures list comes out - your handicap doesn’t matter. This year the handicap range was 66 and above.

'WHAT'S ON' in JUNE 2018

Dear Members

New Members

We have had a number of new members signing up during May. Craig Moore and Richard Auty came in as Trial members; James Rugg, Janine and Gary Mendham, and Jo O’Grady have all completed their trial memberships and have now signed up as Full Playing

Members; and last but not least Henry and Hannah Taubman, Nell Gorin-Stevens, Jemma Frake-Gray and Anisha Ossenbox, the junior team who took part in the Royal Event, are now all Junior members. 

A big welcome to you all and I hope you are thoroughly enjoying your real tennis

experience. You might be new to the game but don’t let that stop you putting your names down for the various medal days and Club tournaments. Most of them are open to all handicaps and it is a great way to meet people and gain experience.


My apologies for the number of emails that have been flying around about signing up to the new General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force on 25th May.  It is all the more frustrating in that a lot of large organisations seem to deem sending out a revised privacy policy an acceptable solution!  Unfortunately the requirements of the new regulation mean that the Club is having to move away from Corporate membership of the Tennis and Rackets Association and members wishing to retain a national real tennis handicap and use the RTO online booking system will need to become individual members of the T&RA.  

Results from May

The main tournament in May was the Val Probyn Long Ladies Club Handicap Singles Championship. Despite the entry being low this year– only five players – the day turned out to be tremendous fun. The format was revised and everyone played a four game set against everyone else, with the final result being decided on games won over games lost. It was a very close call at the end of the day and congratulations to Angela Probyn for winning by a single game.

And many thanks to Jan Fuller organising a very successful quiz night on 17th May.

Important diary dates for June

The Michael Jones Trophy Club Handicap Singles Championship, which takes place between Wednesday 6th and Saturday 9th June. This is open to all members with round robin boxes being played in the early stages before moving on to the knock out stages on the Saturday.

Traditionally we hold a social event as part of the tournament and this will take the form of a French evening on Friday 8th June. So put your name down even if you are not

entering the tournament and bring your friends along as well.

Other events later in June include

  • Mixed Doubles on Sunday 17th June (in case you can’t make the Ponsford Plate!) and


  • A singles Medal Day on Saturday 23rd June – open to all handicaps

 And don’t forget that there are still the spring league boxes to play for and also the social events on Monday and Wednesday evenings - just get in touch with Kevin or Ben.

 Looking forward to the 2018-19 season, James Dron is working hard on the fixtures list which we hope to get out to you in early August.  As well as the usual inter-club matches we are hoping to host a weekend with the Irish Real Tennis Association. We are also looking to possibly changing the format of some of the Club tournaments to encourage more members to play and get more people along to watch the finals.  If you have any thoughts or ideas on this please let me know.  

 With best wishes and hope to see you on court soon.


 Your still very new Chairman


The Barford Salver & the Bretten Bowl

The Barford Salver Club Open Singles tournament and the Bretten Bowl Club Open Doubles tournament were both hotly contested recently.

Thank you to those who came to support with a special thank you to Nick Ponsford who presented the singles trophy as his last official act as President and to Peter Probyn who presented the doubles trophy as his first act as President!

Congratulations must go to Tom Lewis who beat Ben Coleman in the singles final and to Tim Amstrong & Ben Coleman who defeated Tom Lewis & Jon Lennon in the doubles final.

Please remember to check our Facebook page for other news and photos!!


WHAT'S ON in May 2018

Hello from your new Chairman!  I was planning on standing down as Hon Secretary next year, so this was somewhat unexpected – or maybe it was because I was the longest serving member of the Management Committee!  Be that as it may – it’s was an honour and a privilege to be nominated and voted in at the AGM on 25 April.

 The AGM was well attended and was followed by wine and canapés. We also had an excellent exhibition match between Ben and Reggie Williams and Hamish Dron and Tom Bomford, with the seniors triumphant!  The AGM saw not only Denis Mullan stepping down as Chairman, having served his four year term, and but also Nick Ponsford, having served his five year term as President. Both received a big vote of thanks from the floor and Nick received a very large bottle of red wine as a token of our esteem. Denis also received a gift, which he didn’t open – but I can tell you that it was a Bristol Blue glass paper weight engraved with B.R.T.C in gold.  I welcome Peter Probyn (PJ to most people) as the new – and very well deserved –President.

Important diary dates for May

For members wanting to play during the month, we have the spring league boxes up and running. So if you would like to play in these boxes or in future boxes, just get in touch with Kevin or Ben.

There are no inter-club matches this month but, as part of Chris Harland’s junior promotion, there is a Junior Session on the morning of Saturday 5th May.

The Val Probyn Long Ladies Club Handicap Singles Championship will now take place on Sunday 13th May. This is open to all lady members of the Club and is always a very good day with plenty of socialising.  As the games are played off handicap, it is an ideal opportunity for people new to the game to meet other lady members and play different people.  

 There are three Medal Days in May, namely:


·         46-55 handicaps on the morning of Saturday 12th May


·         66 and above handicaps on Saturday 19th May


·         56-65 handicaps on Sunday 20th May


And there is a Taster session for new players interested in taking up the game on the morning of Wednesday 23rd May. So send your friends along!

Finally on the social side, there is a Quiz Night on Thursday 17th May.

A further date for your diaries is the new date for the Ponsford Plate – Club Mixed

Doubles Championship, which will now be played on Saturday 16th June.  This will be another great day for members of every level to play doubles and socialise over lunch. 

With best wishes and plenty of good tennis.


LRTA V BRTC Saturday 17th March

Lucy Davies and Peter Jones v Angela Probyn and Chris Willows



Charlotte Barker v Hannah Lucey



Janet Peach  v Susie Wessely



Georgie Willis v Tim Armstrong


All matches were played level, one deuce and then 40 all 

The first  between two very evenly matched pairs, Lucy Davies and Peter Jones v  Angela Probyn and Chris Willows  was very entertaining and played with great good humour.

The first set was level pegging until three all Then some excellent serving from Lucy and good volleying from Peter  saw them run out at 6/3 In the second set Angela and Chris upped their game and were much faster about the court  to win the set 6/4..Much depended on positioning, anticipation and mobility from all four players !!

The final set went to Angela and Chris 6/3 All looking rather weary.!

 Charlotte Barker  dominated her game against Hannah Lucey winning 6/1,6/1 .A good serve ,short back swing and faster about the court . Here experience told. Full marks to Hannah for great concentration some good serving and battling to the end. She has played very little since coming to Bristol University and will improve greatly if she is able to play more.

Janet Peach  from Oxford says she never plays singles and looking somewhat breathless  but with more experience won 6/3,6/1, beating Susie Wessely who has only been playing for six months  and did well to hold her own. 

The last match Georgie Willis against Tim Armstrong was a  very closely fought with some excellent tennis .

Georgie took the first set 6/1. despite some long rests .Tim however came back in the second and played more consistently.Serving good railroads and keeping the ball low. It looked as though Georgie was going to take the match at five all  and had a match point !. It was not to be and Tim took it 6/5. Set all !

Starting at three all in the final set both players looking tired, Tim made several unforced errors and Georgie took it 6/3 

A great match thoroughly enjoyed by all spectators.

A big thank you to Angela for organising both sides  and providing a delicious lunch.To  Kevin for his excellent  marking despite feeling unwell and BRTC for hosting the match.

Sheila Macintosh  


Undeterred by the  "Beast from the East", the intrepid players in this match and their supporters,  converged on Bristol from Dorset, Devon, Surrey and Gloucestershire to contest the annual fixture between the Old Etonians and BRTC.  Match manager, Julian Hemming, has played on either side in previous fixtures, but this time he represented the OEs in a closely contested opener against  James Dron. Julian used his  15 love advantage in every game to triumph 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.  

Father and son combination,  Nicholas and Jeremy Boustead then took to the court on either side of the net.  Jeremy is now on a gap year following Clifton College and he joined James Dron to take on Julian and Nicholas in a "loosener" doubles, which Julian and Nicholas closed out at 9-5.  This left time for father and son to play each other in a very tight singles set before the lunch interval; with the game going to 5-5, 40-40.  Jeremy edged the final point for Bristol.  Photos attached.

After a hearty lunch Dickie Boyle and James Hussey wisely elected to begin with a doubles match against Bristol tyros Hamish Dron and Lawrence Brook.  The Raspberry roulade gave the Etonian pair the necessary  centre of gravity from which they triumphed 9-7 to take the match beyond Bristol's reach.

Undeterred, Lawrence then made Dickie "I'd like to see you try it" Boyle sweat before Boyle triumphed 9-5.  This left  Hamish Dron to demonstrate his coolness and prowess to take the last match for Bristol, defeating the hard hitting Andrew Hussey 9-4.

Old Etonians 4 Bristol 2.

As always, many thanks to Kevin King for marking and encouraging.

HRH Earl of Wessex Visit - Wednesday 21st February

I am delighted to tell you that we had a most successful visit from HRH the Earl of Wessex last Wednesday as part of his 2018 Tennis Challenge. This is his initiative to raise the profile of real tennis by playing on every court in the world in 2018, and to raise £2m for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

We were only the second club that he has visited, after Cambridge where he went to university and learnt the game.

His visit was organised to coincide with the 20th anniversary of his formal opening of our club on 14 February 1998.

The Earl watched five schoolchildren having a coaching session with Ben. These are five of the kids who have participated in Chris Harland's junior sessions since September, and to which he is inviting further schools' involvement. The Earl then played three sets of doubles, with nine BRTC members, the first with juniors, the second  with three chosen by raffle and the third with three members who gave substantial donations for the privilege. They were watched by a full dedans with viewing also from the galleries and upstairs.

We also "sold" seats, ran raffles and held a silent auction with several lots. In total we raised over £6,500, comprising some £4,600 from the auction and £1,900 from the sale of seats, the raffles, third set donations and other donations. This was a sum much larger than we had originally anticipated.

We will be putting more details and photographs on the website shortly. This should happen some time next week as we still await the photographs from the official photographer, via the DofE.  

As you can imagine, there was a tremendous amount of planning went into this event, and I would again like to thank, in particular, Nick Ponsford, Claire Stacey, Chris Harland, Lindsey Henniker-Heaton and Jan Fuller for their help, together with other helpers and cake-bakers.

Kevin and Ben, as always, were stalwart supporters, Kevin marking on the day and Ben running the coaching session. 

My thanks to all who helped and supported, to all who came and watched, gave donations, bought lots and so forth. And thank you finally, to the Earl of Wessex who made the whole day possible. We wish him well for the rest of the year.





 "What’s on" in February 2018

Dear Members,

Let me begin by reminding you of the main event of this month of February.

Visit by HRH Earl of Wessex on Wednesday 21 February 2018

HRH Earl of Wessex, who officially opened the club nearly 20 years ago, is visiting in the afternoon of Wednesday 21 February. This is only the second stop on his 2018 Real Tennis World Tour, when he expects to play on every court in the world, both to raise awareness of real tennis and to raise funds for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme (D of E).

We will begin by hosting a coaching session with five or six juniors who have been participating in Chris Harland’s schools’ initiative over the last few months, their first introduction to real tennis. Chris is our Youth Development Officer and an active playing member. This will be followed by three sets of tennis with the Earl, the first involving three younger members, the second and third sets will feature other BRTC members playing with the Earl, chosen by raffle and by donation. With the emphasis on D of E, we hope that some of these players will be D of E award holders.

Those watching the second and third sets (by making a donation for a space in the dedans or galleries) will also join a tea and cake reception at the end of play.

In the two weeks running up to the visit, Lindsey Henniker-Heaton will be running a “silent auction” as a fund raiser to assist the Earl’s initiative; details of the lots available will be sent out next week.


Request for volunteers for that afternoon

On the afternoon of the royal visit, we will need several “marshals” to, for example, check visitors into the club, show them to their seats, help with parking and serving teas etc. etc. If you are prepared to help, then please let Kevin or Ben know in the first instance and one of our organising team will then get back to you.


In house play

For members wanting to play during the month, we have the continuation of the winter league boxes, which got off to a good 2018 start in January. If you would like to play in these boxes in future, then tell Kevin or Ben please. We also have a 36 – 45 medal day on Sunday 11th. So get involved to have some fun tennis.

You will also see from the schedule below that we have two inter-club matches this month, against The Hyde this weekend at home and then away to Oxford on Saturday the 17th. And we have the competition for The Ron Brown Trophy, being the ladies open club championship on the 10th. 

We have several junior sessions, as part of Chris Harland’s junior promotion, as well as the next round of The Peter Luck-Hille Cup against Radley at home on the 10th, starting at 2pm. Do try to get along to support our team.

So come and play, enjoy your tennis and have a very happy 2018,





 "What’s on" in January 2018

Dear Members,

Welcome to 2018. I hope that you have had enjoyable Christmas and New Year celebrations and can look forward positively to 2018. There are lots of entertaining events happening at BRTC over the next couple of months for us to anticipate.

 Visit by HRH Earl of Wessex on Wednesday 21 February 2018

Most importantly, we have a visit by HRH Earl of Wessex, who officially opened the club nearly 20 years ago. He is visiting us in the afternoon of Wednesday 21 February 2018 as the second stop on his 2018 Real Tennis World Tour, when he expects to play on every court in the world, both to raise awareness of real tennis and to raise funds for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

 We will host an afternoon of three sets of tennis with the Earl, the first involving young D of E people who have been participating in Chris Harland’s schools’ initiative over the last few months. The second and third sets will feature BRTC members playing with the Earl.

 We intend to select the playing members by both raffle and generous donation. Details will be circulated shortly. In the two weeks running up to the visit, we will also be holding a “silent auction” as a fund raiser to assist the Earl’s initiative, details of which will be sent out this Wednesday. The raffle will also feature the chance to win seats in the dedans and galleries to watch the games, with a tea and cake reception, and viewing seats will also be available to purchase as part of the fund raising.

 In house play

For members in general, we have the continuation of the league boxes, which got off to a good start in

November. If you would like to play in these boxes, then tell Kevin or Ben please.  We also have a medal day and the Ton Up doubles. So get involved if you want some fun tennis.

 You will also see from the schedule below that we have only the one inter-club match this month, in contrast to the six in November and one in early December. But we have several junior sessions, as part of Chris Harland’s junior promotion.

 December’s social catch ups and other bits of news

We had an enjoyable Christmas drinks evening on Wednesday 6 December. It featured a wonderful

Exhibition doubles match with Reggie Williams, Hamish Dron, Tom Lewis and Ben Coleman, which kept the dedans enthralled.  The Chawner Challenge was then played, was good fun, and was won by Bob Stacey.

 The Christmas lunch, which was held at The Shakespeare in Redland on Thursday 14 December, was a nice way to round off the real tennis year. Some 24 members enjoyed the occasion.

We replaced the heating boiler in December so that we can be assured of warmth for the club this winter.

Please like and follow our facebook page!

 So enjoy your tennis and have a very happy 2018,