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’.
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 email@example.com.
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.