Copyright STC 2013

More than just a Club…

Jubilee Field

The Street

Sissinghurst, Kent TN17 2JA

Sissinghurst Tennis Club


How time flies! The last 3 years as Chairman has flown by and never having put finger to keyboard previously and with our brand new website designed by our own Paul Tully, I thought it would be appropriate to do so.

There have been a few changes since I took over from Julie in November 2010, not least of which of course being the resurfacing of the courts, (now over 2 years old!) new surround and lights.

The online booking system (yet another bit of technical wizardry by our man Tully!) having run for about two years seems to have been a hit with the members.

With all this capital expenditure of course, you would have thought that funds would be have been obliterated completely. Not at all, in fact with our very own ‘Fagin’ Treasurer, Pete Smith, we have a very healthy balance at bank of £27k. This of course provides a good foundation for a ‘sinking fund’ for future significant maintenance works.

This leads me nicely into the maintenance role expertly fulfilled by Tony Reader. I am sure you will agree that at recent finals weekends the grass and hedges has looked a treat. There are obviously issues with ongoing maintenance at the clubhouse due to its age, but rest assured all options are being considered by the Committee.

Apart from his technical ability with websites and other techie computer stuff, Paul also manages the membership database and making sure subscriptions are paid on time, which is no mean feat with 300 members. Together with Suzanne and Lou, Paul is one of the longest serving members of the committee, I understand for over 10 years. (I believe Suzanne currently holds that record!)

Looking back over the recent records, we have always fluctuated between 290 and 310 members, which compared to other clubs in the vicinity is a very healthy number.

As you all know, Suzanne manages the 1st Team which achieved promotion to Division 1 last year, but the difficulty remains with the availability of our star quality players for matches! Believe me there is a massive difference in standard between the 1st and 2nd Teams.

David Fettes has this season taken over the role of 2nd team coach, from Vicky Wade who managed to achieve promotion to the 2nd Division in the Wealden League. So far, half way through this season, I think its fair to say there has been mixed results- a bit like Moyes taking over from Ferguson!!

David has taken on the responsibility as project leader for the LTA Club Mark accreditation project which is a mammoth task and form filling exercise to enable development for the future and could assist tremendously with funding for new projects such as possibly a new club house, which has to be a consideration.

Club Mark will also assist the junior development, (the life blood and obviously the future of the club) which was introduced by Annette Fettes again, about 2 years ago, and is coordinated through Sue Wood and Sarah Forrest running under 12, 14 and 18 age groups and Friday night practise nights. It is a tremendous success and reflected with winning a couple of tournaments.

I must say that through the excellent coaching and lessons offered by  Suzanne and Christine Bezant this has been for many years a platform to encourage new membership and  opportunities for the next generation to be a major part of the club.

Until recently, Sandy Robbins took responsibility for Social events, and then to keep it in the family, Geoff has been appointed to the committee to assume the role. In any organisation this is a demanding position as it requires enthusiasm to generate interest in the events. Sandy made a tremendous success in the organisation for the Dinner Dances at Chart Hills in 2012 and 2013.

As it has become increasingly difficult to find the right venue, with a menu that caters for all, whether we have a band, disco or no music, together with of course trying to find exactly the right date to accommodate everybody for a cost that doesn’t break the bank is not an easy task for the Social Secretary!

Unfortunately due to lack of numbers, the event had to be cancelled at the last minute in 2011 and although it has been tremendous fun on the evening in the last 2 years there is a lot of hard work and heart ache put in to make the evening a success. Trying to generate enthusiasm and support for the evening is always a difficult task. Based on which has been decided that we won’t be organising a dinner dance in early 2014 but may arrange a slightly different function in  Spring/Summer.

I am certain that Geoff will bring another dimension to the role.

The auction of promises held at last years gathering raised £1000 which will be spent on a defibrillator in the not too distant future once all the various options such as which one to buy, where to put it, how to use it , training and any other factors that need to considered have been decided.

There is of course the quiz night which seems to have been running for ever (I am sure that you must be getting bored of the quiz masters voice by now!!!) and certainly from an organisation, smooth running and cost (still £10 per head even after all these years) point of view, always seems to be enjoyed and well supported.

The Finals weekend seems to have taken on a life of its own and certainly does have  a very social aspect with a bbq, washed down with a few beers and or wine while watching good quality tennis on both days, particularly if the weather holds, is a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday or Sunday -or even both!!

The actual tennis activities, include the Camden Cup in May ,Anniversary Cup in October, club night every Wednesday from March/ April through to October (depending on weather of course!!), 1st and 2nd team match practise nights on a Monday and Thursday respectively, Juniors on a Friday and obviously team matches throughout the year.

The other stalwart of the committee mentioned earlier that has served the club for many years is Lou Jones, who has been Secretary since February 2007, and due to many other commitments has recently resigned from this role but will stay on the committee, for which I am extremely grateful as I always welcome her input on various issues that arise from time to time.

We are seeking a new Secretary, about which, information has been circulated to all the membership recently but as yet we have not had any interest shown-not even one enquiry- as to what the position entails.

I appreciate that everybody’s time is precious and that we all lead hectic lives, but as you can see, and will hopefully appreciate from this missive, all the members of the Committee-both past and present-dedicate a lot of their time to ensure the club continues to be a success and develops for the next generation.

All the Best