Grassroots tennis and doubles’ play return to action in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 18:44 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:44 12 June 2020

The regular ladies� four having earned their ice cream. Picture: STC

The regular ladies� four having earned their ice cream. Picture: STC

Archant

Gradually, safely and indeed, happily, Sidmouth Tennis Club is returning to a ‘‘new normal’, writes Vici Topping.

Carole McCallum and Nikki Keele with eyes on the ball. Picture: SIDMOUTH TENNIS CLUBCarole McCallum and Nikki Keele with eyes on the ball. Picture: SIDMOUTH TENNIS CLUB

After the successful reintroduction of singles’ play on two separate courts a couple of weeks ago, the club then saw the beginning of one to one coaching and the opening of a third court the week after.

This week saw doubles’ play resuming, with one court remaining a ‘‘singles’ only’ court and with continued staggered time slots, to avoid over-crowding and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Keen to be back on court were regular foursome, Carole McCallum, Nikki Keele , Di Kendall Torry and Mary Dean, who clearly relished the reinstatement of doubles’ play.

Carole echoed the thoughts of many members when she said: “Doubles is far more fun for far less effort!”

Christine Hounslow stretching superbly for the ball while partner Mike Prentice stands ready. Picture: STCChristine Hounslow stretching superbly for the ball while partner Mike Prentice stands ready. Picture: STC

There may be some who disagree, and, I do suspect that the after-match ice cream on the seafront, proved to be of equal fun for the ladies!

Similarly, Alison Winfield, partnering her husband Martin Dawes against Christine Hounslow and Mike Prentice, expressed relief at being able to blame her partner once again when losing a point.

She explained saying: “It’s just great to be able to shout ‘YOURS’ again.”

The grass court was also reopened this week and it wasn’t long before members took advantage of this quintessentially English, summer playing surface.

Di Kendall Torry and Mary Dean feeling the tension. Picture: STCDi Kendall Torry and Mary Dean feeling the tension. Picture: STC

Some of the first players to feel the turf beneath their feet again were Gill Hodge and Jenny Parry, who delighted in taking on Debbie Snelgrove and Vici Topping.

It almost felt as if we were back at Wimbledon though, sadly, without the Pimms and strawberries of course!

Additionally, with the absence of inter club competition for the foreseeable future, member David Watkins is busy organising a three-tiered, singles’ and doubles’ round-robin ladder, which will see players, of all abilities, competing in one of three divisions according to the level of competition they wish to face. This should give members an opportunity to enjoy the friendly rivalry which characterises match play, within the safe environment of their club, as well as providing lots of fun!

It really does seem that day by day, week by week, Sidmouth Tennis Club players are carving out a, ‘new normal’ way to play the sport they love!

Ali Winfield  takes a sweeping forehand. Picture: STCAli Winfield takes a sweeping forehand. Picture: STC

Debbie Snelgrove adopts a balletic pose for a sweeping forehand on the grass. Picture: STCDebbie Snelgrove adopts a balletic pose for a sweeping forehand on the grass. Picture: STC

Gill Hodge and Jenny Parry back on the grass. Picture: STCGill Hodge and Jenny Parry back on the grass. Picture: STC


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