Sidmouth ladies’ A celebrate Winter League title success

The Sidmouth ladies A team of Kate Truman, Vici Topping, Jackie Ensall and captain Marlene Maynard,

The Sidmouth ladies A team of Kate Truman, Vici Topping, Jackie Ensall and captain Marlene Maynard, who won the Exeter Winter League Division Two title and will play in the top division next winter. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth’s tennis players are a hardy bunch but, even so, it’s been a challenging winter season for outdoor tennis with many league fixtures having to be rescheduled more than once, writes Kate Truman.

But, despite the interruptions to normal patterns of play, it’s been another excellent season for the club.

In the Exeter League, the Ladies’ Winter A team, comprising team captain Marlene Maynard, Jackie Ensall, Kate Truman, Vici Topping and Sharon O’Brien, has had a storming winter season, finishing top of Division Two.

With five wins and three draws, the team remained unbeaten throughout and finished three points ahead of local rivals, Seaton.

As winners of the division, the team are promoted to Division One next winter.

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The club’s mixed team is also celebrating victory, finishing top of Division Four in the East Devon Tennis League and earning promotion to Division Three next winter.

The team comprising Debbie Snelgrove (C), Martin Truman, Vici Topping, Peter Fung, Lesley Cranston, Kate Truman and two talented newcomers to the club this year, Brett Watson and Harsha Liyanage, have trekked to clubs as far afield as Teign Valley, Newton St Cyres and Tiverton. Clearly, team tactics discussed during lengthy travel time paid off!

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Sidmouth’s remaining three Winter League teams also had a good season.

The Men’s A team enjoyed a high standard of play in Division One, with many close-fought matches. They finished in mid-table position, with just four points separating four teams, and hold on to their place in the top Division.

With only one men’s team entered for the winter season, captain Martin Truman offered a wider field of players the opportunity to play.

As well as seasoned stalwart Jon Powell, juniors Ollie Truman and Jed Ionov-Flint, and A team newcomers Greg Shipp, Brett Watson, Harsha Liyanage and Alfie Flatters, all played an instrumental role in the team’s performance. New pairings have also been tried and tested for next year.

Meanwhile, the ladies’ Winter B team, captained by Viv Bess and Debbie Snelgrove, put in a very strong performance to finish as runners-up in Division Three, just three points behind winners Newton Abbot.

Depending on the number of clubs entering ladies’ teams in the Exeter League next winter, this may be enough to earn promotion to Division Two.

Last, but not least, the ladies’ C team, captained by Frances Ionov-Flint, braved their first winter season.

The team, which only formed in the summer and is largely made up of juniors, rusties and improvers with little or no match experience, finished mid-table and enjoyed some good wins along the way.

A fantastic performance which bodes well for next season.

?Sidmouth Tennis Club has plenty on offer for the year ahead, writes Kate Truman.

Club tournaments kick off shortly and there is a busy programme of fixtures planned for juniors, too.

In addition, club coach Sue Wiltshire is organising two events for juniors which are open to non-members interested in giving tennis a go.

The Mini Red Quorn family tennis, the popular doubles tournament for juniors aged 10yrs and under playing with an adult relative, returns again and will take place on Sunday, April 15, running from 2.30pm until 4.30pm. The closing date for entries is April 11.

There is also a Tennis4Kids Mini Tennis course planned.

This is a six-week coaching course for juniors who have played little or no tennis before.

The course, which will be run on three separate dates, costs £25 and includes a free racket, tennis balls and a T-shirt!

The dates and venues of the courses are as follows: July 23 to 28 at Sidford Tennis Club - 9-10am daily for the ages five to seven; July 23 to 28 – 10am to 11am daily for the ages of eight and nine; and August 13 to 18 at Sidmouth Tennis Club - 9-10am daily for the ages of five to eight years.

Anyone interested in signing up to the Quorn tennis tournament, or registering their child for a Tennis4Kids course, should contact Sue Wiltshire, who can be found on 07402 047011 or by email at

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