11th Feb. 10

Herne Bay tennis club have had a stop-start winter season due to the appalling weather conditions we have been suffering since the autumn. Initially persistent rain caused matches to be postponed or curtailed and then the snow came and totally wiped-out any chance of outdoor tennis. Luckily since February the weather has improved enough for all the scheduled Kent League matches to have been played. The ladies 1st team have now played 2 matches and won them both by a narrow margin. In their 1st Division match away against Sundridge Park 1 they won by a set with both pairs beating the opposition’s 2nd pair and losing to their 1st The Bay pairing of Louise Tucker/Anne Gibbs took a set off the Sundridge Park 1st pair to win the match. Gill Dickey/Debbie Holden were the other pair. In their other match Knoll Orpington were the opposition but they could only field one pair, who won both rubbers but couldn’t prevent Herne Bay winning by 12 games. The Ladies 2nd team have completed 3 of their division 4 matches with one win and 2 defeats. Their win was a rare triumph against any Tunbridge Wells team and they won 3-1 against their 4th team. Sarah Pout/Denise Parrett won 2 rubbers and Sue Toye/Diana High won one and lost one in a match tie-break. The men’s teams have also managed to play some matches with the 1st team currently holding a 100% record in division 2 for their 2 matches. They also beat a Tunbridge Wells team (their 2nd) by a set and then defeated David Lloyd, Beckenham 1 3-1 in a match that turned out to be a marathon for the Bay 1st pair of Graham Miles/Martin Beckley. They spent over 2hours beating the opposition’s 1st pair in 3 sets and then also took 3 sets to beat the 2nd pair, meanwhile Peter Elsden/Ian Cooke disposed of the 2nd pair quickly but were so cold after their long wait to play the 1st pair , they lost rapidly. The mens 2nd and 3rd teams have struggled in divisions 4 and 8 and have yet to win a match. Mens 3 did have a very close match against Sevenoaks 4 on their new clay courts. The sprightly pairing of Lionel Hoskins/Peter Grimwood, with a combined age just short of 150 years, won one rubber convincingly against much younger opposition and were unlucky not to clinch the match on games. Unfortunately our other pair dropped a set during their defeat of the 2nd pair and hence the match was lost by a set.

The matches involving Herne Bay mixed teams have also progressed slowly with mixed 1 only playing once in division 1 in 5 months. This was a 3-1 win at home against Knoll Orpington 1 with Gibbs/Elsden winning 2 rubbers and Beckley/Tucker one. The mixed 2nd team have played 2 matches in division 3 but lost them both and the 3rd team have played 2 in division 5 and won one. The match they won was at home to Bromley LTC IV and they only played one round before the rain made continuing impossible. The result at that point was that Herne Bay won by 3 games since they were tied at one rubber all. The team was Chris Hanson/Holden and Nick Wibberley/Toye who won their rubber.

In the veteran leagues the mens over 45 team have won one match and lost one in division 1. Their win came against Knoll, Orpington by a set with both pairs, Beckley/Keith Clark and Miles/Cooke both beating the 2nd pair and Beckley/Clark taking a set off the 1st pair. The ladies over 40’s team also have the same record in division 1 with 1 win and 1 defeat. They lost to Bexley by 4 games with Gibbs/Pout winning both rubbers and then followed up with a 4-0 win away to Crescent at Sidcup. The team was Gibbs/Dickey and Pout/Parrett. In the older age groups, the newly formed ladies over 60’s team beat Blackheath by 3 rubbers to one but lost to Bearsted 4-0. The team for both matches was Pout/High and Mary Gibbon/Mary Haldin. The mens over 60’s team played their toughest match 1st away to Canterbury and lost by 4 games after being level at 2 rubbers all. Gary Sims/Clark won both their rubbers but Hoskins/Brian Cooper were unable to take a set on the fast Canterbury courts. In their other 2 matches they have been successful without dropping a set. Finally Herne Bay now have an over 70’s men’s team and in the 2 matches they have played they have won 3-1. The team comprises the regular pairing of Hoskins/Grimwood and then Dave Clements with either Cyril Richards or John High. The biggest problems facing the teams in this league are injury or sometimes death and the team have already had 2 clubs concede their matches because they no longer have 4 members over 70 able to play tennis – even so it is an inspiration to other members that players can still be playing competitively in their 70’s and long may it continue.