Courts Update – November 2018
Resurfacing Courts 7-9 and the Mini-zone
In September 2017 the Management Committee approved the formation of a small sub-committee to investigate the options for re-surfacing Courts 7, 8, 9 and the Mini-zone. The sub-committee was duly constituted under the leadership of the Men’s Team Captain – Gareth Jackson and included Nigel Mann, Claire Roberts and Graham Jones. Other club members were engaged as part of the exercise to visit and play on other surfaces at other clubs.
This is the report of that sub-committee and the outcome of the Committee Meeting held on 2nd October 2018.
‘The sub-committee initially excluded acrylic (Caversham, Windsor indoor), Synthetic Grass, Grass, Clay and Porous Acrylic (current 7-9) surfaces.
Next we sent out surveys to all adult members and a separate junior survey. The results of both had very similar results with members of all abilities preferring our macadam courts (courts 1-3) to the Poraflex (courts 4-6) in both the dry and when wet. Again across adults/juniors and all abilities the most popular other surface played on was artificial clay (similar speed & cushioning to the porous acrylic on 7-9 now), though some juniors also cited Astroturf. In the general comments, several answers stated that “members at other clubs that had laid artificial clay courts were very happy or it was now a favourite surface”.
The sub-committee agreed a short list of four court surfaces – Macadam, Poraflex, Artificial Clay and Tiger turf (a high quality Astroturf). We then arranged visits (group of eight players of varying abilities) to Windsor LTC to play on their Poraflex courts and their artificial clay and another visit to Wooburn Green TC to play on their Tiger turf.
At Windsor everyone commented how much better their Poraflex played, consistent bounce height and speed, but many also commented that we can’t risk getting our style again (Windsor courts were laid nearly two years after those at MLTC). Everyone thought the artificial clay played well, with most players being happy with the small amount of “slide” that the surface allows. Everyone had a go at dragging the courts and it was noticeable that no-one had “red” socks (unlike real clay).
At Wooburn, everyone felt the courts played OK, but a lot of comments about “not at my club”, don’t want to play on it and sand came up very quickly (maintenance and getting into shoes).
The sub-committee reported to the full committee with a recommendation for either artificial clay or macadam. Two items to note for the decision were that the installation & maintenance costs of the two surfaces are similar, that we know of many clubs (small to large) laying artificial clay as a new surface, with macadam being laid only to resurface existing macadam courts.
The full committee voted to lay artificial clay and so a request for final quotation has been sent out to three suppliers, with a schedule to place an order by end of November. It is expected that the courts can be laid in early 2019, as the installation will not be “summer weather” dependent and the surface on courts 7-9 is deteriorating rapidly.’
Incorporation – Open Evening Monday 12th November
We held an Open Evening in the Clubhouse on Monday 12th November, it was an opportunity for Members to come and ask about how our Club proposes to change from an Unincorporated Association to a Company Limited by Guarantee, and why the Committee believes it’s essential to make this change.
A representative from our legal advisers – Field Seymour Parkes – was present together with members of the Management Committee and the Incorporation Working Group.
A summary of the meeting will be posted here shortly, the ‘Question and Answer’ page can be viewed by following this link.
Further information and links to both the new constitution documents proposed for MLTC Ltd. together with a range of explanatory material can all be found on the MLTC INCORPORATION NEWS page.
Website and e-mail outage
The MLTC e-mail system and website went down on or around 13th April and full service wasn’t reinstated until late afternoon on Thursday 19th April. The exact cause is unclear but Tsohost, who provide these facilities for MLTC, have acknowledged that problems occurred in the early hours of 19th April; they have given assurances that plans are in place to prevent anything similar from happening in the future.
In terms of e-mail, the problem has affected all [name]@mltc.co.uk e-mail accounts and everyone who uses these accounts is currently reviewing and re-sending all outbound mail between these dates.
Unfortunately we have no way of identifying any missing inbound mail so we are asking our members to review/resend any mail they have sent to any of these addresses during this period.
Please note that this includes all mail sent to the Club Administrator, Karen, using the email@example.com address.
Please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Wimbledon Tickets Ballot – 2019
Given the timescales imposed by the LTA and the proximity to timings associated with the Incorporation proposal and the fundamental changes this brings, the Committee has decided that the LTA should once again manage the ballot this year.
The Club has been allocated 53 pairs of tickets this year and the LTA will run a random ballot on Saturday 4th May; the LTA will notify each successful member directly and manage the ticket payment and distribution process.
Members who are successful in the ballot must be accept and pay for their tickets within 14 days of their notification.
Please note that the Club has absolutely no involvement in the allocation process – if you are successful in the ballot but decline the tickets the LTA will randomly re-allocate them to another member who opted-in to the ballot, this process will be repeated until the LTA deadline of 25th May. If you do not respond to the LTA and/or do not pay for the tickets before the deadline they will re-allocated in the Public Ballot – i.e. they will not benefit a member of MLTC.
To enter the LTA ballot for tickets:
- You must have ‘opted-in’ to the Wimbledon Ballot via the LTA website.
- Your BTM number must be associated with MLTC, and be shown by the LTA as being eligible for the ballot, by no later than 20th April 2019.
- You must have paid your Club Subscription for the 2019 season in full. It is down to the individual Club Member/BTM to check their membership status and e-mail contact details with LTA and to ensure that they are eligible to enter the ballot for one of the tickets allocated to MLTC. Note that the LTA has specific rules concerning individuals under the age of 16 on the date of the ballot. To enter the ballot these members:
- Must be over the age of 9 on the date of the LTA Ballot – i.e. 21st April 2019.
- Must have the consent of their parent/guardian to enter the Ballot. Ballot. An individual member cannot win more than one ticket, although in the case of families, each family member who satisfies the entry criteria has an equal chance of winning a ticket. Winners. The individual winning member is responsible for paying for their ticket: payment is made on-line directly to the LTA, the club has no involvement. 1. The parent/guardian purchases the tickets.
- 2. The parent/guardian attends The Championships with them.
- If the winning member is under the age of 16 it is a condition of the LTA that:
- The winning member must use the ticket for themselves together with a guest, who does not have to be a member of the club nor a BTM. Tickets are not transferrable and must not be resold
- All tickets will be drawn at random by the LTA on 4th May, each ticket is for a pair of seats at The Championships, Wimbledon, 1st – 14th July 2019.
Hon Secretary/Ballot Administrator
Courts and Grounds update – December 2017
Starting this week, 11th December 2017, the Council will be cutting back the scrubs, bushes and branches on the tennis club’s boundary with the cemetery around Courts 1 to 3 and the Car Park. This work is required because, over the years, our boundary fence (which lies a little distance back from the court chain link fencing), has become completely overgrown allowing shrubs and their roots to encroach into our land from the cemetery. Not only is this vegetation growing up and damaging the court fencing, in some areas its roots have also grown beneath the courts and we obviously seek to prevent them damaging the playing surface.
RBWM are undertaking this work at no cost to MLTC.
Once RBWM have completed the clearance we will replace what little remains of the existing metal railing fence with a new, one metre high post and tension wire fence; we will undertake this work when the weather is more benign – probably in the Spring.
We will evaluate the existing perimeter chain link fencing behind Courts 1 to 3 once the vegetation has been cleared, we can then determine if, and what type, of screening material might be required.
In July 2018, and at no cost to MLTC, the Contractor which laid the macadam surface on Courts 1 to 3 in 2015 will overlay the courts with new macadam. This is because some of the smaller macadam stones are breaking up (fretting) and this has affected the painted surface. The problem has come to light on other macadam sports surfaces and has been the subject of representations by the LTA and others to the Industry Trade Bodies; it has been caused by the aggregate suppliers use of softer mined natural stone.
Once these courts have been resurfaced and allowed to cure they will be repainted – again at no cost to MLTC. Members should, however note that reddish colour ‘iron staining’ may still occur – this is an acceptable issue and will appear on most painted macadam surfaces.
It is with great sadness that we advise members of the passing of Pam.
Pam had been a member of this club since she was 21. Pam joined as a “B” member shortly after MLTC instigated a “B” section to allow people with no tennis experience to join our club. Pam always recalled being initially ignored by “A” members who only wished to play with those who could play a decent game. How things changed! Within a very short time Pam had progressed into our Ladies 1st team and won her first club Ladies Singles title in 1968 at the age of 25. Between that win in 1968 and 1979 Pam went on to win the Ladies Singles ten times. She also won many Ladies Doubles and Mixed Doubles titles during that time, and well into the eighties. Pam was selected to play for Berkshire at County Week and for a couple of years was proud to captain the side. One of her proudest playing memories was to play in Division 2 for Berkshire Ladies against Kent who had been relegated from Division 1. In that match Pam played against a pair that included Virginia Wade.
Pam also served MLTC as Hon. Secretary and later became a Trustee of the club, a position she held until her death.
Prior to tennis Pam played in goal for Maidenhead Ladies Hockey Club. Pam was also a very keen table tennis player. In the days before our old clubhouse burned down the club had six teams in the Maidenhead and District Table Tennis League and Pam ran the Ladies team. Pam represented Maidenhead Town team on numerous occasions. Her table tennis career went on far longer than her lawn tennis career as she was still playing league table tennis until recently and competed in many Veteran Events.
In essence Pam will be remembered as a great person to play with and against, always full of fun and willing to join in and help with anything at the club. She will be very much missed by all who knew her.
Details of the funeral may be found on the Noticeboard in the Clubhouse.
We monitor court bookings/usage and do our very best to manage Court Allocation and balance the frequently conflicting requirements of the various sections of our membership. This is never an easy task and we rely on our members to follow the booking rules and understand that they are there for the benefit of everyone.
We recently changed the court booking rules to allow for 2 hour bookings on weekday afternoons as many players, particularly those playing doubles, like to book 2 hour slots. We restricted the changes to weekday afternoons as those are the least busy times in terms of court usage. Mornings and evenings are extremely popular and we need to make sure all members have a chance to play without any one group monopolising popular booking times.
There are, however, a small number of people who are abusing the system and refusing to follow the rules. There are two solutions to this problem:
- Remove the booking slots that exceed the 1.5 hour limit
- Remove booking rights from repeat offenders.
In fairness to the demands of the wider membership and the administrative headache involved with the first option, we have decided to pursue the second option.
Henceforth, should a member or group of members take it upon themselves to flout the court booking rules that entire group will have their booking rights removed.
Fair weather, Summer and the traditional tennis season is (theoretically) upon us; our courts will become busier so please – respect our booking rules and, above all – enjoy your tennis!
Safeguarding & Child Protection
Many of you will have seen the news items about issues of child protection within sport and will rightly be asking how the Club is tackling this. If you are a BTM you will also have received an e-mail directly from the LTA.
As a Club we are fully committed to Safeguarding and Protecting Children, whether they are Members of our Club or Visitors.
All our coaches are LTA Accredited which ensures that they have received appropriate training, they are subject to regular Disclosure and Barring Service (‘DBS’) checks and their individual accreditations are checked and renewed every year.
Our Club Administrator, Karen Kirtland, is the named Welfare Officer and should be the first point of contact for anyone with any concerns. Karen is also subject to the same DBS checks and has, additionally, received appropriate training in Safeguarding.
Our elected Junior Representative on the Committee, Carolyn Pocock, has also undergone DBS checks and received training in Safeguarding.
As a Club we are committed to openness and transparency, none of our procedures are new or have been hastily put in place in light of recent events – they have been existent for many years and the subject of regular review by Karen and, before that, Keith Ashby.
Our procedures are published on the Noticeboard and there’s a prominent, comprehensive Safeguarding Information Folder in the lobby; key documents are published on our website and can be accessed by following the links on the ‘ABOUT > IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS’ page – I would encourage you to read them. In addition the LTA provide a valuable resource of information which can be accessed through:
Finally, we believe in audit and at the December 2016 Committee Meeting we tasked our President, Alan Frampton and Vice President, Dave Scarbrough to undertake an independent review of all our process and procedures. This exercise was completed and their full report may be viewed on the ‘Important Information for Members’ page.
Our car park is small and spaces are shorter than normal and narrow, it is intended for use by Members only and we ask that visitors park along All Saints Avenue.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND CONSIDERATE ! Our car park is unsuitable for large/long cars, SUV’s, people carriers and similar vehicles. If your vehicle is wider than 1.9 metres (6 feet and a bit in old money, or think BMW 3 series) then please park along All Saints Avenue.
The Council have painted white lines either side of the entrance to the car park but their dimensions are limited by local by-laws – if vehicles are parked close to the limit, visibility is restricted so please do take great care when driving out of the car park. Equally, when parking on All Saints Avenue please try to leave a 2 metre gap between the end of your vehicle and the white line.
Injury and Loss of Property etc.
Tennis is a wonderful sport and we want to make sure that you enjoy it. However, it’s a game which does involve physical exertion and whilst it’s a great way to maintain fitness, players should be aware of their own abilities and anything that may affect playing safely.
Our courts and grounds are under regular maintenance schedules, but at times there may be an uneven surface here or there. If you are aware of any issues on the courts or in the grounds please inform a member of the committee as soon as possible. It is your decision whether you and the courts are in a playable condition, if you are in any doubt you should not play.
Please be aware of your surroundings and do remember to wear the correct footwear on our courts.
We would draw your attention to our Club Rules which state that the Club shall not be responsible for any loss, damage or injury nor can it accept any associated liability.
Members and Visitors are also reminded that they leave vehicles in the Club car park entirely at their own risk and the club accepts no responsibility for any damage howsoever that may be caused.