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Prestbury Tennis Club has an interesting history and a very bright future

All Areas > Sport > Tennis

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 09:00

Members of Prestbury Tennis Club Members of Prestbury Tennis Club

Prestbury Playing Fields are set to undergo a bit of revamp in the early part of the summer.

There are plans for a new Daily Mile running track - “If you run round it three times you’ve run a mile,” said Prestbury Parish Council chairman John Payne – as well as a new floodlit multi-use games area with an activity wall along the outside.

The MUGA will be built next to the existing MUGA which in turn will have a new activity wall and playing surface.

The plans also include new outdoor gym equipment, which will also cater for people with mobility issues, and a car park, so there’s going to be plenty going on in the area in the coming weeks.

Prestbury Parish Council is using Section 106 funds to pay for the work which is due to start in May and will last for six to eight weeks.

It’s all pretty exciting news for anyone who lives in Prestbury, of course, but while there are clearly going to be a number of changes, one thing that won’t change is Prestbury Tennis Club which has occupied a prime site on the playing fields for many years.

“Yes, all the changes are quite exciting,” said Heather Soons, who has been Prestbury Tennis Club’s secretary for the past 10 years, “but I don’t think it will affect us, we’ll be able to play tennis just like we always do.”

That’s good news for the members at Prestbury Tennis Club – there are some 60 to 80 – who play on two tarmac courts all year round, come rain, wind or shine.

“We don’t have floodlights so we just play in the daytime in winter,” added Heather, “but we’re very lucky because when it rains the courts drain really well. It’s not slippery, the courts are well looked after.”

Prestbury Tennis Club has an interesting history. Tennis was first played at the playing fields in the years between the two world wars – there were three courts back then - and from the 1940s they were looked after by the parish council.

In the 1990s they fell into disrepair and one of the courts was demolished but in November 1997 a ‘new’ club were formed – they took over the running of the courts - and since then it’s fair to say the members have never looked back.

“We’re quite a small club but we’ve got a coach,” continued Heather. “Tom Jacobsen has been with us for about a year – he runs NE14 Tennis (Anyone for Tennis!) – and we’re very lucky to have him on board because he wants to encourage more youngsters to join the club. That’s what we all want.”

And while the new coach has clearly been a breath of fresh air – he coaches adults and juniors – his involvement has not been the only positive move made by the club in recent times.

“We joined the LTA in 2014,” said Heather. “That meant we could play in the leagues and we’ve now got a summer men’s league team, a summer women’s league team and a winter senior women’s league team.

“And I think we could be starting a junior team this summer as well.”

Heather is eligible to play for the two ladies’ teams which she also captains.

“We enjoy playing other teams throughout Gloucestershire, it’s a challenge. They stretch you and make you realise that you can play better than you thought you could!

“I enjoy trying to get better. Playing in the league helps you to improve, you’ve got to decide where to position the ball and try to find a winning shot.

“You’re never too old to change your game, you’ve got to be open-minded.”

The men’s team is captained by Paul Harris but while the competitive side is important at Prestbury it’s by no means the be-all and end-all for the club.

“We play a lot of social tennis, which is when members can just turn up and enjoy mixing in with other players” said Heather, who lives in Prestbury. “We have a good mixture of ages and abilities and the courts are very well used in the summer.

Heather learned to play tennis when she was at school – she was a pupil at Cheltenham Grammar School – and enjoys playing the sport just as much today and she did in years gone by. “I play several times a week these days as do many of our other members.”

“I’ve played tennis on and off all my life,” she said. “It’s a great sport. You’re out in the fresh air keeping fit and healthy. You feel so much better because of the exercise and I enjoy the company.”

Those sentiments are echoed by the club’s chairperson Victoria Losh, who took on the role about a year ago.

She joined the club five or six years ago and said: “I absolutely love it; I’ve made some really good friends. We play a lot and we play some good social tennis – it’s for all levels and ages.”

Victoria also plays in the ladies’ summer and winter teams and added: “We play in all weathers but at least when conditions gets really bad, we have somewhere to shelter.

“We’ve got our own little pavilion which we acquired in 2017, that’s been brilliant for us.

“Anyone is very welcome to come along and try us out, we’re a friendly little club and there are opportunities for beginners through to more experienced players.”

For further information, visit https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/PrestburyTennisClub

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