Members toast club centenary

PUBLISHED: 12:09 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

More than 300 members and visitors were at Letchworth Tennis Club s centenary celebrations. A host of activities led by club manager Abbie Lench and the club s team of coaches kept the partygoers entertained. Alongside court activities including Fastest S

More than 300 members and visitors were at Letchworth Tennis Club's centenary celebrations.

A host of activities led by club manager Abbie Lench and the club's team of coaches kept the partygoers entertained.

Alongside court activities including Fastest Serve and Beat the Coach competitions, were a bouncy castle and face painting for the kids and an ironman competition in the club's new gym.

Gym manager Adam Newbury then kept everyone happy late into the evening with his disco in the club's bar area.

Club chairman Neil Phoenix said: "The centenary day celebrations were a splendid tribute to the club's achievement in not just lasting 100 years but also to its transition into a top-class sporting facility for the local community."

The club's proud history was celebrated last year at an exhibition at the town's museum commemorating a century of sport in the town.

From its humble beginnings as a grass court tennis club at Paddock Close in the town, the club has grown into a multi-sport facility including 10 tennis courts, squash and badminton courts and a brand new gym.

P Several players based at Letchworth enjoyed a successful summer of competition.

Ten-year-old Josh Sapwell won the 10U singles at the Solihull International Junior Tournament in July, the country's top annual junior national tennis event for juniors aged 10 and under.

He belongs to the New Breed Academy, a full-time programme recently launched at the club under coaches Neil Claxton, Wayne Dumpleton and Steve Shea.

Rebecca Llewellyn has jumped up the senior world ranking list to 280, a rise of almost 200 places in one year. Rebecca has headed off to Spain this week to compete in the first of a series of five $25,000 professional tournaments.

Anneka and Sophie Watts qualified for the 12U national finals in Bournemouth in August, with Anneka winning one round in the main draw before losing to top seed Jessica Ren. Sophie met third seed Leah Cox from Wales in the opening round.

The sisters also played each other in the final of the Cambridgeshire county closed tournament at the end of August.

Harry Boyle won the Bedfordshire 10U County Championships at Bedford in August.

Toby Nicholson finished first in the Hertfordshire Green Grand Prix for players 10 and under, with Julian Farthing coming third in the same competition. Amy Draper came second and Sarah Jones fifth in the same competition for girls.

The club's head performance coach, Steve Shea, said: "It is fantastic to see the club's players' hard work paying off.

"We are committed to maintaining a top-class training environment to help all our juniors, not just the top players, fulfil their ambitions and become better players and people."

Among the seniors, Richard Staff became National Police Singles Champion and will represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Monte Carlo next year.

Club coaches Jerry Rose and John Garland reached the final of the South of England Championships in the over-35 doubles age group, losing to GB players Nick Fulwood and Chris Hearn.

Rose also reached the quarter-finals at the National Veterans' Grass Court Championships in the over-40 age group at Wimbledon in August.

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