Some changes for 2018

Firstly, may I remind everyone that the discount for early payment of membership finishes on March 31st, and that full fees will be payable by members renewing from April. Please also look out for the very important check box to enable the club to contact you, which includes areas such as tennis teams and tournaments, coaching, social events as well as any safety issues arising. Please make sure you check that box which is there because of the new data protection laws about to come in. 

I did say in my previous newsletter that I would explain the rationale behind a few changes that we are introducing this season. As a club, we have to respond to members' wishes, take the lead at times, and avoid falling into the trap of "we've always done it that way". A number of our leading players found having the open tournament finals at the same time as the climax of the league season not helpful. Moving our open tournament finals to September gives our leading players more time to concentrate on our league teams, and an extended season lasting well through the summer and into the early autumn.

However, it was felt that it is important for the club to have a big July finals type day at the end of the summer term, and by moving the vets finals day to July, we will have a tournament running for some players in that May/June/July period. Of course, several of our vets are important players in our league teams, and might therefore have similar clashes to those experienced when the open tournament ran at this time. The vets tournament though has a smaller entry than the open, and so there won't be so many rounds of matches to fit in. This should free up more courts in May/June/July for social players, and for team practice. 

The open tournament finals in September, combined with handicap finals in October means that there should be plenty of fun competitive tennis for all levels throughout the summer and into autumn. The handicap tournament has seen ever increasing numbers in recent years, and so in response to that, the duration of the tournament is being extended, so that the inevitable pressure on courts in late September can be managed. 

The other change this year concerns teas. We had a very useful and heartfelt discussion following the formal part of the AGM, and the committee have decided upon a few changes reflecting evolving members' views, and changing times. Social tennis Saturdays are a significant part of the unique character of RLTC, but teas have had diminishing support over the past few years, despite some much appreciated work from Liz Barnes coordinating a wonderful band of volunteers who have prepared them expertly. Teas will start again on the opening day of the season (April 21st), but will only consist of tea and cake, (with sandwiches perhaps on a few big occasions). Due to lack of support during the prime holiday month of August, they will then be suspended for August itself and resumed on 1st September, unless of course any individuals want to arrange something in August maybe if the weather is particularly enticing. The end date of teas will be determined by the level of support, but one of the suggestions from the AGM was to shorten the tea season. Of course, having teas at all will depend upon having volunteers to prepare them, but it is hoped that only having to serve tea and cake will make that task significantly less time consuming and onerous.

As with any changes, not all will agree with them, and some will work better than others. I ask you all to bear with us as we try to adapt what we do as a club to move onwards. Of course, we will monitor these changes carefully, and consider what to do to improve things in the future. In the meantime, let us hope for some warm spring weather, and plenty of opportunities to hit a few yellow balls over the net!