As I write this in early June, the weather is turning from several weeks of solid tennis-spoiling rain....
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Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club

Posted on July 8, 2006

This article was published in July 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

As I write this in early June, the weather is turning from several weeks of solid tennis-spoiling rain to some good old court-inducing sunshine. Out of interest, after the third week of non-stop rain and hail and the inevitably consequential hosepipe ban, I reluctantly took the advice of Three Valleys Water and invested in a water butt. It took four weeks to arrive due to 'excessive demand' for the Slimline version (a bit like me). By the time DHL turned up with it, we’d had another four weeks of downpours, and I was looking forward to enjoying seeing it fill to capacity within hours. As co-incidentally it had stopped raining the day it arrived, I ventured outside with instructions and a hammer, installed the thing using a rather nifty device to my downflow drainpipe, and returned indoors to await the next storm. What’s happened? Not a drop since. Eighty degrees and blue skies for over a week now. My butt’s as dry as a bone. A dormouse is using it as a sauna. I’ll have to hose it down to stop it cracking up. Oh I can’t, there’s a hosepipe ban. I’ll use the water from the water butt. Oh there’s none in it. Catch 22. I’ve been done.

Sorry back to tennis things. The sun was there shining brightly on the evening of 31st May for our ‘Play Tennis’ event. Over 60 people, half of them youngsters, came along to the courts to enjoy some shots and a spot of coaching from Nick Boys and other press-ganged willing volunteers like John Jones and Mike Abercrombie. Some sat and watched over a cup of tea (or at least that’s what we told Ross was in the cups), some brought their own picnics and chairs and made an evening of it, but everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted one of my deliciously tasty sausages or burgers made from the finest ingredients by Hines butchers, cooked to perfection over searing hot coals, served in a fresh bun or roll with a choice of fried onions and several accompanying sauces, presented in an England flag type napkin with a friendly smile from my lovely assistants Jane Hosey and Lorraine Stonelake. And all for only a pound you know. You couldn’t get a daytrip to Bangor for that these days. For the first time ever, we sold out! Fruitless cries of ‘more sausages Mr Chairman’ went unheeded. Overall it was an excellent evening which was a lot of fun, and has encouraged half a dozen new members to join our merry throng!

Last month we held an Indoor games night in the Village Hall which proved very popular by becoming more confusing as the evening wore on. One hundred people were divided into teams named after pubs and competed against one another in games such as shove ha’penny, skittles and bar skittles, Quoits, Bung Hole, and Roll a Penny to name a few. The committee, one of whom was stationed at each game as adjudicator, were trained and drilled on the rules of each game by Judy Venn, and the rules of the scoring system by Chairman Ross, which proved far more complicated than the games themselves. The affect of a pint or two on the adjudicators didn’t help the matter and by half time during the excellent fish and chip supper, there was much frantic running around by those committee members still able to run (or even walk) to try to determine which team was in which position. So we had a raffle to give us some more time to try and work it out. By the end of the evening it was only down to the Eurovision Song Contest type scoring system invented, installed and implemented by Mike Abercrombie (which took up more space than any of the games themselves) that enabled us to declare a winner. I’m afraid I can’t remember who it was (or any details of the scoring system) but we’ve had so much feedback on what a good evening it was, games, convivial atmosphere, confused committee, raffle prizes, food and all, that we must have got it right! Judy, Jan and Ross, all is forgiven, and let’s have another one soon (but with a slightly smaller scoreboard). Also can you ask if Carol Vorderman is free to pop along to help?

For any further information about the club, including when we get together for our social tennis sessions up at the School Lane courts, or our various activities, please call either Chairman Ross Bagni, Coach Nick Boys, or if they’re all out and I’m not hosing down my butt, me, Andy Cross.

Source: Focus, July 2006

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