First this month, a date for your diary. Saturday 16th June. Mark it in now, as that's when we'll be....
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Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club

Posted on April 9, 2007

This article was published in April 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis ClubFirst this month, a date for your diary. Saturday 16th June. Mark it in now, as that's when we'll be holding our Play Tennis Day at the School Lane courts. As part of the Lawn Tennis Association promotion to encourage more people to take up the sport, we'll be starting off around midday with free playing and coaching for everyone, with special sessions for the youngsters, and you don't even need your own racquet as we can lend you one! There'll be games and competitions, tennis clothing and equipment for sale, the ubiquitous tasty BBQ, and as I write we are in secret negotiations with Chiltern Radio to come along! We'll keep you informed on that one, as they haven't answered my e-mail yet! Plus, our local MP Andrew Selous will attend from midday for 45 minutes to try his hand at tennis against some lucky volunteers, and to officially open our resurfaced courts. Finally, there's half price membership for anyone who joins on the day! So please do come up and join us for an hour or two, and enjoy some good company, hopefully some sunshine, (it's bound to be typically English summer weather, i.e. rainy with sunny intervals, or sunny with rainy intervals), a burger or two and some gentle exercise on the tennis courts (maybe have that burger afterwards...). I'll have to make sure they're properly cooked - I could go to the tower for attempting to poison a Member of Parliament.

The onset of spring has thrown me a challenge. Over the previous few months, on a Sunday morning I've been able to peek through my bedroom curtains and persuade myself that it's either too wet / cold / foggy / dark / slippery or even too cloudy to go up to our Sunday morning social tennis sessions. This has given me the perfect excuse to dive back under my duvet and begin the traditional ritual of 'discussing' with my wife who's turn it is to get the coffee. I normally lose, and such were my expectations last Sunday when I nosed through the window at about 9am. Quelle Horreur, as they say in Germany. The sun was shining brightly. Not a cloud in the sky. The birds were singing and next door's cat was sunbathing on top of the guinea-pig hutch. I was all out of excuses, it was now or never. I slipped into my tennis shorts (which once again had shrunk over the winter months), donned my XXL t-shirt, which I really should have put in for washing after my last appearance on court back in September, collected my racquet from the back of the shed where it had been thrown in disgust after that last defeat, and drove to the courts to find that 12 other people had had the same idea. There was no getting out of it; I was going to have to play some tennis.

I must admit to being a tad rusty; in fact 12 gallons of WD40 wouldn't have helped me much, but at least I could still hit the ball most of the time. My serving was, lets say, unique, but not as weird as my first opponent Martin Clark, who's self-taught technique caused the ball to travel three sides of a square before it finally plopped down on my side of the court. I think it was all that running around back and forth, left and right, trying to return his serve that set off the alarm on my heart monitor, whereupon I decided that a nice sit down was called for, whilst everyone else discussed the next pairings for the subsequent set. I began to wish I hadn't left my iron lung at home. By a quirky chance of good fortune I was paired with a lady called Claire, whose day job is a paramedic.

I felt a wave of relaxation drift over me as I served off in the next game knowing that if I did keel over at any point then at least there was help close by; I was sure she'd have at least a defibrillator in her tennis bag, plus a wide variety of additional highly technical life-saving equipment, and probably knew a very quick way to the L&D although how she'd have got me in the back of her sports car I'm not sure.

Fortunately I saw out the rest of the morning without incident, and can thoroughly recommend our Sunday sessions as a way to blow away those winter cobwebs. If I can survive it, then so can you!

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 giving myself a medical, me, Andy Cross.

Source: Focus, April 2007

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