Our Man in West­min­ster

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - New Arrivals -

As we swel­ter in the heat­wave and en­joy our sec­ond ‘Great Sum­mer of Sport’ in a row, my thoughts turn to ten­nis. Not just Andy Mur­ray but the equally im­por­tant is­sue of how to nur­ture the game’s grass­roots in our lo­cal area.

I have a par­tic­u­lar per­sonal in­ter­est in this be­cause, al­though I love many sports, ten­nis is the one I was best at in my youth, play­ing to a rea­son­able level.

So I al­ways en­joy my vis­its to Wye Ten­nis Club, which over the past 10 years has been a model of how to grow an ex­cel­lent sports fa­cil­ity in a small place.

The cel­e­bra­tion last Sun­day was twofold. We were of­fi­cially open­ing a new fifth court, which will al­low the club to meet the ever-grow­ing de­mand and it was re­ceiv­ing an award from Wye Parish Coun­cil for its com­mu­nity work.

That award is well-de­served. Even in a place like Wye, which has a re­fresh­ingly large num­ber of well-sup­ported lo­cal bod­ies, the ten­nis club stands out as am­bi­tious and suc­cess­ful.

Not only does it have sev­eral hun­dred adult mem­bers, but it has es­tab­lished a healthy re­la­tion­ship with the pri­mary school en­abling pupils to have weekly coach­ing ses­sions. This in turn means that the school is pro­duc­ing win­ners in Ken­twide tour­na­ments, where it comes up against much big­ger schools.

With the sup­port of the Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion and oth­ers, Wye Ten­nis Club is big­ger and bet­ter than ever be­fore, and has be­come a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence which I hope we can re­peat in other small clubs.

This is a cheer­ful thought on which this col­umn will re­tire for a few weeks for its sum­mer break. With an ex­ten­sive book list to hand and a fer­vent wish for no cri­sis to in­trude, I will be back in a few weeks. Have a good sum­mer.

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