Basford Lawn Tennis Club

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Basford hold court in superb year of tennis

BASFORD Lawn Tennis Club have been around for 135 years, but 2017 was a particularly successful year for the historic club.

For the first time in exactly 20 years, the A team were crowned City and Suburban Tennis League champions, losing just one of their 16 games last season.

Not to be outdone, the B team were also league winners, earning promotion from Division Two to put the two teams in the same division for this year's competition.

If that was not enough, the ladies team also earned promotion to the Premier Division of the Staffordshire Inter-Club Tennis League.

On an individual level, Basford junior Cameron Stevens represented the county for Staffordshire Under-12s, while A team captain and club treasurer Dave Egerton won an over-50s county knockout tournament and now is going to Spain to play in the European Over-50s tournament.

Now the club has been nominated in the Sport in the Community category at the Sentinel/City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year Awards by vice president and B team captain Josh Maughan.

He said: "We haven't had that success for a few years so it was fantastic for all three teams to win in the same year.

"We had a couple of new players come in and everything just came together.

"Normally Draycott win it every year, but we got a couple of crucial wins.

"Now we want the A team to try to win the league again, and we want the B team to stay in the top division, though that will be harder this year as they are splitting Division One, so four teams will be relegated instead of two.

"But we have the players to stay up - in fact, most of the B team are good enough to be playing in the A team, but the A team just has too many good players themselves."

The club was founded in 1883 on land at the rear of the Queens Hotel in Basford and then consisted of two hard courts. Unfortunately, these were situated very close to the Etruria marl hole, and in 1925 the courts disappeared.

New land was acquired on what was formerly known as Basford Park, four hard courts were laid and the club membership rose to more than 100.

Tennis legend Fred Perry twice played at the club, once in May 1936 when the then world champion played an exhibition match against Bunny Austin, and again in July 1949 against Dan Maskell.

Floodlights were installed in 1970 and in the 1980s, the Sentinel Cup tennis tournaments were regularly staged at Basford.

They have also developed talent, with Stoke-born tennis star Andrew Foster - who would go on to play eventual winner Pete Sampras for a place in the 1993 Wimbledon quarter-finals - beginning his career at the club.

Basford, which is also a major venue for the Newcastle Festival of Sport on Sunday, May 13, are looking for new members to join.

Anyone interested can join via the website, www.basfordltc.co.uk, email information@basfordltc.co.uk or call club coach Mike Armstrong on 07412 037774. "We haven't had that success for a few years so it was fantastic for all three teams to win in the same year."

The Sentinel, 22 March 2018
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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