Hoylake Tennis Club has had a great many reasons to celebrate in 2013. Not only did the popular Wirral club mark its 100th anniversary with an official lunch, tour and opportunity to play on the outside courts at Wimbledon, but the end of the playing season saw the Club win a historic clutch of local championship trophies.
Hoylake LTC currently fields four teams in the Wirral Tennis League (each playing in a different division). This season, each of the teams won its divisional championship – most notably Hoylake A, who won the First Division, known to be of an exceptionally high standard. The A team went on to consolidate their success by also winning the Wirral Tankard competition – essentially the Wirral League’s cup final.
As Club Captain Bob Taylor reveals, these results are an almost unheard of achievement for one club. “The Centenary has definitely served to focus our efforts,” he says.
“The team players have been newly ranked this year and an enthusiastic captain appointed to each team who also write a brief weekly summary of their team’s matches on our website. In this way the progress of the teams is publicised and the players exploits more widely appreciated by the Club’s membership.”
Growing and thriving – from seven to seventy!
Hoylake’s on-court’ activities are not confined to league tennis. Each year the Club runs so-called ‘American’ Tournaments, Family Tournaments and a Handicap tournament, each of which allows the wider membership to play not-too-serious competitive tennis. There is also provision for informal social tennis on a specific evening every week throughout the season well as on Sunday afternoons and evenings. HLTC sets great store on these activities through which new players become known, embryonic team players develop and players of different abilities (and from different generations) can play each other and later socialise at the bar in the club-house.
Junior tennis is greatly encouraged at Hoylake and the junior section is very strong. The Under 12 and Under 14’s teams were both Cheshire county champions this year, reflecting their natural ability as well as the excellent coaching staff at the club.
This year, naturally, many of HLTC’s social activities had a ‘centenary’ flavour; a centenary quiz night (events of 1913 side-by side with those of 2013) and a ‘Tea-and-Tennis’ afternoon (pictured) with wooden racquets and vintage dress.
The principal social event was a formal Centenary Ball held in a marquee in the Club’s grounds, the success of which matched the uniqueness of the occasion (appropriately, the current chairman, Clair Miller, is a grand-daughter of one of HLTC’s founders). The Club will conclude its centenary with a Christmas Dinner Dance at another significant local institution, the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Quite an end to quite a year!
Tennis in Hoylake 1913-2013
Hoylake Lawn Tennis Club was formed by a group of local residents, who rented the plot of land along Meols Drive (where the Club still stands), and officially purchasing it in 1935.
As its name implies, the Club’s tennis was played exclusively on grass courts. Games were enjoyed by a number of prominent sports-loving families. One of the Club’s early trustees was John Selwyn Lloyd. He went on to become our local MP and, later, Foreign Secretary [1955-60], Chancellor of the Exchequer [1960-62] and Speaker of the Commons [1971-6].
As the century progressed, demand for all-weather play led to the lawns’ progressive replacement by other playing surfaces. Today, HLTC enjoys eight excellent, well-maintained artificial turf courts.
“Floodlights will shortly be installed on three courts – their official inauguration is planned for later this year – making the playing facilities second to none,” says Bob Taylor, HLTC Captain.
The club-house, built in 1985, replaced the original wooden one which burned down. In recent years, this has also been extensively modified and modernised and is the focus for much of the club’s social activity. The club has roughly 200 senior members and 300 juniors, making it one of the most thriving and successful clubs on the Wirral.
For more information, please contact HLTC Captain, Bob Taylor on 07785923309.
[photos supplied of Centenary ‘ Tea and Tennis’, which marked the end of this year’s social playing season. Photographer: Carol Tinsley]