February Newsletter

February Newsletter

February was another busy month at Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club featuring the following events;
• Pancake day
• Holiday Camps. Our Easter Holiday Camps are now open for booking at; https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/everypoint/Coaching/Camps
• February Quiz with Baggers
• Staffordshire Tennis County Matchplay
• JDA (Julian Dukes Agencies) Racketball Club Championships
• WLTSC Member Survey
• touchtennis tournament hosted by Clayton Edge

Another superb month at WLTSC.
“Keep healthy, play sport, make friends”

Staffordshire Championships A Big Success

Staffordshire Championships A Big Success

The cream of the county’s tennis talent descended on Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club for the annual Staffordshire Championships, which came to an exciting conclusion at the weekend.

Over 100 competitors took part in 26 different events during the week-long event, which came to an end with Saturday’s Finals Day and a host of great tennis in front of a sizeable crowd.

“It went really well and we had a successful week with lots of really good matches,” said tournament organiser, and WLTSC coach, Max Thomson, who worked with experienced tournament referee Ron Allan.

“There were also some good results from people from Wolverhampton but the main thing is that everyone enjoyed themselves and enjoyed their tennis.

“Ron did a great job and it was nice for the club to host the event and also see so many parents and families come and support the younger players.”

On court, it was a good Finals Day for Tom Welsh, also a WLTSC coach, who won both the Men’s Singles – defeating Henry Parry – and then linking up with Parry to claim the Men’s Doubles against Jamie Crothers and Allan Pengelly.

And that makes it 15 singles games unbeaten for Welsh, who had previously won the Club Championships at WLTSC and also events at Sutton Coldfield and Tipton.

“This is the fourth year I have managed to win the doubles, this time with Harry but previously with Jake Lawley, but it’s my first singles,” he said.

“I’m playing well at the moment, and it was a good week.

“Entries dropped a bit last year, so it was great to see so many people back and some really competitive tennis particularly on Finals Day.”

The Open Women’s Singles event was won by Alice Jayne Dudley, with Amy Lees runner-up, and the Doubles by Dudley and Emily Southall.

Southall teamed up with Gregg Spooner to win the Open Mixed Doubles.

Another WLTSC member who enjoyed an excellent week was Sol Shahar, who claimed the Under-16s title by beating Max Walker, the Under-18s doubles by teaming up with Henry Searle to defeat Ross Fletcher and Rohan Thawait, and reached the semi-finals of the Under-18 singles.

“I’m happy with how I played this week and delighted to win a couple of the tournaments and get to a semi-final in the other,” said Shahar.

“There have been a few new faces at the tournament and it is always good to play and test yourselves against different people.”

Other notable winners among the juniors were Max Walker, who won Under-14s boys singles and doubles, and Anna Coghlan, who won Under-14s girls singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

At the other end of the age spectrum, WLTSC’s Operations Manager Marc Hughes, who had only won one county title since Under-18 level, won the Over-45s Men’s event by defeating club colleague Robin Chipperfield in the final.

Marc said:  “It was the Hereford and Worcestershire Under-18s which I won, and then the Staffordshire Veterans a few years later in 2017, so it’s always nice to win another county title!

“On a more important note we have all been delighted to have hosted another fantastic tournament this week, from the organisation led by Max and Ron, to our members coming down in large numbers to support and enjoy the tennis.

“As a club we really enjoy welcoming the top talent from across Staffordshire, and look forward to hosting the tournament again in the future.”

For Allan, who referees at numerous tournaments across Staffordshire, it was also an enjoyable week.

“The tournament has gone very well and the behaviour and the tennis has been good,” he said.

“It has been competitive but played in the right spirit as it is always important that everyone is able to enjoy fair play.

“I only keep doing these tournaments because I really enjoy it and this has been no exception.

“The club and the members here have been brilliant in allowing us to host the tournament and use the courts  and I have enjoyed working with Max who has done a fantastic job.”

Clive Paddison, Staffordshire LTA’s treasurer, was among the spectators on Finals Day and was very impressed with what he saw.

“I always love to come and watch these events, and it never ceases to amaze me how brilliant the standard is,” he said.

“I was watching the Men’s Doubles Final, which was very impressive, as was the Under-14s Boys Doubles on the next court.

“I like the way they are all very competitive but also friends with each other and appreciate each other.

“It is a good set-up at the club to host the event, and I know it struggled a bit last year but has now been really invigorated.

“We are really pleased with how it has gone this year and are glad that the club are happy as well.

“It is a very important week for us – the championships of the county – and it is important that we have a good quality event which we have enjoyed this year.”



A Night Of Nostalgia

A Night Of Nostalgia

A memorable and nostalgic night was had by all as Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club marked the 80thanniversary of the return to the current site with a celebratory dinner on Saturday night.

The club were delighted to welcome three special guests to the club to mark the anniversary celebration, five-times Grand Slam doubles champion Frew McMillan, another former top player in Ted Beards, and former UK squash number one Anna Bullock (nee Craven Smith).

Club President Ron Stevenson was Master of Ceremonies for the night, Rod Willetts delivered a presentation about his ongoing work to compile a history of the club (Click here for more details), and Frew himself spoke about his illustrious career to the 80 assembled guests.

“Frew delivered some tremendous stories about his tennis partners and rivals, and revealed a connection to Wolverhampton which was most surprising,” said Rod.

“He was actually awarded a Doctrine of the City (by the University of Wolverhampton) ten years ago.

“He also did a Question & Answer session for guests which was extremely interesting, including the question of why he was one of the first two-handed players.

“’Because I used my mother’s full-size racket which was a bit heavy for a five-year-old’ was the response.

“Overall the evening was a great success.”

Frew, who won the top tournament at WLTSC in 1962. 1963 and 1970, was delighted to catch up again with former friendly foe Ted, who also made it to Wimbledon in his playing days.

Frew, who attended the evening with wife Sally, has since contacted Ron to pass on his appreciation.

“We greatly enjoyed ourselves,” he said.

“It was a treat for me to revisit the scene of my playing days and  I could not quite comprehend the huge expansion of the Club. Most impressive!

“We wish you and your Club the very best of good fortune in your attempts to further enrich Newbridge.”

At the end of the night Frew and Sally were presented with gifts to mark the occasion by WLTSC chairman John Hollingsworth.

*Photos from the evening, taken by an Express & Star photographer, will appear in a future edition of the Wolverhampton Magazine.

Time To Mark History At Special Anniversary

Time To Mark History At Special Anniversary

A popular sports club in Wolverhampton is welcoming Grand Slam tennis champion Frew McMillan to help mark a special 80th anniversary taking place this weekend.

The Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club is holding an anniversary dinner, with special guests including the five-times doubles Grand Slam champion, who played – and won – several tournaments at the club during its history.

The club is marking 80 years on its present site, having started out in 1885 on the premises, moved to Albert Road in 1913, before purchasing the ‘Neville Lodge’ building and returning in 1938.

Saturday night’s event is part of an overall celebration of the 80th anniversary, including long-serving club member Rod Willetts producing a history of WLTSC from its inception to the present day.

“There is a gang of us who play racketball on a Monday and Friday night and have a pint in the bar afterwards,” says Rod, who has been a member at WLTSC for 42 years.

“One of the guys Roger Malpas, who has since been helping me with the project, was asking if anyone had ever done a history of the club and that sparked my interest.

“We found some boxes of minutes, including one which had been brought in by the family of the former secretary Mike Tomlinson, and the information blew my mind.

“There were minutes books all the way from the year 1905 to the present day – all in beautifully kept books and beautifully written in italics.

“Roger and myself have been going through those books and I have also been up to Wolverhampton Archives, where I have found some fantastic photographs.

“It is very time consuming but has been great fun and amazing to see how the club has progressed through the years.

“The idea now is to turn the work and the research into some form of publication to mark this anniversary and the club’s history to date.”

Rod has discovered there were three main reasons why the club moved back to Newbridge Crescent from the 12-court site on Albert Road eight decades ago.

The lack of parking at their previous home, the need for a venue for more ‘winter’ sports, and a more substantial property, with Neville Lodge being purchased for £2,000.

And so it was that the new and current home not only housed tennis courts at the start, but also two squash courts and separate rooms for billiards, table tennis and cards.

WLTSC also hosted a top class tennis tournament over the years which included ranking points towards events such as Wimbledon, and attracted competitors from as far afield as South Africa and Australia.

It was that event which McMillan won on three separate occasions, in 1962, 1963 and 1970, and why he is delighted to be returning this weekend, along with other guests including former British number one squash player Anna Bullock (nee Craven Smith) and another top tennis player in Ted Beards.

“We are delighted that Frew and all of our guests will be joining us and are looking forward to a nostalgic night,” added Rod.



Ladies Loving Their Squash

Ladies Loving Their Squash

This week is Women’s Squash Week across the country, and therefore no better time to shine a light on some of the ladies who enjoy playing the game, and to a high standard, at WLTSC.

And in particular two who boast a combined 84 years of taking to the court, and who last weekend took part in the West of England Masters on home soil.

Cathy Grinsell and Jane Hatton are well versed in league squash having both turned out for WLTSC in the Shropshire League, and many other leagues in the past as well.

Entering the Masters was perhaps motivated partly by the event taking place so close to home, but both enjoyed the experience, with Cathy finishing the round robin tournament as runner up.

A great achievement for a player who first set out playing the sport over four decades ago!

“I first played at the age of maybe 22 or 23, when I was working at Goodyear, and they built a sports centre with a squash court,” Cathy recalls.

“Quite a lot of us started playing and I ended up captaining the ladies’ team.

“It all progressed from there and I have played in many different leagues, joining here at Wolverhampton about 18 years ago.

“I remember the day I joined – I became a member at 5pm and was playing my first match for the club at 7pm!

“I’m 62 now, and am still playing a lot of squash, three or four times a week, and still taking on a lot of the young men…and beating them!

“We are fortunate here to have quite a strong female contingent of squash players, but it would be good to get some more youngsters coming through.

“Both my daughters play – they have been brought up on it! – and for me it is the best game in the world!”

Jane is also hugely experienced in the world of squash, having been playing the game for almost four-and-a-half decades!

“I always wanted to play squash, and when I went to Newcastle University, I had the opportunity to do so,” she says.

“I have been playing at WLTSC now for about 24 years I think, and still play a bit of team tennis in the Shropshire League.

“I probably only entered the Masters event as it was here at the club, and the others were probably a bit better than us, but it was still good fun!”

As Cathy mentioned, there is also a strong group of younger squash players enjoying the sport at WLTSC, many of whom – such as Aimee Jones – were showing their support for their club colleagues, also including Elaine Radcliffe and Kate Fuller, at the Masters.

“I am 27 now, and was 13 when I first started playing squash,” says Amy.

“My brothers played, so I picked up a racket and had a go, and ended up playing as a junior here.

“There is a good atmosphere at the club with the other female players and I really enjoy playing in the teams.”

All three ladies are very much united in terms of the overall benefits of squash as a sport, whether played for fun, or competitively.

“For me personally I can’t believe more women don’t get into it,” added Cathy.

“Particularly for the calorie burn…you can burn 600 to 650 calories in a 45-minute game which is better than most training sessions!

“It was great to be involved in the Masters tournament because it promoted our club and will hopefully help expand our membership base to get more squash players coming through the ranks.”

“Aggression within rules” – that is Jane’s description!

“And you can play indoors, 45 minutes of intense exercise, and you only have to organise two people to play!”

For Aimee, squash has also helped her in many other ways apart from just the game itself!

“It is a sport which keeps you fit and active, and is also socially good with meeting new people,” she says.

“I used to work at the bar here, then got a job with one of the guys I played squash with, and I also met my husband here as well!”

*A female interested in playing squash? Why not give it a go and pop along to one of the regular sessions. Click here to view more details.

Former Wolves Star Opens ‘The Pit’

Former Wolves Star Opens ‘The Pit’

Former Wolves and England Under-21 goalkeeper and lifelong fitness enthusiast Matt Murray has returned to one of his former haunts to open a new and improved gym facility.

Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club have added to their existing gym facility by expanding their functional fitness area to be known as The Pit.

Murray used to spend plenty of time at WLTSC when Wolves’ first team squad used the changing and catering facilities for several years whilst training at Compton Park and before the building of the Sir Jack Hayward training ground in 2005.

“We always used to enjoy coming here after training as we would always get a great welcome and we were well looked after,” says Murray.

“There was also the opportunity for plenty of banter with players, coaches and the staff which was always good fun.

“The facilities are fantastic, and, given how everyone knows how much I love working out in the gym, this looks like it is going to keep the members really busy with their fitness sessions.

“Anything that pushes people to keeping themselves fit and in good condition is always important, and I am sure The Pit will prove a valuable addition to such a great club with so many different sports on offer.”

The additional Strength & Conditioning area has been decked out with new equipment and will add even more variety to the sessions put on by the System Energize team of personal trainers at WLTSC.

“This new facility will allow us to prepare our elite athletes for competition using the latest techniques,” said Paul Fothergill, Head of System Energize.

“This will add a positive knock-on effect not just to our aspiring athletes but all our regular gym users, as personal trainers will be able to deliver fitness programmes using up-to-date, functional equipment.

“Members will benefit from being able to follow the training techniques used by professional athletes and celebrities as they too aim to reach their goals.”

Marc Hughes, Operations Manager at WLTSC, added:  “We were delighted to welcome Matt to the club to officially open the new and additional Strength & Conditioning facility.

“As a club we are always keen to keep moving forward and making progress, whether it is in our tennis, squash and racketball programmes, but also with fitness and the social side of the club.

“It will be great to see members able to work out in The Pit as well as our existing top quality gym, and we are also holding discussions at the moment with a view to bring in even more exciting developments in the future.”


*Fancy giving ‘The Pit’ a go along with all our other excellent facilities for tennis, squash, racketball and social events?  Pop in to the club or call (01902) 755265 to discuss membership options.