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Newmarket Tennis Club's hard work rewarded by Suffolk LTA award

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As recently as three years ago, Newmarket Tennis Club was in a sorry state.

With membership numbers dwindling, courts having seen better days and virtually no social scene, there was some serious doubts over the Hamilton Road-based club’s long-term future.

However, under the guidance of head coach Bruce Tarran, chair Carol Downs and the committee, the facility has been transformed.

Carol Downs and Bruce Tarran. Picture: Mark Westley
Carol Downs and Bruce Tarran. Picture: Mark Westley

The club is now able to boast a state-of-the-art winter bubble that allows for play all year round, three new synthetic clay courts and, despite the best efforts of Covid-19, plenty of social activities for its growing cast of members to enjoy.

And earlier this week all of the hard work was recognised in the form of the Suffolk LTA Club of the Year award.

Suffolk LTA’s chair Julia Waters said: “There was six really good clubs on the shortlist, but the awards panel was unanimous in picking Newmarket as the winner.

Carol Downs and Bruce Tarran. Picture: Mark Westley
Carol Downs and Bruce Tarran. Picture: Mark Westley

“It’s basically down to the turnaround during the last three years or so. The club had become pretty soulless with no real atmosphere whatsoever.

“But they changed their coaching team and committee and things have really taken off – it’s been great to see.

“It’s not just about the bubble or the clay courts, they are a forward thinking club who have worked really hard to upgrade all of their facilities.

“They were looking to sell their clubhouse off a few years ago and that’s been turned around – that’s a big thing.

“It was also fantastic to see them keeping their social side going during lockdown on social media with many activities.”

The club will now represent Suffolk LTA at next month’s East and Central Region Awards alongside nine other counties.

The winner of that will then go through to the national event, with the overall victor being confirmed at Wimbledon this summer.

For chair Downs, who is approaching her fourth year in the role, she is delighted with the position the club now finds itself in after some tough times.

“This is absolutely enormous for us. It’s a really good accolade and it’s down to all the hard work people have put in,” she said.

“It’s not just about the tennis side of things, we wanted to make it a much more social place to be as well.

“Everyone has played their part and Bruce has been fantastic. He has given so much to the club.

“We’ve managed to do it all in such a short space of time. Fingers crossed for the next stage of the awards.”

In further good news for the club, they are set to reopen their doors on Monday, March 29 as part of the government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown.

Downs added: “We cannot wait. There is still some clarification to come about what we are allowed to do – the rule of six and that sort of thing, but everyone is buzzing to get going again.

“We’ve got all the one-way systems, sanitisers and things like that in place so we are Covid ready, just as we were last year.”

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