Freedom Of Movement: Parks League 2022

Pick a team. Any team.

Most players don’t need to think about which team they will be representing next season. They have turned out for their club for years, sometimes decades. But from time to time players change clubs for various reasons: they move house; they change partners; they find their path to glory blocked by selection issues; they want a change of scenery.

Switching from one club to another is a normal and natural part of the Brighton & Hove Parks League. In fact, it should be encouraged in order to balance demand between the 11 clubs so as many players as possible can enjoy Parks League tennis.

While some clubs are at maximum capacity, others need new players to keep their teams afloat. Since clubs select from the top down (so first team gets first choice, second team gets second choice, etc) that means that the captains’ job of putting teams together gets harder as you go down the divisions.

This is particularly true in the 4th Division, where matches are much more likely to be conceded due to lack of numbers.

That is why the BHPLTA is encouraging players – especially lower division players who cannot get a game – to shop around in order to secure regular matches over the summer. Here is a list of clubs looking for players ahead of the 2021 season.

“‘Freedom of movement’ is good for the Parks League,” says Conrad Brunner. “It makes sense to encourage players from ‘bigger’ clubs to play matches for ‘smaller’ clubs, otherwise they risk not playing at all. Keeping numbers up across the board reduces the volume of conceded matches, and gets more people involved, which is good for the League as a whole.

“Of course, the ‘smaller’ clubs may then – over time – grow into ‘bigger’ clubs, helped by having full teams.”

Jon Lightbody adds: “Although players can only be registered to play for one team over a season, they can be members of more than one club. This means that a person who, say, isn’t getting many games with their chosen club can join a second club and play for them whilst still enjoying the benefits of their original membership.”

“There are bigger clubs which can put together a sixth or even a seventh team, but the preference of the BHPLTA is to spread participation among as many clubs as possible,” says League Secretary Mick Cox.

Finally, we should also point out that according to the BHPLTA rules, there is an option of a midseason transfer: “A player may transfer from one club to another. Applications shall be made in writing to the League Competition and Registration Secretary by the player and shall be payable by the Secretaries of the two clubs concerned. A further registration fee shall be payable to the Association Treasurer. No transferred player shall be eligible to play in the League matches until re-registered for seven days. No new players or transfers shall be granted after the Sunday before the last 4 weeks of the official season (week 15).”

So looking ahead to 2022, our advice is – shop around! Details here.