2024 Parks Cup competitions

Parks Cup 2023. Photo: Neil Stoddart

The Parks Cup competitions are knock-out tournaments for singles and doubles. All participate must be registered BHPLTA Parks League players.

2024 Finals Day: from 1pm Saturday 20 July at Queens Park Tennis Club, with Sunday 21 July as a fall back day (as was required last year). All entrants must be available for both Saturday & Sunday dates. Doubles: all players much register online as a pair. Individual entries not accepted.

Register here

The tournament director this year will be John Thrussell of Hove Park. Contact: parkscup@bhplta.co.uk
Competition Referee – Lyn Paterson

These are the Cup Competitions you can enter. Closing date for all entries is Mon 22 April:
Men’s Singles
Ladies Singles
Mens Doubles
Ladies Doubles
Mixed Doubles
Veteran Mixed Doubles (55 or over on 31/12/24)

Match Entry is £4 fee per player per tournament.

There will be a limit of 64 entries for each draw, (cutoff based on date submitted).There may also be a Plate competition for the men’s singles for players who lose their first match played in that tournament (eg in round 1, or round 2 if you had a bye in round 1).

Deadlines:
First round deadline [Round of 64]: Sunday 26 May [21 days]
Second round deadline [32]: Sunday 09 June [14 days]
Third round deadline [16] Sunday 23 June [14 days]
Fourth round deadline [Quarter Finals] Sunday 07 July [14 days]
Fifth round deadline [Semi Finals] Tuesday 16 July: [9 days]
Finals Day: Saturday 20 July [Sunday 21 reserve day] from 1pm

By entering this competition online, players agree the following:
1) they are available on both the Finals days 20th and 21st July 2024
2) they have read the rules for the cup competitions, especially eligibility – https://www.bhplta.co.uk/about-us/bhplta-rules/ from page 12 onwards
3) they have already submitted their registration to play matches for one of the parks league clubs.
4) their contact details can be used for the purposes of running the Cup Competitions (including via WhatsApp – will be used for submitting the results) – This includes your Doubles partner if applying as a pair. WhatsApp details will be sent once your entry has been confirmed

Important: No extentions to the deadlines for each round are permitted. If entering multiple tournaments please ensure you can complete all required matches before the deadlines.

Reporting results: winners of each tie are responsible for reporting their Cup Competition results promptly. We have set up a dedicated WhatsApp community with groups specifically for reporting and sharing competition match results. Players are invited join the community using the WhatsApp link sent to them and then join the relevant group(s) for their competitions within that.
While WhatsApp is preferred, players can also email results to: parkscup@bhplta.co.uk
When you report scores, please include all relevant details: the competition, the participants (winners first and whether “home/away” as per rule 14), and the set scores, including tie break scores. For example:
“Mens Doubles: Jose Garcia & Bob Smith (home) def Frank Brown & Luis Pistor 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1”
“Ladies Singles: Josie Grace (away) def Fran Pistor 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)”

Check up on the Cup Competitions rules and regulations here

AGM: Thurs 16 Nov

The Brighton & Hove Parks League LTA Annual General Meeting will take place at Queens Park Tennis Club on Thursday 16th November. 

The QPTC clubhouse will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

There will some rule changes to be discussed and debated. Please contact secretary Sheila Deen if you have any other inquiries: sheiladeen@hotmail.com

Cy Pollard 1936-2023

The tennis community of Brighton & Hove mourns the loss of local coach Cy Pollard. A popular figure in the city, Cy, 86, died at the Martlets Hospice in September.

Cy at the 2023 Parks Cup finals day in July. Photo: Luca Sage

Cy is best known as the long term coach, captain and leader of Dyke Park Tennis Club, where he presided over three decades of steady growth and success on the tennis court. He remained active on the tennis scene right up to last summer.

Before Cy arrived, Dyke had gone several decades without winning the Parks League shield. You had to go back to 1941 to find their single victory in Division 1. By taking control of the team, improving standards, and encouraging a strong core of women players, Cy helped Dyke win the shield in 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2019. Dyke remain a force in the Parks League today, finishing second in 2023.

Sheila Deen, Dyke club secretary, says: “Cy had a huge appetite for tennis and devoted so much of his time and energy to Dyke and the B&H Parks League. Our club has flourished under his leadership with ever increasing membership, coaching opportunities and significant improvements in our standards of play. Everyone will remember his competitive spirit and determination to avoid conceding any matches.”

Conrad Brunner writes: “Cy was simply very good at attracting and encouraging tennis players, and had a genius for bringing in women players of all ages and developing them into strong Parks League competitors. This changed a lot of people’s lives for the better. 

“The enduring popularity of the Parks League owes a lot to Cy’s driving force, and our annual meetings were invariably illuminated by his plain speaking and robust common sense. He’ll be greatly missed.”

Soldier, male model, dancer, salesman…Cy Pollard led a rich and varied life. As well as tennis, he loved swimming, table tennis, reading, playing with his grandchildren and watching football.  Daughter Tanya tells us you can catch a glimpse of Cy as a young boy in the 1948 film Brighton Rock. Cy was married to Elaine (since 1969) and they have four daughters (Sacha, Tanya, Katrina & Amelia) and 11 grandchildren.

Thanks to Cy’s family for their help with photos and details.

Cy with the victorious Dyke team, 2017 Parks League champions

Additional story about Cy from 2019:

Katie Moorman, left, with Kate Buchanon, Queens Park Tennis Club

Katie Moorman has been a dominant performer for Queens in Division 1 for several years. In 2019, she was the top female points scorer in the entire league, winning 14 out of 17 matches. Katie told us a bit about her early steps in tennis, and the influence of Cy Pollard.

“I was a very keen tennis player when I was growing up. I did two paper rounds to fund my coaching lessons once a week. I used to look out of my bedroom window and wish that I could play over the road at Queens Park Tennis Club.”

Aged 12, Katie dutifully presented herself for membership of her local club. The late Brenda Jewell was the all-powerful matriarch who ran Queens (and the Parks League) at that time. Brenda was honoured with a special LTA award for her services to tennis, and there are many who still revere her memory and miss her strong leadership. She was a formidable woman, who did much for tennis in our city – but this was not, perhaps, her finest hour.

“I had a ‘trial’ on club night which in those days was heavily populated by 1st team players as well as many others. Brenda was quite scary, and I was mortified when she said I wasn’t good enough to play.”

Disappointed but undaunted, Katie was obliged to make the long journey to Dyke Park in order to pursue her love of the game.

“I used to play with my school friend who lived by Dyke Park and that’s where I met Cy (Pollard, long term Dyke coach). He was really kind and enthusiastic – said that we had potential to be really good and asked us to join. I was delighted.

“Cy welcomed juniors and integrated them well into the club sessions. He was in charge of club nights and I guess, looking back, he matched people up of similar standard so people didn’t get fed up with the juniors.”

Under Cy’s supervision, Katie worked hard on her technique and eventually made it into the Dyke Tuesday teams, then Wednesday teams. Toughened up by regular bicycle trips from Queens Park to Dyke Park, her progress was so rapid she was soon invited to play for the Dyke first team, something she did with such distinction that alarm bells started to go off in BN2.

“It wasn’t until I beat Queens first team mixed in a crunch league match (which meant that Dyke won the 1st Division title) that Brenda herself asked me to join Queens and said ‘you really should join here as you live so close’!

“Initially I didn’t want to because I was stubborn and also loyal to Cy, as he was the one that took time to help me improve. But after a while I thought it was silly cycling to a club three times a week when I had a club opposite where I lived.”

To the lasting benefit of Queens Park Tennis Club, she eventually said ‘yes’.

“Parks tennis was a massive part of my life when I was growing up and continues to be to this day. I love it.”

We don’t know her exact total of Parks League victories for Queens over the years, but it must be well into three figures. Thank you Katie. And thank you Cy – you did a great job.

– Conrad Brunner

End Of Season Tournament report

Saturday 16th September saw yet another bright sunny day for what is now the 10th End of Season Tournament held at Hove Park tennis courts, writes Jon Lightbody. This year would be the first to take place on the ‘red stuff’. As always the Tournament proved very popular so I took a gamble (which came back to haunt me later on!) and allowed extra teams to enter, taking our tally from the usual 12 teams to 14 and 84 players in all. With some members and family joining in for a jolly social day in the Park I reckon there were approaching 100 people there for the day – a testament to what a fun and exciting day the Tournament has proved to be. Photos: see gallery below

With the extra teams I knew the day was going to be a challenge so after a brief introduction and the collecting of entry fees by my assistant Rita Mullins it was time for action. Teams as always were split into two groups with Group A being filled by Dyke, Hove, King Alfred, Queens, Saltdean and two teams from St Ann’s. Group B saw teams from Dyke, Hollingbury, Hove, King Alfred, Preston Park, Queens and Saltdean battle it out for the day.

At 1pm everyone was under starters orders. Knowing how tight the time table had become my answer to the question “How much time do we get for a warm up” was “None”. This was surprisingly well received with good humour by the players, much to my relief! It all started very well – having explained the urgency of the time table and asking players to be ready for the change with each match the response was terrific. I have much appreciation for the teams who were ready and on court in the quickest of time and (mostly) ready to play when that whistle blew.

The day progressed serenely and my clock watching seemed to be going ok. It was a lovely experience sitting at my table with plenty of action going on around the courts and surrounded by what are quite awe-inspiring Shields for the League Division winners to be presented later on. It is always quite something to see people, especially young children passing by, stop and stare at the size and history of the League Division 1 – The Beckett Challenge Shield. Although I was stuck at my desk for the day time passed quickly with idle chat and the occasional question from players.

In fact time was passing too quickly. By mid afternoon and a little basic maths it was becoming apparent that maybe the timetable was not going to work. After a quick discussion with Rita and Mick Cox I decided on the plan. I would make each match shorter – surely no one would really notice. Gradually over the next hour I reduced the usual 15 minutes down to 10. The plan was working. My only downfall was that, unlike myself, most people wear a watch. It wasn’t too long before the inevitable questions – was that really fifteen minutes? The response though was fantastic. No one was unhappy at all and accepted the situation with great enthusiasm and kept the games, albeit shorter, rolling along.

By 5.15, and a definite cut off time of 6pm, it was still going to be very tight. We had the use of two courts beyond 6pm and with four more matches to go another plan was hatched. Three matches I could squeeze in. The fourth would need radical change. I decided that for the fourth match and only two courts available, the four teams involved should only put out one pair each instead of the usual three. With cap in hand, I approached the teams concerned and was so grateful when all of them without hesitation agreed to the plan. What a great bunch!

The results though never really looked in dispute. From early on Queens Park took an early lead in both Groups. Although there was some chasing from Hove in both groups and St Ann’s first team in Group A, Queens comfortably hung on to their lead in both groups. These are the final tables.

Now it’s at this point that I have to apologise to Hove! Due to some dodgy adding up I announced one of the Hove teams as having come fifth whereas if I hadn’t missed 10 points plus off, they would have been happy to know that they actually came second! Possibly everyone was too exhausted to take me task on the day, and maybe it’s best not to put me in charge of the economy just yet!

To finish the day off there were trophies to present. With our President Mike Jenner alongside, the Leage Division shield were presented. Division 4 winners this year were a well deserved Hollingbury. Division 3 went to a strong St Ann’s team, with Division 2 going to Hove B. The winners of the Beckett Challenge Shield for the third year running were Hove. Congratulations to all of you. Finally, there were the shields for the day’s competition – congratulations to both Queen’s teams.

All in all I think the day was enjoyed by everyone. Although the timetable was tight and I had to play around with it the focus was more on having a great fun day with lots of tennis involved. As one player said to me, during the League season playing matches you don’t get much chance to talk to people so during the day at Hove Park it’s great to have plenty of time to chat and catch up, have some fun and enjoy a picnic and in may cases enjoy Prosecco and beer!

As always I have many thanks to give. Firstly, to Hove Park Tennis Alliance and Neil Dickson for giving us the use of Hove Park Tennis courts for the day. Secondly to Rita Mullins for supplying the balls and organising the finance, and thirdly to Mike Jenner for coming along and presenting the Shields. But the biggest thanks go to all the clubs, teams and players who make such an enjoyable day possible and make all the work involved very, very rewarding. See you all again next year!

Jon

Cy Pollard

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Cy Pollard, a leading figure in Brighton and Hove’s thriving tennis community. He made a huge contribution to tennis in the city and will be sorely missed. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and many friends. Below is a message from Sheila Deen of Dyke Park Tennis Club where Cy Pollard was club captain for many years.

From Sheila Deen, Dyke Park Tennis Club:

“To all Parks club secretaries and committee members: I just need to share the sad news that Cy Pollard, our club captain at Dyke for as long as we can remember, passed away last night. He was surrounded by many of his family members in the Martlets hospice. 

“Cy had a huge appetite for tennis and devoted so much of his time and energy to Dyke and the B&H Parks leagues. Our club has flourished under his leadership with ever increasing membership, coaching opportunities and significant improvements in our standards of play !

“He will always be a legend for us at Dyke. I’m sure that many of you can recall his competitive spirit and determination to avoid conceding any matches !

He will be sorely missed – RIP CY.”

Sheila Deen ( General secretary BHPLTA)

Cy Pollard at Parks Cup Finals Day this July

Hove Win Parks League

Congratulations to Hove Park on securing the 2023 Division 1 title, and retaining the Charles Beckett Shield for a third consecutive season. They will collect their trophy at the Parks League awards ceremony, held directly after the conclusion of the End Of Season tournament on Saturday 16 September.

Hove Park: 2023 Division 1 champions

Martin Patrick writes:

Hove Park had their clay courts and floodlights installed at the end of last year and all the clubs’ players were eagerly awaiting the start of the Parks League season to play competitive tennis matches in our new environment. Thank you to those players from other clubs who kindly gave us positive feedback about our courts and I do hope everyone enjoyed playing on them. A massive thank you to Neil Dickson (our fantastic Hove Park Tennis Alliance Chairman) who lead the way and worked tirelessly to make these changes happen.

There was also the very successful Parks League App for submitting results (a big relief to those of us with bad handwriting) that came into force across the leagues this summer.

Helen Almond and Lucy Chadburn of Hove Park with their Parks Cup Doubles trophy

This was a tough season in Division One with the Hove, Dyke and Queens First teams battling it out for the title. Hove had some great close matches against their nearest two rivals and some tight three set matches against the King Alfred, Saltdean and Preston Park teams.

Hove managed to win the league in their last match of the season at the Dyke in a very competitive match that had to be rearranged twice (like many other matches across the leagues this season). This adverse weather resulted in many of us keeping a ‘close eye’ on the Met Office app (other brands are also available ) throughout the season!

Many thanks to the following Hove players (who represented the First team) for their fantastic commitment and performances this season: Alistair Alexander, Basia Suzin, Helen Almond, Josh Pollard, Thomas Pollard, Marc Manton, Tom Manton, Lauren Gunning, Yasmin Coleman, Eloise Saville, Jo Davis, Amy Slonje, Kevin Garratt, Fariss Barakat, David Taylor, Keith Gill, Darren Pollard, Lucy Chadburn and Penny Telford. Like every other team, unfortunately there were illnesses and injuries throughout the season so even I had to play as well (at least the opposition were pleased to see me) and hence a total of twenty players played for Hove First team.

Many thanks to Alistair Alexander, Basia Suzin and Mick Cox for their help and guidance throughout the season and the Hove supporters who were kind enough to support us in all sorts of weather conditions.

Thank you to the Parks Committee who work so hard and give up their time to make the Brighton and Hove Parks league such a great place to play competitive tennis. The Parks league has been going for nearly one hundred years for a reason!

Parks Cup 2023 results

See all the results from the 2023 Parks Cup Finals played at Queens Park Tennis Club on Sunday 23 July.

Parks Cup 2023. Photos: Neil Stoddart

Parks Cup 2023 photo gallery

Mens Singles
Final: Seb Puga (Dyke) def. Tom Bradford (Queens) 6-0, 6-0

Ladies Singles
Final: Helen Almond (Hove) def Sarah Watkins (Queens) 6-4, 6-3

Men’s Doubles
Final: Andy Mullins & Kisoran Moodley (King Alfred) def Brett Macdonald & Ben Pegler (King Alfred) [Walk Over]

Ladies Doubles
Final: Helen Almond & Lucy Chadburn (Hove) def. Sarah Watkins & Tam Brittan (Queens) 7-5, 6-0

Men’s Plate
Final: Robin Ajder (St Ann’s) def Sean Mahon (Queens) 7-6, 6-7, 6-0

Mixed Doubles
Final: Mo Jones & Jo Marlow (Dyke) def Andrew Woolston & Monica Crosa (St Ann’s) 6-1, 6-1

Veterans’ Mixed Doubles
Final: Nick Saxon & Amanda Tickel (Dyke) def. Steve Dorney & Maxine Lunderstedt (Queens) 6-2, 7-5

Thanks to the Preston Park Committee for their hard work as tournament organisers in 2023: Ian Habens, Lesley Wright, Mandy Tyler, Valerie Dowley and Janet Clough.

Thanks to the match umpires on the day: Lyn Paterson, David Phillips, Greg Daubney, Ian Teasdale, Chris Mitchell and Valerie Dowley.

Thanks to the many volunteers from Queens Park Tennis Club who helped host the event: Bego, Mel, Patrick, Mark S, Isaac, Steve, Denise, Jo, Julian and Conrad.

Seb Puga: Mens Singles Parks Cup champion 2023

Parks Cup Finals Day: Sat 22 July

Join us for the Parks Cup Finals Day: Sat 22 July, from 1pm, at Queens Park Tennis Club.

Finals Day features all the finals from the 2023 Parks Cup competition (see details below).

This year’s event features strong representation from Hove, Dyke, Queens, King Alfred and St Ann’s.

The Parks Cup, established in 1930, is for Parks League players only, and Finals Days is always one of the most enjoyable days of our local tennis calendar. The Queens’ clubhouse and bar will be open throughout for food, drink and ice-creams. Best wishes to our former teammates Steve Dorney and Mo Jones, who will also be taking part.

See provisional line up below.

Mens Singles
Final: Seb Puga (Dyke) vs Tom Bradford (Queens)

Ladies Singles
Final: Helen Almond (Hove) vs EITHER Sarah Watkins (Queens) OR Judit Bardon (Hove)

Men’s Doubles
Final: Brett Macdonald & Ben Pegler (King Alfred) vs EITHER Andy Mullins & Kisoran Moodley (King Alfred) OR Sam Waller-Carr & Charlie Brown (Queens)

Ladies Doubles
Final: Sarah Watkins & Tam Brittan (Queens) vs Helen Almond & Lucy Chadburn (Hove)

Men’s Plate
Final: Robin Ajder (St Ann’s) vs Sean Mahon (Queens)

Mixed Doubles
Final: Andrew Woolston & Monica Crosa (St Ann’s) vs Mo Jones & Jo Marlow (Dyke)

Veterans’ Mixed Doubles
Final: Steve Dorney & Max Lunderstedt (Queens) vs Nick Saxon & Amanda Tickel (Dyke)

Profile: Oliver Smyth

Oliver Smyth has been playing Parks League tennis since 1977. Raised in Manchester, he grew up around The Northern Tennis Club, which hosted many top stars on its splendid grass courts back in the 50s and 60s. Young Oliver would go along with his autograph book, and you can see him photographed below with the great Margaret Court of Australia, winner of 24 major singles titles. Now retired, Oliver as been an active tennis coach (Badgers, Brighton College), while enjoying many seasons of competitive tennis on the parks courts of our city. Over 42 seasons, we estimate that Oliver has played 700 Parks League matches, and he is still going strong for Hove Park D.

Oliver Smyth, right, receiving the Parks League Division 3 trophy from Mick Cox in 2020
With Margaret Court in 1962, when she was Australian Open, French Open and US Open champion

We asked Oliver some questions about his own personal Parks League story.

Parks League Debut

“I made my Parks League debut for Queens A against Hove A in 1977. I played against Jim Denman, father of Brian and Tony. I then represented Queens from 1977 to 2014, only stopping because I needed a hip replacement. I started playing for Hove in about 2017.”

Parks League successes
“I was a member of Queens A which won the Division 2 title in 1977, and was captain of the Queens 1st team that won the Division 1 title in (I think) 1988, 1989 and 1990. I remember giving a speech at the Parks League dinner at the Old Ship Hotel in 1990! I never won a Parks Cup title. Partnering Tony Wellington (Woodingdean), I reached the semi-final of the men’s doubles but we were not allowed to play it. As a consequence, I decided not to enter any more. I also played quite regularly for the Parks 3rd Team in the County League with Tony Wellington, and occasionally for the Parks Vets, which does not exist anymore. I have a shoebox full of trophies that I won at Queens and Hove for all sorts of competitions.I was in five or six men’s singles finals at Queens, winning two of them, in 1984 and 1999. In 1999, I also won the men’s doubles, so that is the best year for me, especially as I was 52 years old at the time. I also won the men’s doubles at Hove in 2022.”

Favourite place to play
“Queens. It is such a lovely situation and it was close to work. However, the shale courts there were very dusty; the best ones were at the Rookery.”

Toughest Opponents
“Mike Jenner, Ian King, Chris Tyler, Christian Salter.”

Favourite partners
“Richard Nutbeam and Denise Taylor. Denise was here for less than 3 years, but was the best player I have ever seen in the Parks. She had been ranked 200 in the World and played for GB in the Wightman Cup.”

Best memories
“Winning the first division for the first time. I think the final four matches were won 8-0 and we finished one point ahead of our rivals in the dark in Patcham. Also, the end of season dinner at the Black Lion in Patcham was really good fun.”

What does Parks League mean to you
“The reason the Parks League have survived is because it is one large family. There are no social divisions and everyone loves tennis for its own sake. There are opportunities to play both socially and competitively; you get out of it what you put in. Of course there are squabbles, but that shows how much everyone cares. We are all very lucky to be in a city with this league and we need to fight for its existence and independence.”

How Oliver learnt tennis!