Hove Park wrapped up the 2022 Parks League Division 1 title with a 0-4 win away to Queens A on Friday night.
The key victory for Hove came back in June when they beat a strong King Alfred 4-0 at home, and their 4-0 win over challengers Queens in July meant the Charles Beckett shield was likely to remain in Hove.
Dyke finished second, and Queens third. Saltdean A are relegated.
Hove won 62 matches and lost just 10. They move up one place to second in the All-Time Parks League winners list (since 1930), behind Queens. Most wins:
Queens 23 Hove 21 Hollingbury 20 Rookery 9 Dyke 6
Key players for Hove this summer have been Alistair Alexander, Josh and Thomas Pollard, Basia Suzin, Helen Almond, Mark & Tom Manton, Jo Davis, Lauren Gunning, Amy Slonje, Yaz Coleman, Lucy Chadburn, Fariss Barakat and Patricia Pollard.
Elsewhere, Queens B look well placed to win the Division 2 race, with a handful of games still to go. Division 3 is still a race between Dyke D and Saltdean B, who have three games in hand. In Division 4, St Ann’s and St Ann’s A have secured the top two promotion places.
BHPLTA has begun testing early versions of its new online/mobile scoring system. We will retain the existing card scoring system this summer, keeping Mick Cox busy, while simultaneously testing the digital version.
“The basic scoring functionality will allow Captains to enter scores immediately on site, with the league tables updating in real time,” says Conrad Brunner of the BHPLTA. “But we need to test that in the field, including the online interface with the Parks League database, ensuring that only registered Parks League players are selected. The demo we have seen is quite cool and exciting. Watch this space.” Contact Conrad Brunner or Jon Lightbody if you want to know more.
Here is a great deal from Queens Park Tennis Club: a special price for registered Parks League players play under their new LED court lighting system.
Instead of the regular price of £14 per hour, QPTC is offering Parks League players the preferential rate of £10 per hour. Alan Sanchez writes: “If you wish to take advantage of this offer, please email me at email@example.com and I shall activate your membership. Please confirm in your email which Parks League club you play for. https://qptc.co.uk/news/court-lighting-returns/
John Lightbody writes: A little anxious, but also glad, I arrived at Hove Park on Saturday morning for the start of the 2021 Tournament. Anxious for all the games and players I’d be looking after for the day – would I even be able to add up correctly? One slip and you’re gone! Glad, though, to see the sun out, players arriving and, at last, after a year’s break the Parks League End of Season Tournament about to get under way.
Now in its eighth year the Tournament has proved a popular event. Twelve teams, 72 players – some old faces but also some new. I was surprised as always by everyone’s enthusiasm. It wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated filling up the entry this year, with some clubs not able to field teams. Fortunately both Hove and Queens were able to make up the shortfall. It has been a strange year as we all emerge from the pandemic. In the end there were teams from Dyke Park, Hove Park, King Alfred, Queens Park, Saltdean and St Ann’s.
So the aim of the game is to play three pairs – usually a men’s, ladies’ and a mixed – in a fifteen minute session. The teams were split into two groups depending on their relative team strength. Each team played the other teams in their group once with the aim being to win as many games as possible in that fifteen minutes. The winner of each group would be the team with the most games won at the end of the day. With only six courts available at Hove it was going to be a tight timetable.
After explaining this, and the basic rules for the day, we were off. I was a little concerned that the timetable was going to slip little by little during the day. With the courts only booked till 6 pm and the presentation of the trophies to come it could be tight. My worries though were completely unfounded. As the games got under way and the time for a new match approached I was amazed how quickly the next teams were ready, champing at the bit for the next game. I needn’t have worried at all – it seemed like it was all running like clockwork.
All through the day it was lovely to see people so relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere. The sun kept shining, the talk kept flowing and most importantly so did the tennis! At the mid-way point it started to look very competitive in both groups, with only a few points separating the teams. After a couple of minor injuries and a bee sting to add to the excitement I could see there might be a climatic end to the day. As the final round started it looked like a three-way race in the top group between Dyke, Hove and Queens A. In the second group, with Hove A and St Ann’s tied in first place and Dyke A only one point behind, it was a similar story.
As the final results came in Group B seemed to have a winner emerging – Dyke A coming up from behind to snatch it away from Hove A and St Ann’s by a margin of three points. In Group A however it just got a little tighter. By one point ahead of a tied second place with Queens A and Hove, first place was tied between Dyke and Queens! There would have to be a play-off. Both teams were duly instructed that all three pairs were to play three straight games to decide the winner. I thought this would be a quick and easy way of sorting things out. Bearing in mind that during the day each tie was allowed 15 minutes with easily 16 or 18 games played between the three pairs, it was after an extremely competitive 25 minutes that Dyke pulled through with 5-4 victory over Queens! Here’s how the final tables looked.
An exciting day was topped off with presentation of the trophies. Mike Jenner, our President, was on hand to present the winners of both groups with their Shields. There then came the presentation of the League Trophies that had been sitting on the table all day catching the eye and wonderment of not just our own members but passers-by who were fascinated to see and hear the history of the Brighton and Hove Parks LTA. With the Shields presented in reverse order, Division 4 to Queens D, Division 3 to King Alfred A, Division 2 to King Alfred and Hove declared the League Champions, the day was all but over. And what a satisfying day it was too!
I have many people to thank for making the day work so well. Firstly to the Hove Park Tennis Alliance for not only making the courts at Hove Park available to us but also for their generosity in waiving the court hire fee for the day, allowing us to raise a grand sum of £378 for the Parks League to help us cover our running costs. To Rita Mullins for supplying the balls, taking care of finances and being there to give advice and getting people organised. To Mike Jenner for the presentation of the trophies. And most importantly of all – to the 72 players who turned out for the day and the Club Secretaries who made it all possible. See you all again next year.
Congratulations to Hove Park for securing their first Parks League title for 13 years.
Hove finished their 18 game season with an away victory at Queens, holding an impressive final score of 135 sets won and just 16 lost. Dyke finished the season in second place, with Queens third.
Captain Josh Pollard told us that Hove’s best performance was the opening fixture of the season: “We beat reigning champions Dyke 3-1 in a really touch match. From there on, we really thought we could win the league.”
Hove lost only four rubbers over the entire season, with four players ‘carrying their racquet’ unbeaten from April to September: Josh Pollard, Alistair Alexander, Marc Manton and Helen Almond.
The core ladies for Hove were Almond, Basia Suzin, Lucy Chadburn, Jo Davis and Amy Slonje, with further contributions from Patricia Pollard, Jess Pither, Morna Fox and Hayley Oxley. Other significant men players were Darren Pollard, Fariss Barakat and Neil Dickson.
Victory has been a long time coming for one of Brighton & Hove’s largest and most popular parks clubs. Hove Park have not lifted the Charles Beckett Shield since 2008. See below:
The 2021 Parks Cup is now open for entries for all singles and doubles competitions. All applications must be received by Monday 26 April.
This year’s competition is being organised by Peter Wheeler from Blakers. “Brilliant that the Parks League is back up and running this week. It’s also time to get your entries in for the 2021 Parks Cup Competitions, which will culminate in a Finals Day at Queens Park on Saturday 24 July (and/or Sunday 25 July if rain prevents completion of the programme on Saturday).”
The Brighton & Hove Parks LTA is planning to go ahead with the 2021 edition of the Parks League, dependent on the lifting of government Covid-19 restrictions for tennis.
Specifically, the competition will go ahead provided the playing of competitive doubles fixtures is including within the LTA Covid-19 guidelines, as published here.
This would mean all four divisions of the Parks League starting their fixtures in early April 2021 with the season running through to August, as normal. Again, this is dependent on the playing conditions meeting LTA Covid-19 guidelines.
The BHPLTA will hold its AGM at 7.30pm Monday 15 March, 2021 online (Zoom), and all Parks League team captains are invited to attend. Details of the meeting will be published on this website, and sent to club secretaries.
All team captains are encourage to contact Mick Cox (m.cox907 [at] ntlworld.com) in advance of that meeting, updating him on their expected participation in 2021.
Thursday’s final round 3-1 win over Dyke in the Seven Dials Derby secured victory for St Ann’s in the inaugural 2020 Parks League singles competition.
St Ann’s Marco Pineda, Leon Stafford and Gabriel Jeffery all won their ties to seal the title. Congratulations to all the members of Team St Ann’s who contributed over the course of the 2020 season, including David Redinha, Savii Arsenova, Scott Tawse, and Stephen Milonas (captain).
St Ann’s players dominated the individual scoring charts, topped by Leon and Marco.
Started back in July, the Singles League featured a four-man (or woman) team competing in a weekly face-off against the strongest Parks League teams, including Queens, Dyke and Saltdean.
Exciting developments at Hollingbury Park Tennis Club! Long serving player and chair Fiona Hayes is leading a brave group of volunteers to help the club revive their fortunes and restore their six tennis courts.
Fiona says: “In an effort to preserve the club both for its members and the local community, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £25,000 to resurface our courts. This is necessary as the council no longer have funds for any court maintenance and our courts were last resurfaced over 20 years ago.”
Located in lovely Hollingbury Park, replete with golf course, nursery school, magnificent allotments, and bang in front of two of Brighton’s biggest secondary schools (Varndean and Dorothy Stringer) this parks tennis club has fantastic potential.
For decades, Hollingbury were the number one parks club in the city. In the post-war era, they lorded it over their Parks League rivals, winning the Charles Beckett Shield, 16 times between 1946 and 1963. See here.
Recent years, however, have been tough on the tennis programme. Membership declined and the number of teams entered to the parks league as been reduced to just one.
“It would be terrific to see Hollingbury restored to full health and playing its full part in the Parks League,” says BHPLTA committee member Conrad Brunner.
“It’s great to see clubs like Dyke, Hove and Queens thriving and putting out lots of teams. Hove has six! But to maintain the right balance within the Parks League, we’d prefer to see broadly equal numbers across all Parks clubs. We need to look after all the clubs, and we’re painfully aware that some are really struggling to survive and put teams together. We hope that Hollingbury – with its six courts and glorious history – can show the way.”
Happily, the crowdfunding project has helped boost awareness, and Hollingbury club membership numbers are now rising.
If there are any members, or prospective members, who can lend a hand, that would be much appreciated. “It’s a bit of a one man band at the moment,” says Fiona.