The 2012 season was a tough one for many clubs. The wet weather ruined the first half of the season. With numbers of entrants down for tournaments, income from them was reduced still further by cancellations due to the flooding of courts and the resultant losses of the normal profit from lunch and bar sales. However, all the grants awarded by the CA for the past season produced excellent results, as has been reported by the clubs concerned in the Gazette.
West Worthing CC made a good start - doubling its membership in its first season. It now enjoys the use of four courts, sharing two of them with the tennis section. It was given a loan from the CA to buy Dawson balls for its competitive activities and was able to take part in some of the SECF leagues in its first year of existence.
Both West Wittering CC and Ember CC made good use of their CA grants which allowed the clubs to complete their irrigation projects after fundraising and, in the case of Ember, much self help. These were investments for drier times.
Crawley CC received confirmation from the Borough Council that the Heritage Lottery Fund was going ahead with its £40K project to restore the park to its former Victorian glory, embracing the re-laying of the two and a half croquet courts and the installation of irrigation. The Fund was precluded from assisting with the replacement of the dilapidated wooden hut presently used by the club. The club raised £13,000 including a £2,000 grant from the CA towards acquiring a “log effect”, chalet style and vandal proof pavilion which would fit into the character of the site, with a project estimate of £25,000. However, the project came to a halt when the Council suddenly demanded a licence and a lease which would cost annually more than the club could possibly afford. The new club chairman went back to the Council and found that a change of officials had resulted in a more amenable attitude. There is now a possibility that water and electricity will be provided for the pavilion by linking with the services installed for the irrigation. Connection to a sewer is being investigated and so the club may be able to install a toilet. They are also investigating the possibility of installation of a septic tank. The Council did not raise again the requirement for a more costly lease and licence. The club has decided to re-start fundraising and at the same time to look for a cheaper option for the pavilion. The timescale is now for work to be started on the pavilion in October 2013.
A £275 grant from the CA and the SECF for publicity allowed Jean Cobbold to advertise for the new club at Cheam and to recruit 75 paid up members. The one-court club will be entering SECF GC leagues in its second year and is also training up some Association players. The Federation provided coaching courses for the membership in 2012 - essential support for any new club to get it off to a flying start. Unfortunately, the wet weather deterred a number of players from attending regularly and there might be a drop in numbers for the 2013 season.
A new club at Lodsworth in West Sussex asked the CA for a £1,000 grant towards the construction of its first court. However, the grant was turned down because of the financial risk if the new club failed. A loan was offered in lieu. The club, which joined the CA in May of this year, appealed against the ruling and the application will be reviewed by the CA Development Committee. The new Club has good prospects. A SECF grant of £250 will be made to assist Lodsworth if they receive support from the CA.