Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Caversham Tennis Club

THE club, which will celebrate its centenary in 2019, is looking to the future.

It is about to install state-of-the-art technology as an aid to both coaching and match umpiring and hopes to put up floodlights on two courts. It is also stepping up its outreach coaching programme in the local community.

“This is an exciting time for the club,” said chairman Peter Newman.

“We are looking back with pride over the past 100 years and looking forward to the next.

“Our current plans will keep us at the forefront of club tennis in Berkshire.”

Installing floodlights on two courts will help the club optimie use of its facilities, especially in the darker months.

After several failed attempts to get planning permission, the club has made every effort to appease concerned local residents.

Crucially, the club believes that its latest lighting proposal avoids so-called light pollution.

“We have nine courts in total but are only asking to light two of them,” explained Peter. “The height of the lights will be 6.4m — that’s lower than the evergreen trees that border these courts and shield neighbours from view.

“In any event, the lighting design ensures there will be no glare beyond those two courts and the proposed brightness (200 lux) is the absolute bare minimum to enable play.

“Disturbance really won’t be an issue either, especially as we have agreed to a curfew of 9.30pm.”

The submission to Reading Borough Council states that the lights are essential for the long-term viability of the club.

Peter added: “If this final application is unsuccessful, we would reluctantly have to consider selling the site to developers and moving elsewhere.”

The council will announce its decision on May 8.

In coming weeks, the club will become the first outdoor club in the country to install PlaySight, a smart system of cameras capable of tracking and recording every stroke played on court.

Like Hawk-Eye, used at professional tennis tournaments, it can settle contentious line calls and measure the speed of the ball but, more importantly, allows players to analyse their strengths and weaknesses.

PlaySight, which has had financial backing from current world no 2 Novak Djokovic, is being installed at Caversham as a pilot programme with the help of the Lawn Tennis Association.

Building on the success of previous years, the club will again be working with the LTA to introduce tennis to more local children by providing free coaching.

The outreach programme capitalises on the high profile Grand Slam victories of Andy and Jamie Murray by inspiring children to pick up a racquet and get involved.

Two of the club’s coaches are to provide free coaching to dozens of boys and girls from the area this summer.

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