Thursday, 20 June 2019

Car smashes on to tennis court during doubles game

Car smashes on to tennis court during doubles game

A DRIVER ploughed through a wire fence on to a tennis court during a game of doubles.

The elderly woman is believed to have lost control of her Toyota Yaris in the car park next to the court.

The impact damaged about 20m of wire fencing around the playing area and a pole.

The incident happened on one of the two courts at Mapledurham Tennis Club at lunchtime on Monday last week.

Luckily, none of the players on court was struck by the car.

Club member Bernardo Guerreiro was practising his forehand on the other court when he saw what happened.

He said: “There were three ladies and a gentleman playing doubles and all of a sudden you heard a noise and the fence was breaking and a car entering at speed. It took just a couple of seconds for my brain to process the image — I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“The car came through the fence and took it and a post all the way down. One of the ladies actually had to run away from the car. Fortunately, she wasn’t close to the fence.”

Former club chairman David Maynerd, who was alerted by Mr Guerreiro, said: “I said, ‘is the driver okay? Sit her down and make her a cup of tea’.

“We were so lucky. There were eight players on the two courts — four on each — and fortunately at that moment in time they were near the net.

“If they had been going back to serve or pick balls up they would have been wiped out. I was horrified obviously but also relieved that nobody had been injured.

“We assume the lady went to put her foot on the brake and it slipped off on to the throttle.”

Mr Maynerd said the players were able to resume their game after moving to another court.

“We made a joke and said, ‘did you play a let on that point’,” he said.

Police were called to the club off Upper Woodcote Road and officers helped detach the damaged fence so the car could reverse off the court.

There was some damage to the front of the car and the number plate had been dislodged.

The woman was collected by her husband in another vehicle and her car was recovered later.

Mr Maynerd and others managed to bend the damaged pole back into position and secure the fence with rope. He has obtained an estimate of more than £14,500 for replacement fencing and posts and hopes the club can claim for the repairs on its insurance policy.

Mr Maynerd said he would be talking to Reading Borough Council about installing a barrier between the parking area and the courts.

He said: “We never thought of something like this happening. We have got away with it once but we may not be so lucky next time.

“We need a barrier along there just in case someone else has a mishap. The fence is not strong enough to withstand a car coming flat out.”

In 2014 actor Rudolph Walker, who plays Patrick Trueman in EastEnders, cut the ribbon at the refurbished clubhouse. It was revamped thanks to a £38,800 grant from Sport England and £27,700 contributed by the club itself. 

The actor has been a member of the club for more than 40 years. 

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