Grass tennis season kicks off at 'third best courts in England'

Cromer's mayor Pat West was on hand to open the Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club's season.

Cromer's mayor Pat West was on hand to open the Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club's season. - Credit: Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

The newly-elected mayor of Cromer, Pat West, cut a ribbon to open the grass tennis court season at Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.

Kelvin van Hasselt, club chairman, said it came as people were getting active at the club in the lead-up to the summer, not only in tennis and squash, but also squash 57 - formerly known as racquetball, table tennis and pickleball.

Mr van Hasselt said the club's grass courts were recognised as the third best in England.

Cromer's mayor Pat West with Jean Spruce and the Cromer's pickleball team.

Cromer's mayor Pat West with Jean Spruce and the Cromer's pickleball team. - Credit: Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

He said: "Their continued pre-eminence is due to the care and attention of the Club’s head groundsman Matthew Jordan and the continued investment of NNDC over many years into the club to maintain the grass courts.

"The grass courts attract visitors and tournament players from all over the country to Cromer. The annual grand opening of the grass courts is thus an important date in the year for Cromer and North Norfolk."

Mr van Hasselt said head coach Andy Margarson was developing an outreach programme, working with school and offering some youngsters free coaching courses over the holidays.

Young squash players from across Norfolk to take part in the third junior grand prix of the season, which coincided with the open day.

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Results included: Cromer’s Katie Hollis beat Ray Smith from Rossis; Thomas Hollis beat Katie then beat Seb Oliveri from Banantynes.

 Norfolk junior grand prix squash competition players with Cromer's mayor Pat West.

Norfolk junior grand prix squash competition players with Cromer's mayor Pat West. - Credit: Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

Noah Burrows beat James Howard from East Anglia Tennis and Squash Club in a head-to-head after they were tied on points in their group, and Henry Smith from Broadland Sports won his group.

The club's new squash coach, Henry Geaves, is running a 12-week course for both adults and juniors, covering all the basic squash shots.

After the ribbon cutting, 28 players took plat in a 'club morning'.

Club morning take place Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 10.30pm, open to non-members for two hours of play for £10. 

Sam Read bends for a low volley on the pickleball court.

Sam Read bends for a low volley on the pickleball court. - Credit: Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

Geoff van Staden won the men's division of a Fastest Tennis Serve in the East contest with a speed of 78mph, left-hander Emily Quinn won the ladies' with a speed of 69mph; Jack Seton was junior boys' winner with 76mph and Alice Hiscock won the junior girls' division with 47mph.

Rachel Jones teaches junior table tennis at the Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club.

Rachel Jones teaches junior table tennis at the Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club. - Credit: Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

Two tarmac tennis courts were temporarily converted to players of pickleball - the world's fastest-growing sport. 

Jean Spruce leads pickleball at the club and there are sessions at Cromer Academy's indoor sports hall every Tuesday at 7.30pm and every Saturday at 1pm and also outside at the club on Fridays at 7pm.

Rachel Jones and Terry Lewis, 82, played table tennis non-stop all morning with juniors.

The newly opened grass courts at Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club.

The newly opened grass courts at Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club. - Credit: Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

Mr van Hasselt said: "The club is determined to expand its table tennis membership and is looking to appoint a table tennis coach to supervise a junior coaching programme for table tennis and develop junior teams."