A disappointing end to the South of Scotland Tennis Championships highlights the need for new all-weather courts in Moffat.
The South of Scotland Tennis Championships had to endure another finals weekend of bad weather once again to complete this year’s event. Play was, once again, taken to the Nunholm Sports Club courts in Dumfries, this time for an unprecedented both days of the finals weekend.
A big thank you must go to Nunholm Sports Club for helping the tournament out of a tricky situation for the fourth time in the last seven years but Moffat really needs to have its own courts where it can guarantee that the rain will drain away properly and allow completion of this hugely historical tournament at Moffat.
Despite a great effort by the council ground staff a few weeks before the start of the tournament to make the courts as good as they were at beginning of the competition without actually digging up the existing courts it is impossible to solve this drainage issue.
This year there were a lot of negative comments from tournament players questioning the ongoing validity of such a big tournament on courts that are worn out. One entrant commented ‘you must be the only really big tournament in Britain that has courts in this condition with such appalling drainage problems. It is very difficult to see how Moffat can retain a tournament of this size and grading and continue to attract top players when you cannot keep the courts at Beechgrove playable for the full 8 day duration of the event.’
After a huge entry once again with over 230 players breaking the entry record once again, organisers feel that new, All-weather courts are the only way forward. One committee member said ‘ New courts can only help the tournament to increase in size and strength. It is a big investment but it makes economical sense to protect an event which brings so much money into the town in the 8 days it runs for. With All weather courts we can guarantee play which will encourage more players, who at present travel daily depending on the weather, to stay overnight in the town. With a somewhat ‘captive audience’ we can then run more social events which will increase the player satisfaction of the whole event. Increased entry numbers not only increase income into the town for the duration of the tournament it also raises the general profile of Moffat to those who, having had an enjoyable experience tournament week, return to Moffat outwith the tournament. All of this has to be important for a town that relies on tourism to survive.
With Beechgrove Tennis Club as the driving force we have identified which surface would be most beneficial for all of the facilities users, we have had site surveys and obtained relevant quotes. Discussions are ongoing with the council who will hopefully make this a priority project for 2015. After a long time in waiting it is certainly something that Moffat deserves.
The Tennis that was played at both Moffat and Dumfries was of a very high level and the Mens Singles Open saw a top class final with Alan MacDonald (Barnton Park TC) beating Allan McClure (Giffnock TC) to retain the title he won last year in a match that was much closer than the score suggests. Both had fought their way to the final from a draw of 32 highly rated individuals.
The Ladies Singles Open saw a repeat of last years final Emily Lauder (Virgin Active Club Lanarkshire) beating Sophie Dunlop (Strathgryfe LTC) once again.
There were a good number of Moffatonians playing this year representing Beechgrove Tennis Club. The best performing of these were area Tennis coach Mike McMillin, reaching the final of the Mens Handicap Singles and Marisa Meola who reached the final of the Mixed Handicap Singles.
Other players from Dumfries & Galloway doing well were Mens handicap singles winner Alex Shearman, Mens handicap doubles winner Chad Lawson with Alex once again and Rhona Park, who reached the semis of the under 18 girls singles.
Mens open singles Alan Macdonald bt Allan McClure 6-0 6-3
Ladies open sinlges Emily Lauder bt Sophie Dunlop 6-3 6-4
Mens open doubles Alan Macdonald/AndrewMelrose bt David McCall/Craig Severin 6-2 7-5
Ladies open doubles Nicola Tweedy/Sophie Williamson bt Nikki Howie/Charlotte Walker 6-4 6-3
Mixed open doubles Allan McClure / Sophie Dunlop bt Jack Walker/Emily Lauder 6-3 7-5
Mens handicap singles Alex Shearman bt Mike McMillin 6-2 6-2
Mens handicap doubles Chad Lawson/ Alex Shearman bt Scott Docherty/Joe Docherty 6-3 6-3
Mixed handicap doubles Joe Docherty / Holly Docherty bt Craig Severin/Marisa Meola 6-4 6-1
U18 Boys James Shemilt bt Michael Welsh 6-4 6-3
U18 Girls Nicola Tweedy bt Emily Gates 5-7 7-6 (10-5)
U16 Boys Philip Blythe bt Scott Docherty 3-6 7-6 (10-8)
U16 Girls Caitlin Owens bt Emily Gates 5-4 (ret)
U16 Boys doubles Scott Docherty/Jamie Martin bt Jack Barclay/Greg Walker 4-2 4-0
U14 Boys Lewis Hall bt Callum Rendle 6-1 6-3
U14 Girls grace Eland bt Megan Almond 6-4 6-2
The organising committee would like to thanks all their sponsors, without whom none of this would be possible
Magnox North (chapelcross site), HEAD uk, Annandale and Eskdale Upper Area Committee, Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, Scottish Cooperative, The Star Hotel, The Stag Hotel, The Buccleuch Arms Hotel, The Balmoral Hotel,The Moffat House Hotel, Hartfell House and Limetree Restaurant, Claudio’s Restaurant and Maria’s Fish & Chip shop.