Melton Mowbray Tennis Club were top of the crop as they were rewarded for a prolific first season at the 12th Leicestershire County Tennis Awards, on Monday.
With 56 official clubs in the county and more than 15,000 regular players, the county’s newest tennis club was formed in October 2016 and opened for members in April last year.
In their first year, their senior teams collected an astonishing nine league titles, a men’s Aegon League win as well as the prestigious Mercury Cup after beating favourites The Leicestershire in the final.
The fledgling club also added two 2016 Winter Indoor League titles and a junior Summer title.
At the awards night, held at Welford Road, county president and former British number one, Mark Cox, addressed the issue of where tennis is at present, while Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith was guest speaker and handed out the prizes.
Smith told the audience he had initially turned down the offer, believing there were other candidates more suited to the job, before changing his mind and guiding GB to their first Davis Cup in more than 70 years.
Melton’s achievements were more impressive considering the work needed to overhaul the run-down and unloved courts the club inherited at Melton Council’s Sports Village, with moss covering the Tarmac courts.
Despite the club funding the re-painting of the courts, they are still in urgent need of resurfacing and the club are working hard with the council and the Lawn Tennis Association to try and arrange the upgrade as soon as possible.
The new club cabin, delayed by tree pruning issues, will be available in the early part of the season.
Club chairman Nigel Haynes said: “The club’s achievements this year both on and off the courts have been amazing, but the 160-plus membership which is rising monthly, and has a huge presence of younger members, can be very proud of their efforts this year.
“The club has fully played their part in raising the profile of tennis at the council’s widely-acclaimed Sports Village project.
“And thanks to a generous sponsor we’re able to continue the club’s work with schools in the borough to offer free tennis sessions.
“After Easter the club will be introducing a disability coaching programme linked to Birchwood School.
“We have been overwhelmed with the membership’s support over this first year and we are so grateful for the support we have received from local businesses who have sponsored our club.”
“With the council’s support alongside the LTA, the club could really take a huge step forward and it would be no more than our enthusiastic, energetic young club deserves.”
Melton’s roll of honour –
Loughborough Winter Indoor League 2016/17: Division One and Division Two winners.
Summer League: Group 3A winners (men’s first team); Group 6B winners (men’s second team); Group 2A winners (ladies’ first team); Group 4A winners (ladies’ second team); Group 2 winners (mixed first team); Group 3B runners-up (mixed second team); Group 6A winners (mixed third team). Under 8s Group 3A winners.
Winter League: Group 1 winners (men’s first team); Group 4 winners (men’s second team); Group 10 (men’s third team).