DORCHESTER Tennis & Squash Club unveiled their new artificial clay tennis courts, with councillor Mary Penfold officially opening the facilities.

The ceremony, which was attended by more than 65 dignitaries, guests and members, saw speeches by Michael Clarke, president of the club, Keith Mason, tennis chairman and the councillor who then cut the official opening ribbon to facilitate an exhibition match between Alex White and Joggan Austin, followed by several junior matches.

The match saw White beat Austin 6-2, albeit with the latter playing cautiously to guard against a further injury.

During the exhibition match, members and guests enjoyed an afternoon tea thanks to Sarah Baker and Jill Maple.

The project represents a significant investment in the regeneration of the tennis facilities and has been financed through the club’s own reserve funds with supporting grants from Sport England’s Community Asset Fund, West Dorset District Council’s Leisure Development Fund, Dorset Lawn Tennis Association, Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ initiative and Pengillys Solicitors & Mediators.

Additionally, loan funding has been provided by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), with Dorchester Town Council providing invaluable access to the town’s borough gardens tennis courts to enable club play to

continue while work was in progress.

Keith Mason, chairman of club’s tennis committee, said: “We have been playing-in the new artificial clays courts for a few weeks now to iron out any wrinkles and the feedback from players, from juniors to seniors, has been extremely positive.”

“We are extremely grateful to all our donors and supporters without whom it would have been difficult to bring the new tennis courts project to fruition.

“Together, we have been able to create a tennis venue with the only state-of-the-art artificial clay courts within a 15-mile radius of Dorchester.”

The ceremony brings to completion an 18-month project to replace the club’s three, worn-out tarmac tennis courts with the latest, British-made Advantage Clay artificial clay courts which were manufactured by Tiger Turf and installed on-time and on-budget by Chiltern Sports Contractors.

Representatives of both companies were at the club to help celebrate the occasion.

The club expects the new artificial clay courts to make the club the tennis venue of choice in the Dorchester area.

Already, the expected benefits of improved court accessibility and usability during wet and frosty weather are paying dividends with both early morning junior coaching sessions and evening play continuing unabated in conditions that would previously have prevented them.

The county town club warmly welcomes enquiries from potential new tennis players who would like to experience their new playing surface.

n Dorchester Tennis & Squash Club also offers squash, racketball and table tennis, so if you are interested in playing for fun or competing at a high level on teams and in tournaments in any of their racquet sports, contact the club’s administrator, Adam Lawrence, during office hours (Monday to Friday 9am-11am) on 01305 268103 or email full details are on the club website


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