Players at Billingshurst Tennis Club are celebrating after two new top-of-the-range clay courts were declared open and ready for action.
The new courts were installed using the highest specification materials, which will provide a long-lasting and easy-to-maintain playing surface.
The club has two hard courts as well as the new courts and it’s hoped that the variety of surfaces will now attract new players.
“We’re very proud of the new courts – they look fantastic and they’re wonderful to play on,” said Richard Cordy, the incoming club chairman.
“They say that once you play on clay you never want to play on anything else. The softer surface means injuries are reduced as it’s kinder to knees, ankles and feet. One of its best assets is that you can play on it when it’s raining as clay absorbs the water and it doesn’t freeze either.
“We have matches going on in all seasons, so having the clay available means we’ll usually be able to play on whatever the weather.”
The clay court project was several years in the making, supported by a grant from Horsham District Council and an interest-free loan from the Lawn Tennis Association.
The club has nearly 250 members and fields three men’s and three women’s teams, as well as running a busy junior programme. Future plans include addressing parking issues at the club and initiating a project to develop a fifth court.
“We believe we now have some of the best facilities in the district,” said Cordy.
“We’re a friendly, competitive club and our teams have been doing very well in their leagues over the past few years.
At the opening of the clay courts event last week, 25 players joined in an entertaining ‘all v all’ game run by one of the club’s professional coaches, followed by refreshments and the AGM.
“It was great to see such a good turn-out for the opening,” added outgoing chairman Jo Chambers.
“Everyone who tried the clay said they really enjoyed playing on it.
“Our committee has worked hard to complete the project and I’d like to extend my thanks to them for all their hard work.”