Ackworth tennis club nets two awards as membership peaks

A tennis club that was on the verge of folding two years ago has netted two awards thanks to the efforts of two key members.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 12:12 pm

Ackworth Tennis Club was on the verge of extinction in 2018 due to dwindling membership, until Don Saul took over as chairman and appointed tennis coach Alice Robson.

Since then the club has flourished with a 700 per cent in crease in membership, going from 17 players to 136 in the space of 18 months.

The pair have now landed awards from the Yorkshire Lawn Tennis Association, with Don picking up volunteer of the year and Alice landing the coach of the year.

Richard Garrett CEO of The Tim Henman Foundation said: “I doubt that there is any other club in the country that has experienced the membership growth that Ackworth Tennis Club has achieved. This is down to the quality of the leadership and the coaching.

“Don Saul and Alice Robson need particular praise.

“They have embraced change and partnerships with Ackworth School, Yorkshire Tennis, The Tim Henman Foundation and BECSLink.”

Don’s leadership was recognised by the award panel as being instrumental in helping to turn the club’s fortune around and forging links with the community, including ties with the College Lane Surgery in Ackworth to help patients with their fitness.

Since her appointment, Alice has established a coaching programme from scratch, and even introduced more than 2,000 schoolchildren to the sport at 17 local primary schools.

Adrian Waites of Yorkshire Tennis, said: “Alice has been the inspiration behind a remarkable turnaround in the levels of tennis participation at the club.”