COVID-19 VIRUS PANDEMIC UPDATE
You will recall that we cancelled all matches up to and including 24th April 2021.
We have now come to the conclusion that it is sensible to cancel the remaining few
matches of the 2020/2021 Season. Your Fixtures Secretary is now engaged in
arranging our matches for the 2021/2022 season and he will circulate the agreed
dates in due course.
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Annual General Meeting 2021
The Dedanists Society AGM will be held by Zoom at 6pm on Wednesday 12th May. Please see below for details of how to attend and copies of all necessary background documents.
Link to Zoom Meeting
Annual Report 2019/20
Development Plan 2021/3
Minutes AGM 2019
The Dedanist Society is delighted to congratulate Lea Van Der Zwalmen on being awarded Distinction in her Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Leuven, Belgium’s largest university.
Lea continues to be part of the Real Tennis National Academy run by The Dedanist Society which she has been in since 2018/19 as well as being the Ladies Real Tennis world number two since June 2018.
She is also the Ladies Rackets World Champion and her ambition is to be the first ever person to be the singles World Champion in both Rackets and Real Tennis in the same season.
Lea is currently working in France, near the new court in Bordeaux, and we all hope it will not be long before competitive Tennis and Rackets resume and Lea can seek to fulfil her ambition.
New Washington Tennis Court
Our friends in Washington DC are well advanced with their plans for a new court at the Westwood Country Club a few miles from the current Prince's Court where the lease expires shortly.
This is an exciting new initiative which we are delighted to encourage but there is still a shortfall in the necessary funding . They would welcome any contributions, so have a look at the details by clicking the link to the T&RA website below which also has all the information about how to donate.
We know that all contributions, however small, would be gratefully received.
THE DEDANISTS’ SOCIETY IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC
To: Members of the Dedanists’ Society
As a Society, we play real tennis, run the British Real Tennis Academy, hold social events, raise funds and communicate with you and the world at large through our website. The coronavirus pandemic impacts most of these activities. How are we responding?
Playing Real Tennis
We have cancelled all summer matches including the Sparks Dedanists’ Pro Am. We are planning for the new season from September 2020 onwards as if it were business-as-usual. It isn’t. But it’s easier to change events, once we have them in place, than to create them at short notice from scratch. We have just emailed you our list of fixtures and match managers for 2020/1. Because of the virus, these are subject to change. Our fixtures secretary and match managers are alert to this. If you book into an event, they will take special care to keep you informed.
The pandemic makes us all newly conscious of managing uncertainty and risk, few more so than we Dedanists. Many of our players are 70+ years of age, especially vulnerable to the virus and subject to shielding and extended lockdown as a result. Many Dedanists prefer doubles to singles. Doubles means more proximity between players, higher risk of infection and greater uncertainty as to when government and clubs will allow the game to re-start and whether players will accept the extra risk. Players will make their own risk assessment and make their own personal and different choices about what they will and won’t do. As a wandering club, it is especially incumbent upon us to adhere to the rules for behaviour and play of the clubs who host us - and these rules may well change from club to club. This adds yet another layer of uncertainty. In recruiting players and organising matches during this time of pandemic, we will be especially sensitive to these uncertainties and especially careful to respect the personal concerns and preferences of players.
Running the British Real Tennis Academy
The Academy is a national coaching programme for the best young players in the country. We fund and run it with support from the T&RA. It will continue next season. We will need to be particularly careful to identify and respect the concerns of parents. As with our own Dedanist club matches, we are selecting players and organising coaching now on a business-as-usual basis so that we have structured programmes in place that we can then flex according to the circumstances of the time. Dedanists’ Society members through subscriptions, match fees and donations are the primary funders of the Academy. Thank you and long may this continue. One high spot of next season will be the World Junior Championship to be held in the UK in December. It is sponsored by us. The current world champion, Freddie Bristowe, is an Academy player. We hope that an Academy player will win again in December.
Recruiting & Training New Professionals
A number of members are taking a leading role in developing a national programme to recruit and train the new young professionals that our game will need if it is to survive and thrive over the next ten years. The programme is called ‘Investing in Professionals’. It is sponsored by the T&RA. We are currently considering the programme’s request for a cash grant. More anon.
Communicating via the Website www.dedanists.org
We have recently enriched the ‘General Interest ‘ miscellany section of our website with ‘Cut Above the Rest’, Chris Ronaldson’s iconic coaching videos, starring Chris himself with guest appearances from Lachie Deuchar, Lesley Ronaldson, Nick Wood and Sue Haswell.
Other gems in this section include;
- ‘The Doubles Game – Strategy & Tactics’ by Colin Dean.
- ‘ALL you ever wanted to KNOW about TENNIS and other BALL GAMES but didn’t know where to look’ by Gil Kressmann - translated from the French by our curator of curiosities, Martin Village.
Tony Friend manages the content of our website, relishes feedback and is constantly on the lookout for new material that will capture the interest of members. Do please give feedback and new material to Tony at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good health and best wishes at this time of pandemic,
Josh Farrall (M) 07990 857 912
Chairman, The Dedanists’ Society
Rob Fahey travelled down to Seacourt to give intensive Academy coaching to 3 of the countries brightest prospects. Will Flynn, Max Trueman & James Medlow are all currently ranked in the top 4 under 18’s in the world. The 3 juniors who all play at Seacourt still have lots to learn as they spent a total of 4 hours on court with the World Champion 2 days in a row.
The programme is structured such that, once a month, on consecutive days, the players receive 8 hours of intense on-court coaching from Rob. Andrew Lyons is there throughout as part of the coaching team, helping on the day and implementing the coaching during the rest of the month when Rob is away.
These one on one sessions with talented junior players were sponsored by the Society and will stand them in good stead as they head off to the Junior World Championships in Tuxedo this July.
The Dedanists Society invests in the UK's top juniors
The U21/U24 British Open
Sponsored by the Dedanists Society
Middlesex University 2nd -6th January 2020
U21 Singles Freddie Bristowe bt Ned Batstone
U24 Singles Robert Shenkman bt Levi Gale
U24 Doubles Shenkman & Bristowe bt Gale & Smart
The Dedanists’ Society is dedicated to identifying and supporting the best in junior real tennis. It sponsors this championship. It funds and runs the British Real Tennis Academy. It is the T&RA’s lead partner in the development of junior tennis. The quality of tennis played in the championship this year was higher than seen for some time. This is a credit to club and Academy coaches.
The tournament was organised and marked by the Middlesex University Club professionals, Chris Bray and Will Burns. Here is their report:
In the U21 singles, the playoff match to qualify for the final was between Ned Batstone and Zack Smart. The winner would play no 1 seed Freddie Bristowe in the final. Batstone had spent several months in the US honing his skills in preparation for the tournament. Would all this court time stand him in good stead for a successful tournament or could Smart under the tutelage of Nick Wood at Hampton court spring a surprise? It was a strong performance from Batstone using his effective railroad and powerful forehand to take the match 6/1 6/3. This victory set up another showdown between old foes, Bristowe and Batstone. They did not disappoint with stunning rallies and incredible points throughout the match. Bristowe started the stronger of the two by taking the first set with his silky skills and accurate target hitting. However, Batstone battled back strongly in the next set, digging in and making the points longer. He was finally able to get control of the serving end and take the set convincingly. We were down to the decider. Bristowe regained his composure and rhythm. Although Batstone kept pushing and battling away, it was Bristowe who played the more accurate tennis at the crucial moments and hit the grille with regularity to take a deserved 6/2 2/6 6/3 victory. Well played to both finalists. We’ll be hearing plenty from these two in the years to come.
In the U24 singles, we had two very intriguing semi-finals. Firstly, Ned Batstone was taking on number 2 seed Levi Gale. Gale, the newly appointed assistant at Radley, had been taking advice and practice from former world champion Chris Ronaldson in the lead up to the event. As a result, he looked in fine fettle and was confident going into his matches. This was an excellent encounter with plenty of toing and froing. Gale played in his clinical style using his excellent floor game and good movement to pressure Batstone into errors. He took the first 6/0 in quick time. Batstone finally got himself in to the match and the second set was brilliant to watch. It lasted well over an hour with Gale ahead all the way but Batstone refusing to give way. At 5 games all, Batstone chose to make his move and took the set 6/5 with effective defence of the serving end and well-placed shots under the grille. Into the decider. Gale managed to regain control, again grinding out point after point. All the games were close. However, Gale was not to be denied and he was in no mood to give anything away again taking the set 6/0.
The second Semi-Final saw defending champion Rob Shenkman taking on the talented Freddie Bristowe. This was one of the best matches in recent years at the tournament. Both players played outstanding tennis. The retrieving was mesmerising, the shot making breath-taking. It was an incredible battle which could have gone either way. At 6/5 5/3 up, Bristowe looked like causing one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Shenkman had thrown in everything he had but it did not look to be enough. However, using all his experience, he managed to stay in the points and slowly get to 5 games all. A couple of mistakes crept in to the Bristowe game and this was enough for Shenkman to take the set. Shenkman, now full of confidence, got off to a great start in the next and was able to seal a 5/6 6/5 6/2 win. A relieved Shenkman was still alive to fight another day and perhaps take another U24 title.
The final was an intriguing encounter between two-time winner Rob Shenkman and the up and coming Levi Gale. Could Gale avenge the losses from previous years or would Shenkman continue to grow in stature and take another title? Could Gale add pace and power to complement his excellent floor game or would Shenkman be too good with his exceptional movement and fluid style? It was clear from the start that Shenkman had gone up to another level. His confidence and rhythm were at their best. There were good hard-fought rallies throughout the match. However, Shenkman was on the winning side of most of them. Gale realised that he had to take his game up a couple of gears and tried his hardest. He started hitting loose balls with fearsome power, sending a clear message that he was still in the match. Shenkman however was not to be stopped and played consistent tennis when needed and dispatched any missed forces with clinical accuracy. He secured a famous 6/1 6/2 victory and with it a hatrick of U24 titles. In the U24 doubles final, the U21 and U24 singles champions, Bristowe and Batstone, combined to achieve a convincing 6/0 6/2 victory over Levi Gale and Zack Smart. There were some exciting, hard hitting rallies to be seen in this match which pleased the crowd in attendance.
MURTC wishes to thank the Dedanists’ Society for their continuing support of junior tennis and for sponsoring the championship again this year. We look forward to next year.
Will Burns & Chris Bray
GAP Year Apprentices working at Seacourt
The Dedanists' Society together with the Dedanists Foundation and the T&RA are supporting an important new initiative taking place at the Cambridge club. The objective is to support 2 youngsters whilst they are given a 6 month insight into life as a Real Tennis professional with a view to them choosing this as a career. Currently the game is suffering a shortfall in the number of young players seeking to become professionals. It is hoped that if this initiative is successful it could become a blueprint for similar schemes at other clubs.
The 2 youngsters taking part in the scheme are Jim Ludekens and Andrew Barker. As part of the scheme and to widen their knowledge about Real Tennis clubs they have just spent a week at Seacourt where they worked alongside top professional Andrew Lyons.
Their week at Seacourt gave them an insight into how another club is run and gave them plenty of opportunity to see the Seacourt approach to coaching junior players. Seacourt were running their usual half term Sports Club which includes Lawn Tennis, Padel, Badminton and Squash as well as Real Tennis. As part of their workload, Jim & Andrew joined in with the management of this club which is open to all youngsters living on Hayling Island.
They both enjoyed their Seacourt experience and felt that they had learned many things that would be useful in possible future careers as a Real Tennis professional.
Dedanists Christmas Lunch at Lemonia, Primrose Hill
Thursday 12th December 2019
On a cold and wet Thursday last week 49 intrepid Dedanists and guests (4 ladies & 45 gentlemen) set foot in Lemonia, which is described in Hardens as a “vast Greek Taverna” for our Christmas luncheon. We had of course had our Christmas lunches there for the last few years so many of us were well prepared for a light (sic) luncheon. After brief introductions from Carl Snitcher and Josh Farrall we sat down for lunch. We were warned that there would be a seating shuffle, in the capable hands of Valerie O’Donnell, after the main course.
The first course arrived and seemed to go on for ever reminding those who had attended previous Christmas lunches at Lemonia that it was probably more than sufficient but alas no. The main courses arrived and those like me who had chosen Kleftiko were pretty much overawed by the helping size. Mine came home in a doggy bag! At this stage Valerie, tasked with the seating shuffle, stood up, but was asked to stand on a chair so that we could all see her, to explain to a befuddled gathering what her succinct plan was. Inevitably a good percentage of the assembled company had pre-decided who they wanted to sit next to for the pudding and the shuffle was duly completed.
Josh, as Chairman of proceedings on the day, got to his feet to announce that a presentation was to be made to Danny Jones, who of course attended the luncheon, for his excellent and devoted work throughout the year around the Dedanist Academy programme.
At the end of proceedings, late on in the afternoon, all departed the restaurant but not before John Beatty picked up his overcoat and left only to be told later that he had walked off with Giles Stogdon’s identical coat. A coat swap was negotiated and the local constabulary were not involved.
Carl generously invited a few stragglers back to his house, a few minutes away, for a final swift one and it gave the Chairman an opportunity to catch 40 winks before he set off home to Henley. Big thanks go to Carl for organising a large gathering and a very enjoyable Christmas get-together.