TENNIS: New schedule please - league changes considered

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Major changes were discussed to the format and structure of the Northampton Lawn Tennis Summer League at last week’s NLTL Annual General Meeting.

The proposal was made by Northampton Lawn Tennis Club, and would see the summer league being played over a longer period, and with a winter like home and away fixture format.

Romano Gallo, Chairman of Northampton Lawn Tennis Club said at the meeting: “We’d like to amend the current summer league to run from March through to October.”

“We will at the same time reduce all the division in all categories to eight teams and play home and away.”

This would lead to fourteen matches being played in all divisions throughout an extended summer league period.

The new summer league structure would follow that of the current winter league, with the size of all summer leagues being cut down.

As it stands, the number of teams vary across the summer categories and divisions, with an average of 11 teams per league.

Under new proposals, all summer leagues would be made up of eight teams, with a home and away structure.

However, it is though that one thing that will stay the same is two teams being promoted and relegated each season.

However, questions we’re raised over the extent to which the new extended summer league would damage the reputation and participation of the winter season, which would be significantly reduced.

Questions were asked as to how all rearranged matches would get played, with the league being shorter, and matches being played in the harsher winter months.

Another issue was raised by Abington Tennis Club, who are unable to play matches at home on the grass at the start and end of the proposed new summer season.

This proposal will be discussed further in the coming months, as it was passed by 17 votes to 13.

The other key issue discussed at the 2016 Annual General Meeting was the permitting of playing matches on weekends.

This had been a grey area for many years, with matches typically being played only on weekdays.

After long discussions, the decision was made to permit weekend play in the winter season, but not during the summer league campaign.