Mirfield serves up free tennis

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Mirfield Tennis Club is throwing open its courts to the community this weekend to build on a spectacular decade of growth.

The Memorial Park-based club is offering free ‘taster’ tennis to adults and children this Sunday from 11am-2pm, with rackets, balls and refreshments provided.

Last year’s open day attracted over 100 people - a figure confirmed by the Lawn Tennis Association to be the highest of any club open event in the north of England. Membership subsequently doubled from 70 to 140 players and a junior coaching and school outreach programme has been set up.

The 2015 season capped a remarkable 10-year period for the club after a dedicated core of volunteers took Mirfield from the brink of bankruptcy to a thriving facility.

Back in 2005, membership had dwindled to just 12 adults who were on the verge on handing over responsibility for their three courts to Kirklees Council, who manage the three adjacent public courts.

“Because the council courts were free to access, they became a gathering place for teenagers. It wasn’t a safe place and families has no interest in playing on the club courts next to them,” said vice-chairman Mathew Morgan.

The rejuvenated committee’s efforts secured grant funding from the LTA and council, which paid for resurfacing, improved security and new floodlights. State-of-the-art keycard access is now planned.

“I think we have grown because of our modern approach. We have an online presence and it’s a welcoming club with a real community feel,” added Mathew.

The open day will include mini-tennis led by coaches for children aged 5-10, and members will be available to hit with adults and teenagers.