[Captain’s Report from Conrad Brunner]: Many congratulations to all the players from Team St Ann’s for an impressive return to Parks League action in 2021. We finished the season in third place in Division 4 (see table below), and were in touching distance of automatic promotion up until the closing weeks. Overall, we comfortably won more matches than we lost – winning 40, losing 23, and halving one – and never failed to win at least one match per tie. Our scores against table toppers Queens D were 2-2 (away) and 1-3 (home), results which could easily have gone in our favour. A full strength team from start to finish would surely have secured promotion, but the Parks League is an 18 week steeplechase of work, life and family with moments of intense tennis action thrown in. I think we did brilliantly.
King Alfred B were our obstacle to promotion. We had two tough matches against them, and will feel that there’s some unfinished business there. We probably left a few points on the table vs Saltdean home and away, and our registration department dropped the ball once or twice, but on the whole we were competitive from beginning to end. Don’t forget that teams like Queens D and King Alfred B were able to bank 4-0 (8-0) wins, home and away, against their second teams in the division. So to finish just seven points behind King Alfred B was very respectable indeed.
A little history. Going all the way back to 2019, the re-introduction of Team St Ann’s to the Parks League was the first step, and number one priority. St Ann’s 2.0 gathered for its first training session on a cold overcast day in January 2020, a sufficiently well-attended event that the captain had 1st team pairings drafted for The Big Return in April 2020. Then Covid-19 hit, and for the first time since the Second World War, the Parks League was not contested. The court refurbishment of September 2020 lead to a welcome influx of new members, miraculously floating a number of fresh and talented male and female tennis players our way, allowing the formation of a new look team for the 2021 season. Only Conrad, Mark and Peggy remained from that 2020 line up. Team St Ann’s finally launched last April, with a 2-2 draw vs King Alfred C.
The season is not quite over! The End Of Season competition is a fun social event, where all the parks clubs gather together on one day. We’re only allowed a six strong team for that, with final line-ups to be confirmed. All members and team members are invited to come along and support the team at Hove.
So finally a bit thank to all our team who took part in this historic first season: Will, Neil, Anthony, Danielle, Cazzie, Steve, Roxy, Mo, Danni, Phil, Lynn, Joss, Mark & Peggy. It’s been fantastic having a team competing again in the Parks League after a four year absence.
Our goals now are a) to register a 2nd team (BHPLTA have suggested this is possible, but it still depends on us registering enough lady members. We have tons of good chaps), and b) to get our top team as strong as possible with promotion the target for 2022. We need to boost our ladies, so that instead of our modest number of six registered ladies (heroines, all), we have +12 ladies in the squad for 2022. We think we’ve already found a gem or two, with our new weekly doubles sessions. See here