The annual Tennis Wales awards have recognised the South Wales people and organisations that have contributed most to the sport during the past year.
The winners include players, volunteers, coaches, clubs and centres, as well as local authorities.
The awards were presented by Michael Downey, the new chief executive officer of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), and Sarah Powell, the new chief executive of Sport Wales, in a ceremony hosted by TV presenter Arfon Haines Davies, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, on Saturday night (January 18).
“The awards recognise our most talented people, and those who make it possible for thousands to enjoy tennis in Wales every week,” said Tennis Wales chief executive Peter Drew.
“Despite some setbacks that were beyond our control, we have continued to increase our membership throughout Wales, and the numbers of young people playing the game, thanks to a big investment in schools,” he added. “We now have an impressive army of coaches and volunteers who make tennis accessible in a range of formats at venues in the heart of our communities.”
Winners from South Wales were:
Club/Centre – Penarth LTC
This past year has been remarkable for Penarth LTC, which completed a new facility project by renovating the clubhouse and adding three more floodlit courts to attract more members. In the first five months since the refurbishments, club membership has risen by 30%.
Performance Coach – Chris Lewis (XL Tennis)
Chris has had yet another successful year, notably with Luke Simeone finishing the 2013 winter season as No 1 Under 16s. Chris also captained the winning Welsh U18 Tri Nations team, the European Summer Cup team and worked alongside Louis Cayer in La Manga with the GB doubles team.
Development Coach – John Williams (Cardiff LTC)
John had a highly successful 2013, coaching more squads, running more schools outreach sessions, successfully leading the men’s team to another Premier 1 doubles league title, hosting a grade 3 event with over 200 entrants and the Junior Welsh National Championships and Tri Nations Championships.
Team – Mackintosh Men’s
The Mackintosh club in Roath, Cardiff had a superb 2013 by coming runners-up in the British Aegon Team Tennis National Men’s Event. They had beaten Virgin Active Surrey in the quarter finals and then knocked out the reigning champions from Raynes Park in the semi-final before losing 10-5 in the deciding tie-break shoot-out against Sutton Tennis and Squash Club.
Club Team – Rhiwbina Ladies 1st
Rhiwbina Ladies enjoyed a superb 2013, winning Division 1 of the South Wales Doubles League and then beating Swansea 6-0 in the play-off to secure their spot in Premier 2 for the 2014 season.
Outstanding Contribution to Tennis in Wales – Cecil Jones
Cecil has been president of Glynneath TC for the last 45 years. He and his wife Margaret worked tirelessly to set up the Cecil Jones Coaching Programme at Glynneath, Neath and Ystradgynlais, and supporting youngsters to have access to tennis across the Neath Valleys. Cecil has been past president of Tennis Wales and a patron of Tennis Wales.
Tennis Wales Presidents Award for Services to Tennis – Mike Davies
As a player, Swansea-born Mike Davies was ranked no. 1 in Britain, was a Wimbledon finalist and Davis Cup member, and he later played key roles in the development of World Championship Tennis (WCT), the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Now aged 78, he was inducted into the ITF Hall of Fame in 2012.
Winners from North and Mid Wales were:
Volunteer of the Year – Jan Nevill (Newtown Tennis Club)
Young Volunteer of the Year – George Morris (Mold Tennis Club)
Player – Chris Hill (Crickhowell)
Local Authority – Flintshire County Council.
Information on all aspects of tennis in Wales is available from Tennis Wales at 029 20 463335 or www.lta.org.uk/in-your-area/Wales/ and for regular updates follow Tennis Wales on Twitter @tenniswales