League History

Leslie Finn, founder of the League Ever wondered when the league began, who was involved in creating the league and the structure of the league? Well read on to find out!

1948 - The League Is Created
The City & Suburban Tennis League was formed in August 1948, at a meeting held at the home of a Mr. Leslie Finn, pictured right seen presenting a second divison championship shield at the leagues presentation evening in 1980. Also present at this meeting was Mr. Jack Whitehouse, and a member of the Staffordshire L.T.A. Committee. It was decided at this meeting that a mixed doubles league would be formed. Eight years later a division for mens doubles was introduced and soon after the ladies doubles was formed.

Twenty Seven Clubs In The 80's
Originally the leagues were 'zoned' but as more and more clubs became members the leagues were based on strength with promotion and relegation between divisions. As the years progressed the league went from strength to strength and by the late sixties twenty clubs were competing in the various divisions, entering a total of fifty four teams. By this stage there was a ladies division, a mixed division and five mens divisions.

In the early eighties the number of clubs and teams had risen to twenty seven and sixty three respectively with two ladies divisions, and although today there are only thirteen clubs in existence (largely due to the obliteration of park teams) there are still fifty teams challenging for honours in a ladies, mixed and four mens divisions.

The League's First Officials
Of course todays tennis players competing in the City & Suburban League owe a great deal, initially to the people who had the vision and determination to create such a league and subsequently to those who have carried on their respective roles to the present day. Leslie Finn and Jack Whitehouse have been mentioned previously and it is difficult to imagine anybody else who would provide such a dedicated, committed and lengthy service to the league as these two gentlemen did.

League Officials 1988 When the league was formed Leslie Finn became the leagues first chairman, a role he held until the end of the 1968 season. At the 1969 AGM, and the commencement of the leagues 21st anniversary he was 'promoted' to the post of President, thus he bacame the leagues first President. This was a position he would hold until the end of the 1988 season, when he sadly died. Leslie Finn had provided a remarkable forty one years of service to the City & Suburban Tennis League. It was appropriate that following his death, Madge Finn, his widower would serve as Vice President of the league (joint position with Jack Whitehouse) before she died in 1997.

Another founder member of the league was Jack Whitehouse. At the first meeting he became Treasurer, a position he was to hold until he retired in 1998. From 1983 he succeeded the late Harry Miller as Vice President and he still holds that position. Upon retiring from his post as Treasurer Mr. Whitehouse received a crystal chalice from the clubs as a token of respect and appreciation for an outstanding fifty years service to the league.

The photograph above (courtesy of Graham Barlow), shows officials for the league during the 1988 season. They are from left to right, Eddie Adams, Les Finn, Jack Whitehouse, Sue Plant (now Simcock) and Graham Barlow.

Other names who have played a significant part in the administration of the league include the late Harry Miller who served as league secretary from 1962-1967 before becoming Vice President until his death in 1983, and the late Jim Chainey who held the post of secretary from 1974-1980. In more recent times, the current chair, Sue Simcock has devoted fifteen years service to the league, whilst Graham Barlow served as secretary from 1983-1992 and as assistant secretary for a further seven years. The current President Malcolm Dale has been in office for ten years, and John Greatbatch was secretary from 1992-1999.

The Current Officials
Todays league officials (three of which have just been mentioned), without which the league would cease to exist are Kevin Harper, the league secretary now in his second year having also served two years as assistant secretary in the late eighties; Colin Kinshott is press secretary and Dave Barker is treasurer both of whom are entering their second year of their respective roles; Mr Jenkins is the assistant secretary and Dave Roper is the auditor;

A Change In Rules
Like all committees it is these people who make the rules and regulations that govern their particular league. The City & Suburban Tennis League has, it has to be said, seen little in the way of rule changes over the years but one significant and judicious alteration came in 1965.

From 1948 to 1964 the league had operated under a scoring system of 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. So if a team was winning 2 events to nil, but the other two events could not be completed, then this team had to settle for a draw! At the beginning of the 1965 season a new system, the system we use today was introduced which meant that every played and unplayed event was scored. If an event was won 1 point was awarded, and if an event remained incomplete or unplayed half a point was awarded. I'm sure most would agree that the scoring system in use today is a much fairer way of determining results than that which was used for the early part of the league.

AGM 2001 Winners
Celebration Time
After twenty five years of existence, a Silver Jubilee Dinner and Dance was held at the North Stafford Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent where Ann Jones, the 1969 ladies Wimbledon champion presented the trophies. The price of the meal included a soup for 15p, Roast Leg of Lamb for 95p and home made apple pie for 20p! The fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the league was also marked with a dinner dance. This event, held at Michelin Social Club at the end of September was attended by over one hundred guests. Presentations of the trophies were made to the winners of the respective leagues, and special presentations were made to Jack Whitehouse and Maisie Hudson, both of whom have been associated with the City & Suburban Tennis League from the very beginning.