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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.