[soliloquy id=”56″]

Men’s Captain’s Blogs

Captain’s Blog 4/2/14

Well done the Men’s teams with two good wins over the last weekend.

The first team Richard Bodkin (acting Captain), Paul Gozzard, Iain Hartwell and Jim Khan secured a convincing 3:1 home win against Shinfield 1 and justly deserved from all the hard work put in at practice on Saturday’s and showing the value of regularly playing together and established pairings.

The second team Will McDonald (acting Captain), John Lovegrove, Tom McIvor and Nick Proffitt secured a great winning draw away to league leaders Wargrave 4 and it was really good that we were able to field such a strong team and come away with the points.

With Cardiff beating Norwich and Wales beating Italy it was good to see all the teams I support in winning ways over the weekend and long may this continue.

Special thanks also again to Mike Rosen for helping me with organisation whilst I’m recovering from injury.

Don’t forget Men’s Doubles this Saturday morning at Wellington!

11th January 2014

Firstly a Happy New Year to all, with clear blue skies at Wellington this morning which has put a smile on a few faces and mine for sure.

We’re right in the middle of the winter league with the 1st team away tomorrow at Wargrave and the 2nd’s somewhat frustrated with the late cancellation from Purley 2 would couldn’t raise a team.

Many of you will have heard of my injury which happened during the 2nd rubber of our home match with Crowthorne late October when I tore a ligament in my left wrist whilst hitting an angled backhand volley. This has required complex surgery and means I’ll be side-lined for a while whilst hopefully recovering but no sport on the horizon which is somewhat frustrating.

A big ‘Thank You’ to Mike Rosen who has helped with team admin and also Richard Bodkin who has taken over Captain’s duties during matches whilst I’m unable to play.

Lots of positives with Men’s tennis at Wellington and in particular the drive and enthusiasm shown by new recruits to both the 1st and 2nd teams. We’re now getting good attendance on Saturday mornings and plans to really build on the progress we’ve made to date and engage with the coaching team under Simon.

We had a good session this morning and it was great to see how Iain Hartwell and Jim Khan are gelling together as the second pair in the first team. Paul Gozzard will be partnering Richard as first pair and we wish all four good luck for the away match at Wargrave tomorrow morning.

Wellington Men's tennis team Jan 2014 Wellington Men's tennis team Jan 2014
Team practice at Wellington on Saturday 11th January.

Remember the Saturday morning session from 10.00 until lunchtime and all Men welcome and hopefully see you next week.

And finally special thanks to Mike this morning as I hit a few balls very carefully with my right hand!

Captain’s Blog 31/8/2013

Winter league matches

We have entered 2 Men’s teams with me running the firsts and Mike Rosen the seconds. Matches will take place on Sunday mornings and the provisional dates I have been given are 6,27 October 17 November 8 December 11 January and 7, 23 March so please put the dates in the diary. As soon as I have the exact fixtures I’ll post these on the tennis website http://www.wellingtontennis.co.uk/ . Thanks also to those of you who have indicated a desire to play matches.

Men’s Doubles Tennis Ladder over the winter

From talking to many of you there’s an interest in running a Doubles ladder. If you want to be part please e:mail me back and I’ll get things moving. Suggestion is best of 3 sets and play whenever games can be fixed up. Ideally we’ll have even pairings so not play first team pairs in the ladder.

Communications in general

There’s an instant messaging smartphone application called WhatsApp which many of us are now using as a tennis group. This enables getting instant messages to a lot of people very quickly and has worked very well to date with subscribers growing. It means we can quickly broadcast if there’s a game going or other information.

If you want to be part of this please get WhatsApp for your phone (it was free or maybe now only a nominal amount) and then send an e:mail to nik_proffitt_is@hotmail.com as Nick is managing this group.

Wellington Health and Fitness Tennis Team Facebook Group

If you’ve a Facebook account then you might consider joining the group? If so please respond to this e:mail with your Facebook name/e:mail and we’ll add you in.

Clarification on Men’s sessions

There have been a group of us playing on Saturday morning’s from 10.00-12.30 and this is a session for anyone to join in on. This is where the messaging application and Facebook page is useful for advising people what’s going on.

There’s also been a group of us playing Men’s Doubles on a Thursday night around 8.00pm and also on an ad hoc basis on a Wednesday evening.

If you’re interested in playing mid-week evenings (weds or thurs) please let me know and we’ll look at building some structure to this.

Business travel and holidays have made setting anything up a challenge but with the advent of these new communications tools we ought to be able to get things going.


With Liz’s departure the club has come up with some proposals to offer coaching to the Men’s section and teams. Do you want it? What would you like to see? When would this be? What would be your expectations on cost? Please reply to me asap on this so I can consolidate our feelings.

Other news re: courts etc

The last information I had was that there is a possibility of re-furb on the hardcourts and repairs to the fencing taking place in October. I’m sure the College will want nice tennis courts alongside the new hockey pitch so am hopeful we’ll get a smart and proper job done. I’ve also put in a request for a permanent shelter near the courts to use in the event of rain etc. and this seems very reasonable for spectators as well.

Captain’s Blog 10/3/2013

Match Report V Westmorland Park Sunday 10/3

Mens tennis team - Wellington Health & fitness club
All smiles as the boys came out on top against Westmorland Park (l to r, Iain Hartwell, Tom McIvor, Paul Stephens and Richard Bodkin)

One of the toughest, gutsiest, aggressive and most passionate battles I can remember for many a time saw Wellington secure a winning draw against our bogey team Westmorland Park by 6 sets to 5 on a chilly windy Sunday at Wellington.

It’s an absolute privilege and a pleasure playing in the Men’s team with such a committed group of players and we dug deep today to secure 2 precious league points which puts us in Joint No.1 position in the Winter League.

The game saw 6 tie breaks in the 4 rubbers, 3 championsip tie breaks deciding 3 of the rubbers and the match lasting over 3.5 hours so you can see how close it was.

We were also playing pairings who have never played together before in the league so especially pleasing.

Richard and Tom played No.1 pairing and narrowly lost to their No.1 pair but comfortably beat their No.1.

Paul and Iain (two left handers) played No.2 pair and won their first rubber on a championship tie break and narrowly lost against the No.1 pair again on a championship tie break.

A lot of tennis and a real battle which sets things up for the final match against Wargrave away on the 7th April.

Well done team, fantastic effort!

Captain’s Blog 3/3/2013

Lots of information this week on Winter and Summer league matches and other Men’s tennis.

It is now getting down to the business end of the season and a 3 rubbers to 1 home win against RSF3 has seen Wellington move up to 2nd in the league behind Westmorland Park and just ahead of Magnet. The current league table is showing incorrectly as Magnet had a losing draw today at Royal Ascot and should be on 9 points not 10 as shown currently (see below) and http://lta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/draw.aspx?id=EDBB59F4-E289-400E-80B9-20BB7A71DF53&draw=7 for all the results.

Great performance again from Richard and Nick to win their 2 rubbers today. Tom and Paul won their first rubber comfortably but lost the second against a good RSF first pairing who it looks were playing down from their 2nd team.

Wellington are playing Westmorland Park at home on the 10/10 in a fixture which could ultimately decide the league as our remaining fixture after that is against Wargrave. We’ll also know more after they enter their result from their match against Sonning today.

Summer League 2013 Men’s fixtures

We’ve now got details of our Summer matches which start on the 20th April and can be found at http://lta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/drawmatches.aspx?id=F5A4DCBE-C9C6-41E1-84E0-9C41ABD72C03&draw=32

Men’s Practice and Open Sessions

As the days are now drawing out and hopefully getting warmer we are re-visiting a midweek Wednesday evening session for the Men’s teams. Please e:mail Paul if you’re interested.

The Men’s Saturday morning session is also running well and remember open to all. Again please e:mail Paul if you’re interested in joining in.

Captain’s Blog 18/2/2013

Well it’s been a long winter in more ways than one with the Saturday sessions and Men’s Winter League matches postponed on several occasions due to bad weather.

I’m pleased to say however that the Men’s team finally got round to playing the match originally scheduled for the 7th October away at Magnet, Maidenhead over the weekend and enjoyed another winning draw by 39 games to 31.

Mens tennis team, Wellington Health & fitness club
All smiles from Paul, Tom, Richard and Nick after the match at Magnet on Sunday 17/2/13

Richard Bodkin and Nick Proffitt played 1st pair and enjoyed a ‘Double Bagel’ over Magnet’s 2nd pair! Paul Stephens and Tom McIvor played 2nd pair and won one rubber and lost one. It was good to finally get a game in glorious sunshine although those who have played at Magnet will know that it is perhaps one of the more interesting places to play due to its location in the centre of Maidenhead next to a skate board park!

We’ve now played 4 of our 7 fixtures for the Winter League and have 2 home games against Westmorland Park and RSF and 1 away game at Wargrave.

If you want to check league position and results please click the link http://lta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/draw.aspx?id=EDBB59F4-E289-400E-80B9-20BB7A71DF53&draw=7

We’re also planning to get the Saturday morning sessions up and running again starting this Saturday at 10.30am. Once the clocks change we will also re-visit the Wednesday evening Match practice session.

Thanks to all those who’ve supported tennis over the Winter months and made themselves available for the team.

Also best wishes to Paul Gozzard for a speedy recovery following his hip replacement and we look forward to seeing Paul down soon and congratulations to Richard Bodkin following his marriage to Gina in South Africa over Christmas.

That’s it for now and looking forward to more tennis as the weather hopefully improves and the days get longer.

Match report v Slough home 18/11.

Thanks to Richard Bodkin for taking over Captain’s duties for the home match on the 18th November v Slough whilst your truly was catching some November sunshine in Grenada. It was a very close match with Wellington gaining a winning draw on games by 41-39. Thanks also to other members of the team on the day Nick Profitt, Tom McIvor and Iain Hartwell.

Wellington are currently sitting 3rd in the league on 4 points http://lta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/draw.aspx?id=EDBB59F4-E289-400E-80B9-20BB7A71DF53&draw=7 so all to play for as they say!

Next scheduled match is away to Sonning on the 9/12.


Berkshire Men’s Winter League

A good start to the Winter season as the Men’s team (Richard Bodkin, Tom Mcivor, Nick Profitt and Paul Stephens) enjoyed a winning draw in the first played match away to Royal Ascot on Sunday 28th October.

Special thanks to Nick and Tom who again have supported the cause coming home from Southampton University for the Men’s team. It was a tight match against a good Ascot team with their number one pair winning their 2 rubbers and us winning both rubbers against their number two pair and us gaining an overall win on games by 41-34.

Check out the table and results at http://lta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/draw.aspx?id=EDBB59F4-E289-400E-80B9-20BB7A71DF53&draw=7

Our next match is home against Slough 2 on Sunday 18th November.

Saturday morning Men’s tennis

There are now a core group of players who are coming down every Saturday morning at 10.30am for Men’s Doubles. The aim of this session is to have a good hard game and in so doing hopefully develop potential new players for the Men’s team in the future. If we can really get this group going then we hope we can develop a larger squad for possibly running a 2nd team in the summer.

Regulars coming down include John Bycroft, Paul Gozzard, Iain Hartwell, Rick Marengo, Paul Stephens and Iain Taylor. Special recognition to John Bycroft who really has developed his game from these sessions and also to Iain Hartwell who will be playing his first game for the Men’s team in November. Good fun and good banter!

We welcome new players coming along and the idea is to get people mixing in, especially if there are odd numbers so everyone gets a game. We aim to start at ~10.30am and finish ~12.30-13.00 adjourning to the bar afterwards.

Midweek tennis and match practice

Several people have asked about Men’s sessions during the week. We have in the past had Wednesday night match practice but this was proving difficult with uncertainty as to who was coming down and the best times. I am happy to re-visit this subject if people are interested so please send an e:mail to paulmstephens@gmail.com with your thoughts on this or any other ideas you might have.

Men’s Bike Ride

Special thanks to Rick for organising our first bike ride a few weeks back from Wellington down to the Blackwater Valley. This was all in the interest of developing stamina in the legs as well as testing our drinking skills at the pub. We will for sure be organising more of the same.

Match report Wellington V Purley 22/7/2012

We finally got to play a game in brilliant warm sunshine!

A fantastic morning’s weather for our last match of the summer league v Purley 2 at Wellington.

Great to have ‘young guns’ Tom McIvor and Nick Proffit playing with me and Andy Holley respectively.

Team against Purley 22nd July 2012

A close game with Purley #1 pairing for both of us meant 2:2 on rubbers, 2:2 on sets and Wellington getting a winning draw by 37 games to 28.

Wellington have finished 3rd in the league table and a respectable end to a somewhat disrupted season.

Many thanks to all the players for the support to the team over the summer as we now look forward to a couple of months rest and then it’s the Winter league.

18th July 2012

Hands up I’ve been somewhat busy over the last few months which has meant my Blog has been very out of date as we’re now well into the Summer league season and in fact coming to the end.

It’s been a nightmare for fixtures with the bad weather which has seen numerous cancellations of both the original and re-arranged fixtures and our final match against Purley which had been scheduled for the 28th April will now be taking place on the 22nd July.

It’s also been an interesting time with player availability or rather unavailability as Tom and Nick were committed to University until only recently but a big plus has been the arrival of Andy Sayer. Anyone who has played either with or opposite Andy will know what I mean as he hammers down some pretty pacey serves and hits the most amazing ground strokes. I had the pleasure of playing with Andy Sayer against Ascot and Nirvana and we had good wins in both these matches.

There’s no doubt that Andy and Richard Bodkin have really raised the bar in terms of quality of players with the only challenge being to get them engaged with their work and personal schedule which saw Richard in South Africa for a long time ruling him out of the summer league program.

There continues to be a challenge in putting out a team with people’s commitments and I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the following players who have supported and represented the team John Lovegrove, Will Macdonald, Mike Rosen, Andy Sayer and Martin Woodbridge. We’re hoping also to get Tom McIvor and Nick Proffitt playing their first summer game this Sunday and thanks to them for their commitment.

I’d also like to recognise John Bycroft for his commitment to the cause and for the effort he has been putting in to his game which has got him in the squad on merit and Iain Hartwell for his similar involvement.

Now for the status in matches.

We beat Royal Ascot at home, had a losing draw 2-2 (lost on sets) to Nirvana, lost to Woolton Hill, had a walkover v Caversham and have our re-arranged game v Purley this weekend and the likelihood is that we will finish 3rd in the league.

If you want to see more details please visit the league website http://lta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/draw.aspx?id=AE236518-35DF-49AD-8B89-B0674B67F9A7&draw=21

Now looking towards the Winter leagues it’s a chance please for everyone to come forward if you’re interested in playing in the Men’s team. As things stand right now we’ll probably enter just one team but if there is sufficient interest we could consider a second team.

On another note it’s been really good to see how the 10.30 Saturday morning session is developing with a good crowd of people coming along and having fun despite the weather.

That’s it for now. A Vet’s match tonight weather permitting and work e:mails to attend to in the meantime.

Happy Tennis.

Match Report v Westmorland Park Away Sunday 11/3/12

Despite the fact we lost by 4-0 there are a lot of positives to take from the match against a very experienced Westmorland Park team who are riding high in the league.

It was a first match outing for Richard Bodkin playing with me as first pairing and we took the opening set 7-5 against their number one pairing having been 4-2 down. This rubber was a long one and sadly we lost the deciding tie break. It was very enjoyable playing with Richard and I am confident this is the start of very exciting future with his engagement with the Men’s team.

Our 2nd pairing was Tom Mcivor and Nick Proffitt, who again this week came back from Southampton University to play this match for us and this is great commitment from these young guys. Tom and Nick put in a very competitive performance and it was good to see their athleticism on the court. It was obviously difficult to observe their game whilst playing ourselves but I did catch them both involved in some really good rallies and putting in some excellent shots.

The score line (which you can see on the web Match details v Westmorland Park away 11/3/12) doesn’t reflect just how competitive the games were and a big thank you from me to all my players for the total commitment, energy and enthusiasm with which they approached the match.

Our last match of the season is home against Twyford on the 25th March and in the interim we wish Richard well as he heads off to Italy this weekend to run the Rome Marathon.

If you want to get more details on matches, league tables then please go to the LTA website Men’s Doubles Winter League – Division 6 East table.

Other Men’s news

There will be another Saturday morning session on the 17th at 10.30am. I have other commitments on the 17th but certainly others have committed to attend.

As the evenings start to get longer we will also look to getting Wednesday evenings going again probably after Easter.

That’s it for now. Grand Slam fever in the air but for the ‘egg shaped’ ball and from the ‘Land of my fathers’.

Iechyd Da!


4th March 2012

Many of you have already been coming down to the Saturday morning session and yesterday we had a really good time in the spring sunshine.

We’d like everyone to be aware that this will now be a regular activity throughout the year with Court 4 being booked from 10.30-13.00 with the option for additional court(s) as demand dictates. We also mixed in with the ladies (who have a session at the same time on Courts 5 and 6) at the end of the session.

This session is there for any Male players who are looking for a good competitive game although I should add that the atmosphere is friendly and informal. Also if you arrive in the car park and see an odd number then don’t worry as we do mix in to ensure everyone gets engaged in the tennis.

It will help me and the club when organising this Saturday session to get a rough idea as to who is likely to be coming down so we can book additional courts if need be so please either drop me an e:mail or txt 07836 652231 in the week before.

A question has also arise about Wednesday evenings. Once the days become longer and the weather improves then we will see about reviving the Wednesday sessions. Again it would help me to get an idea as to who is interested in supporting this session which will be for Men’s Doubles Match Practice?

It’s good to see the growing support we’ve been getting across the board for Men’s’ tennis and on this basis we can look forward to a really active group down at Wellington.


19th February 2012

A busy weekend of tennis for the Mens’ section.

Firstly a good turnout on Saturday 18th in the morning as this session is now getting firmly established in the Mens’ calendar. We had some good tennis despite the gusting westerly wind coming across the court. Several of us then continued discussions in the bar where the Hook Norton Bitter at £2.50 a pint special offer could not be missed!

Next session planned for Saturday 25th at 10.30 am and all welcome.

Mens’ Match Sunday 19/2 v BCS 4 at Sonning.

A very satisfying 4-0 away win for Wellington which definitely helps our league position which you can see on the LTA website

Special thanks to Nick Proffitt and Tom McIvor who left Southampton University around 7.15am on a Sunday morning to come up and play for the team. It’s great to have this level of commitment from Nick and Tom who are bringing youthful vitality to the team.

Nick paired up with Andy Holley and Tom with me and we enjoyed a very successful morning despite a very strong wind blowing across the Sonning Courts and a strange yellow object in the sky (the likes of which hasn’t been seen for a while) which made serving from one end a bit tricky.

Thanks team for a really good performance and a valuable away win.

One of the things which makes these matches is the friendship of the opposition who (despite losing) took us into a ‘warm clubhouse’ where we enjoyed a post match pint.

With only 2 more games to go in the Winter League we hope we can go on now to hold our position with a respectable finish to the season.

Next matches coming up on the 4/3 and 11/3.

Hope to see more Men coming down on Saturday morning as we really push on with developing Mens’ tennis.

That’s it for now, off to enjoy the sofa and the tv sport for the rest of the day.


Thursday 9th February 2012

Paul Stephens, Men's Tennis Captain, Wellington Health and Fitness Club

I guess this picture could have been taken at Wellington on Sunday morning as unfortunately our Men’s match v Twyford was cancelled due to snow. Yours truly just got back from week’s skiing in Wengen where we had temperatures down to -24 deg C, snow most of the week and the sun making very rare appearances.

Now back to tennis. Hopefully we’ll get a Men’s doubles session in this coming Saturday 11th February and get back into a regular Saturday routine again weather permitting in the coming weeks. The next Men’s match is on the 19th away at BCS and the season has been pretty fragmented for one reason or another.

Well done to the hard core who have continued things through whilst I’ve been away.

That’s it for now. More updates next week.



MEN’S DOUBLES OPEN SESSION – Saturday Mornings 10.30 – 12.30

Thanks to Richard Bodkin, Tim Findlay, Iain Hartwell and Iain Taylor for coming down to the inaugural session held on Saturday 21st January.

It was great to see this support and we had some good tennis despite the gale blowing benches, kit bags and everything else all over the courts. We now want to set this session formally in the tennis weekly agenda and if today’s session was an indicator it should most definitely be the case for the future.

The next session will be held on Saturday 28th January where Courts 5,6 have been booked from 10.30 – 12.30

I’m unable to attend this next session but already committed to attending next week are Richard Bodkin and Iain Hartwell

Special welcome to Richard who came down to club last Tuesday night for the first time and played some really super tennis. Whilst Richard has mostly played squash at Wellington he is also keen to get back to playing tennis again and most definitely a new team player for us. Thanks Richard!

Everyone who attended this morning has also indicated willingness to play for the Men’s team which is fantastic and thanks to you all for this support.

Please remember this is an OPEN SESSION to Men’s players of all abilities.

If you are able to attend on the 28th please let either me, John or Liz know beforehand and we’ll add your name to the list.


We need to know pretty soon how many people are interested in playing Men’s matches over the summer which impacts the number of teams we enter based on the squad size.

We have had a lot of interest and enthusiastic support already over the last couple of weeks and we need everyone to respond on this please to get the complete picture. We also want to ensure that everyone who wants to play Matches has the chance and we’re getting very close to entering two teams but not at that stage yet.


Please could you contact me with your availability for this match.


Wellington v Bracknell VI – Sunday 15th January

Despite us putting out an experienced team which included Mike Rosen standing in for Andy Holley at short notice (thank you Mike!) Wellington lost by 3-1.

Having driven over to Bracknell Tennis Club in the morning sunshine we were confronted by frozen courts in shadow and special thanks to duty manager Mark at Wellington for enabling us to switch the fixture back to Wellington to get the game played in the sunshine.

Wellington put up a spirited fight but 2 of us carrying niggling injuries and our lack of recent match practice playing together in daylight clearly indicated areas we need to focus on.

As Men’s Captain the challenge ahead lies in player development, building a bigger squad and practice all of which we have plans to address.

Our next match is home to Twyford on the 5th February.

Please check club announcements for more news on Men’s development and doubles.


Men’s Captain’s Blog – 4th Jan 2012

Happy New Year to you all out there as we look back on 2011 and forward to the days getting longer and hopefully warmer.

Firstly it was great to see so many people turn up for the Christmas Competition. Was this motivated by the mulled wine and mince pies, the tennis or the desire to burn a few calories after Christmas?

So now as they say in football it’s back to league action with the next round of Winter League matches soon upon us. The first match is a tough away fixture at Bracknell on the 15th Jan and then a home game against Twyford at Wellington on the 5th Feb. It looks like we’ve got the teams sorted out for these matches and thanks to those of you who responded to my e:mail. I’ll be sending out information in the coming days.

There are also plans for a friendly match against Windsor probably in March.

For those members who are interested in playing for the Men’s team then please get in touch. As things stand right now we’ve 1 team running over the Winter and need to know if there’s enough interest to enter 2 teams in the summer?

We’ve been working on Men’s team development over the last couple of months and thanks to John Lovegrove for running these sessions on the Wednesday evenings. The feedback we’ve had from many of you is that committing to a Wednesday is however difficult (I’m in this category with business travel) and for this reason we’re looking to alternatives perhaps on a Saturday morning with the advantage of ‘daylight’. It’s still good to keep the Wednesday slot but probably to make this informal and ensure we can effectively communicate who is coming down.

It’s also very encouraging to have new players stepping forward and showing interest who don’t fall into the ‘Philosan’ category as quite clearly the future of our Men’s team lies in bringing the younger players along. For sure we will be seeing these new players representing the team in the coming months.

The University break over Christmas has also meant that there have been some very keen young players eager to make me run around and we’ve had several very good Men’s Doubles sessions. It’s really good as well that some of youngsters have offered to be available for Men’s matches when exams don’t get in the way.

That’s it for now back to the Day Job.