With over 40 teams competing in BUCS, the University of Manchester hosts a wide range of extremely successful sports teams. I spoke to the Tennis Club, last year’s AU Club of the Year, and their vice president Sid, to find out just how successful the club is and the plans they have to hopefully become back-to-back Club of the Year.
The 2022 season saw the Women 1s win Team of the Year at the UoM Sports Awards 2022 and Tennis win Club of the Year. The club was extremely successful on and off the court with impressive membership growth to 275 members and significant contributions to charities such as Manchester Children’s Hospital. Sid credited the committee for the growth of the club last season: “We all knew our roles and the goals we wanted to achieve off the back of the COVID disruption.”
As promised, the club has only continued on their upwards trajectory. Sid explained that the 2023 season has seen a massive improvement from last year with the number of members increasing to 330. The club has four men’s teams and three women’s teams in BUCS with the women competing in the Premiership tier. There are also two male development teams and one women’s development team who also play competitive games outside of BUCS. The majority of club membership is made up of social members with different playing abilities ranging from beginners to advanced.
A significant aspect of the growth of the club has been its personalised member merchandise in partnership with NIKE. Tennis is the first club to secure such a partnership, independent of the AU and of UoM Sports. Members are able to order and personalise their own NIKE merchandise as a memento of their time with the team.
The club has hosted various fundraisers over the 2023 season for multiple charities. Tennis took part in the renowned Movember campaign raising £900 towards the cause. The club also organised a 24-hour charity Rallython where members played for an allocated slot time to raise money for homelessness charities. “Some members would stay for the entirety of the 24 hours despite having played their slot time,” Sid explained.
Finally, even during their social events, Tennis continues to fundraise. Their upcoming End of Year Tennis Ball has also been seen as an opportunity to raise money for charity through raffles and raffle prizes. “Whenever there is an opportunity to fundraise, we take it because giving back to the community is extremely important to us as a club,” Sid mentioned.
So, what is next on the Tennis club’s agenda? The main goal for the club is to now acquire better training facilities for the sport. Sid described the lack of facilities for the growing club: “Currently we play our BUCS games in Didsbury, Trafford or Cheadle.” This is due to the lack of tennis facilities down at the Armitage Centre whereas other teams do not have to travel so far for their BUCS games every Wednesday. The social members play at Fallowfield Tennis Club, yet the facilities are not big enough to accommodate all the members. “We have to play on a rotation basis so that everyone gets a turn.”
With future plans to continue growing the club, Sid explained how with the current facilities, it will not be possible for Tennis to function as it does now. Plans and discussions are ongoing between the UoM Sport, Armitage Centre, and the Tennis club to come to a decision on facilities.
UoM Tennis have completed yet another winning season in the BUCS leagues on the court. Whilst off-court, their various social events such as Ninja Warrior days out and Curry Night have been enormous triumphs. The team are hoping to be crowned Club of the Year in back-to-back seasons and with the success of the team so far, there is no reason why they couldn’t.
To keep up to date with the club follow their Instagram @uomtennisclub
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