Musters Tennis Club began as a way to keep the kids out of trouble. Back in 1923, the members of the West Bridgford Bowling Club agreed to build four grass courts on site so their children, young and not so young, could play tennis. Nearly 100 years on, and Musters is still a place where generations of families come to play bowls and tennis, and occasionally both.
That’s not to say that nothing has changed since 1923. The courts, for instance, are no longer a grass surface to rival Wimbledon, having been replaced by all-weather astro courts in the 90s. Some players may have missed the slightly unpredictable bounce that grass courts provide, but all members were in favour of being able to play all four seasons of the year.
The courts are not the only thing to have a makeover in recent times – some members argue that the newly-refurbished clubhouse is the main reason they pay their subs. With regular social events throughout the year, there is plenty of opportunity to relive that beautifully-timed lob, or that lucky shot off the frame over a pint at the bar.
Many of those lucky shots occur in league matches (though not always in Musters’ favour). The club has womens’, mens’ and mixed teams in the summer and winter leagues and, though we don’t like to brag, have won the odd league title here and there.
Depending on who you talk to, Musters’ success is down to inspired team selection, brilliant shot-making or an outstanding tea at the end of the match. It may be all of those things, but the contribution of junior members over the years is also a factor. Many local children have come to learn to play the game at Musters, and through the year-round coaching programme they have gone on to surpass the talents of the parents that brought them there. Of course, not all the youngsters on the courts are interested in playing matches – some of them just want to be last person out in a game of tennis cricket!
A lot may have changed in 97 years, but some things have stayed the same; the club is as sociable and family-friendly as it was in 1923. Whether your parents are bowlers or not, anyone is welcome to join to keep themselves out of mischief by playing a game of tennis or having a drink in the clubhouse.