Over a quarter of a million pounds has been invested in creating some of the best tennis courts in the North West at one of the most established tennis clubs in Southport. Founded in 1922, it has a proud history of bringing tennis to the heart of the community.
Sphynx Tennis Club has long been one of the seaside resort’s hidden gems, and now they have eye-catching and innovative tennis courts to reflect their prestige both locally and regionally.
Tucked away on Ashdown Close, just off Scarisbrick New Road and close to KGV Sixth Form College, it’s a welcoming, friendly club, which is now eager to let more people know about just what it can offer the whole community.
Coaches there include Chris Parkes, a former England tennis international, who grew up playing the game with a young Andy Murray, and Natalie Wall, who brings a wealth of experience from her time of study and coaching in the US.
Sphynx Tennis Club has also been supported by local businesses, with the Silcock family – owners of Silcock Leisure Group – the latest to donate hundreds of pounds to improve facilities.
Silcock family representatives Serena and Taryn Silcock were delighted to officially present the funds to tennis coach Chris Parkes and to committee member Jamie Blundell last week.
Jamie Blundell said: “We are very fortunate to have this new facility at Sphynx Tennis Club. We now have six brand new blue and green tiger turf tennis courts, which are visually eye-catching and arguably the best in the region. The development also features new energy efficient floodlighting to allow extended play in the evenings, making play possible all year round! There has never been a better time to become a member.”
Sphynx has launched lucrative and competitive sponsorship packages this year as Jamie explained: “We are grateful for the continued sponsorship and support from local businesses and benefactors such as the Silcock family, which has donated hundreds of pounds. We would also like to acknowledge the generosity of the Silcock family, and all our key sponsors, Nationwide Produce, Baz Todd Events, JB Financial Solutions Ltd, Titan Mechanical Services on behalf of Queenscourt Hospice, and Porsche Centre Preston for their continued support.”
Importantly, Jamie recognised that – for many – sport can be both daunting and unenjoyable; however, the team at Sphynx want to encourage all to enjoy the sport: “At Sphynx, we want all our members to be comfortable when they play. Not everyone that picks up a racket wants to be the next super star or play on teams. It may be that tennis is a way to exercise or socialise but each member without pressure can be who they want to be.”
Thanks to coach Natalie Wall, Sphynx are now proud to offer ladies only lessons that are hugely popular. Jamie discussed the club’s classes for ladies: “This [encouraging all to enjoy exercising and socialising] is largely the ethos around our new ladies only initiative (#thisgirlcan). These classes are taken by our female coach, Natalie. Sphynx wants to be the premier tennis club that puts ladies at the forefront and provides coach-led tuition in a fun and social way! As a father of two daughters, I know how difficult it can be for girls to be accepted or have the opportunity to take part in predominantly male-led sports. We aim to change that mindset at Sphynx. I even hope to convince Taryn and Serena to have a go!”
Despite its renowned tennis facilities, Sphynx Tennis Club offers much more than just tennis, as Jamie shared: “We even have a bowling green! The London Bowling Club is based here.” However, the club’s quiet position – nestled amongst Ashdown Close – means many local residents are unaware the club exists, “Sphynx Tennis Club is one of Southport’s hidden gems. We have had people who live around the corner tell us they didn’t know this club existed!”
Community is at the core of the club as Jamie added: “The club is run by its members, who are all volunteers with a united aim: to ensure a welcoming, fun and sociable environment for everyone.
Sphynx is hosting an Open Day on Saturday 1st July 2023 from 1pm onwards. There is free entry, and all are welcome. There are activities for all the family, including a BBQ, bouncy castle, big player and little player tournament, crafts, and face painting. It’s sure to be an ace day! Make sure you add the date to your diary to see just what Sphynx has to offer.
Sphynx’s top-class facilities include:
Six modern tennis courts
Modern clubhouse perfect venue for social, fundraising and sponsor events.
It is home to the S&D Division 1 Champions nine (9) years running.
One to One / Group Coaching Sessions for adults and children
Member Teams / Social Play and inhouse Box League
Table Tennis – Social and Team play introduced in 2022
The club is also proud to be home to the Chris Parkes Tennis Academy, which offers some of the leading tennis coaching programs for juniors and adults in the North of England. The coaching team is led by Chris Parkes, former Lancashire Coach of the Year. Chris Parkes said: “I played tennis with Andy Murray quite a lot as a youngster, and I was in the junior Great Britain tennis team with him. However, I went to the US and got a tennis scholarship; I did three years over there. Prior to going to the US, I also represented Great Britain until U16 and county at all age groups. Andy Murray went on to bigger and better things! He’s enjoyed a great career. Even at 14 you could tell he was going to become an exceptional player.”
Chris is now enjoying coaching people at the club – both members and non-members.
He said: “We have a really great coaching set-up here. We have a Rusty Rackets initiative for beginners and people who want to give the game a try, or those who haven’t played for a while. From a club perspective, we cater for everyone, of all ages and abilities. We now host female only coaching sessions on Saturday mornings with our female coach, Natalie which are proving to be very popular. An extra class has been added due to demand! Our junior tennis camps are really popular too. We had a great camp over Easter and look forward to the forthcoming camps this May half term and during the summer holidays. These are for children from ages 4–15. We are shortly introducing a new junior development program with children working towards goals and performance-related rewards for their efforts. We can’t wait to get started with this! The club is so grateful for the recent financial support which is allowing it to thrive.”
Taryn Silcock said: “Sphynx Tennis Club holds a special place in my heart because my husband has played tennis here for years, while our son plays here too. As a family, we are always happy to support such a local, family friendly facility. We are delighted to be able to support a sports club in the local community that is inclusive, with a lovely family atmosphere that is so welcoming to people.”
- Sphynx Tennis Club is at: 52 Ashdown Close, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 6TL For more details visit: www.sphynxtennisclub.co.uk
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