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The Bristol and Bath Real Tennis Club have kindly agreed to host the 2003 Irish Real Tennis Championship. The club was founded in 1985 with the aim of re-establishing a working court in the West Country of England. In 1997 the court at Abbots Leigh was opened; this was made possible with National Lottery funding, and in collaboration with Clifton College. The official opening of the club was performed by Prince Edward in 1998. It has since grown from 30 members to nearly 200, and is a thriving club.

For more information, please visit the Bristol and Bath Tennis Club website.

The Irish Real Tennis Championship features in the March 2003 issue of the B&BTC Newsletter on page 2. The article, written by B&BTC secretary Nick Ponsford, reads as follows.


The B&BTC have been asked, and have readily agreed, to stage the Irish Real Tennis Association Championships. The event will take place over the weekend of 31st May and 1st June.

At present there are relatively few active players in Ireland, but there is a strong band of supporters who are trying to persuade the Irish State that the Dublin Court should be returned to its original function, with Tennis once again being played in its beautiful surroundings.

As a part of this effort, the IRTA is wanting to demonstrate the enthusiasm of its existing players (in facing the inevitability of travelling abroad for their national championship) --- and to create favourable publicity for the game.

Bear North, one of the IRTA's leading lights, told us, "We would very much like to stage the event at the B&BTC since it is not only very friendly and encouraging, but as a relatively new Club, it has probed how successfully the game can be introduced to a wide range of new players. This would greatly help our argument that the club in Dublin would be uch used."

The IRTA is hoping that as well as attracting existing Irish players and supporters, the event will also be supported by players of Irish extraction or affiliation living in England.

In addition to the main competition (which is likely to be played on a handicap basis to accommodate the varying playing standards), there will be beginners lessons for novice players and some social doubles.

And of course there'll be a bit of a party on the Saturday evening, when we hope our visitors will be joined by some of the locals to share some of the finers points of the game and a glass or two of refreshment!

Watch this space for more details....