Moreton Morrell Court exterior
Moreton Morrell exterior

Four members of the IRTA set off from Dublin for Birmingham on the evening of 27th March. We were met at Birmingham airport by our genial host, guide, tour organiser, and fellow IRTA member, Roy Raven — a native of Leamington, but now living in Ireland. Roy drove us to Warwick where, following a quick inspection of the castle and some other buildings of interest, we had an excellent dinner at a nearby curry house.

The next morning, we set off for the Moreton Morrell Tennis Court Club for our first day of tennis. The Moreton Morrell court was built in 1905 in a beautiful rural setting near Moreton Hall, now an agricultural college. A breakfast of delicious local sausages — provided and prepared by Roy — fortified the players for the tennis. As well as an introductory session and coaching for some of the party, and some friendly doubles, a series of matches was played against Moreton Morrell members. Some of the matches were really gripping and much enjoyed by the spectators. IRTA names first:

Stephen Kelly v Sarah Gordon (handicap):1–6, 6–5, 3–6
Roland Budd v Edward Loades (handicap):5–6, 6–4, 5–6
Roy Raven v Stewart Hodges (handicap):0–6, 6–0, 4–6
Roland Budd v Tom Lewis (level):6–2, 6–5

In the evening, we headed back to Leamington Spa for dinner. We had an early start the next morning for our visit to the Leamington Tennis Court Club (the world's oldest real tennis club). We played a series of matches throughout the day, broken by a pleasant lunch served at the clubhouse. The results of the matches were as follows (IRTA names first):

Sarah Broderick v Gordon Nichols (level):0–6, 2–6
Roy Raven v Adam Stokes (level):4–6, 3–6
Roland Budd v Clive Barnes (level):5–6, 6–1, 6–5
Stephen Kelly v Nigel Hayter:1–6, 0–6
Rebecca Broderick v Paul Weaver:3–6, 3–6

At the end of the day's play it was time to return to the airport — but we managed a short stop on the way, in the sunshine, at the fascinating and picturesque Chesterton windmill, which dates from the 17th century.

The trip was greatly enjoyed by all and we are very grateful to the members and professionals of the Moreton Morrell and Leamington clubs for looking after us so well. However, thanks in particular are due to the indefatigable Roy Raven whose energy and enthusiasm (and local knowledge places of interest and hostelries) was greatly appreciated.

— Stephen Kelly