Tennis season kicks off

STC - It is the dawn of a new era at the Stawell Tennis Club.

Tonight the 2012/13 competition will be kicking off in an all-new Friday night timeslot, with play commencing at 6pm.

The competition this season is sure to be fierce, with the club enjoying the highest number of player entries for a long time.

Ninety-one players from seven different teams will be competing this summer and both STC president Shane Freeland and vice president Murray Hart believe the boost in numbers is due to the swap from the usual Saturday afternoon timeslot to Friday night.

Gone are the clashes with the Saturday afternoon cricket and bowls competitions, so those who play both sports can do so without missing out.

Both Mr Freeland and Mr Hart were 'delighted' with player numbers.

"We're excited by the entries. It will be trial and error for a while until things settle in. We'll have six game sets at the start and hope to increase that to eight over the season with daylight savings and good organisation," Mr Freeland said.

Mr Hart says the club had shown initiative by looking at weekend sport and families who are involved, targeting those families to provide them with easier access to playing tennis.

"Those who have kids with sport on Saturday can now follow them and play tennis on Friday nights," Mr Hart explained.

It is hoped that the shift in timeslot will also make it easier on the players, with a number not being able to play in previous years due to the heat.

Stawell Tennis Club is encouraging players to make the most of the club and what will be on offer each week of competition.

"It's a great facility under lights with catering for an evening meal. There will be social events, theme nights, members draw, giveaways. It's a really entertaining night," Mr Hart said.

The club is also asking STC players to become social members.

For a small $10 fee, those who become social members will be allowed to use the facilities for events other than tennis.

It also entitles entries into membership draws and discounts on tennis products available through the club.

This year, there is a committee of approximately 16 people who will all be doing their share of roles.

"We have a very strong committee. We're just looking to members to keep the facilities clean. There will be a duty team each week, which will need to make sure the area is clean for the juniors the next morning," Mr Hart said.

Although normal competition will be held on Fridays, club championships will revert back to the usual Saturday afternoon timeslot with dates to be confirmed.

There will also be the Wimmera Challenge held next month and the club will be heading down to Warrnambool over the Labour Day long weekend in March 2013.

"These are three events players can look forward to outside of the Friday night competition," Mr Hart said.

Speaking on behalf of Stawell Tennis Club, both Mr Freeland and Mr Hart wish to thank the sponsors who have climbed onboard for the 2012/13 season.

Tonight will see Stawell Toyota clash with Farrers Tyrepower, Trackside Bar and Bistro tackle Stawell Joinery and Frewstal play Cassidy Painting.

Stawell Gold Mine has the bye.

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