DOUGLAS Lawn Tennis Club have implemented changes since returning post-Covid-19.
Founded in 1927, and originally based in Douglas village, it moved to its current premises at Douglas Hall in 1978. They were blessed with wonderful neighbours, including former club President and Captain, Jill O’Donovan, whose daughter Shelley is the club’s new administrator.
Current Club President, Mike Ryan, a Tipp native, who brings much of the charm of his former local club, Lattin LTC, to bear on the Douglas club, along with the amiable Pat Peate, who is Vice-President.
Mike is quick to acknowledge the gratitude owed to their Covid officer, Colette Herbert, for implementing many of the health and safety guidelines issued by Tennis Ireland, ably assisted by former club captain, Vladimir Shevchenko and Mick McCabe. Junior Committee members Cheryl Billinghurst and Jennifer O’Neill, as well as Club Captain, Lucy Cullinane, all ensured that the cub was fully Covid-proofed by May 18, when tennis was one of the first sports to re-open.
Changes include Signage, branded to the club, in the channels between all of the six courts. Sanitizers are also placed along these channels- all the way to the courts. On court, arrows indicate which directions to follow when changing ends. A really significant measure has been the use of the 365 court-booking system to allow for full track and trace of players, who must provide their names and those of their opponent when booking courts.
Since last Monday, doubles play has been re-introduced for non-family members, and thus the tracing system will adapt to these changes.
Other Covid measures include cordoned off- seating and the strict rule that U16 players must be accompanied by an adult. Junior coaching is now back on track from this week, under the watchful eyes of coaches Antoine Bercy and Mick Hurley, both of whom have undertaken risk assessment measures to ensure social distancing is maintained for junior players.
Mike Ryan is adamant that while new members are most welcome, his goal is to ensure that the current membership of just over 500 is maintained and that junior and adult players enjoy the cosy social events organized by the club, including quizzes and outdoor movie nights.
Finally, for a forward-thinking club such as Douglas LTC, the Covid crisis has also allowed it the opportunity to work on deep-cleaning and refreshing both the exterior and the interior of the club, the latter courtesy of interior designer, Sinead Downes.
New tennis surfaces will be laid over the next two weeks , and the defibrillator, which has already saved one life- has been moved outside to a special cabinet.