Clubs in crisis as courts are closed

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Photo by Elliot Westacott

The college netball and tennis schedules for this term have been scrapped following the University’s decision to begin resurfacing work on the courts.

The work, which was supposed to have been completed over the summer, began on the tennis courts at the main entrance to the University last week, while work on the netball courts is expected to start in Week Five. The resurfacing has been held back until now to ensure the University receives “value for money” from the works. This is due to the need to add the markings for netball matches and for five a side football, as well as a problem with the substitute base, which all resulted in the costs being elevated.

Team captains reacted to the news with disappointment. Laura Christie, captain of the Cartmel college netball team, told SCAN: “I am angry and disappointed at the way the situation has been treated by the University, as I have only recently become Captain and now most of my plans for the team, training sessions, and matches, have been scuppered due to the desperate situation of the courts.”

Lonsdale Captain Nina Best added: “As a team, Lonsdale are very disappointed about the situation with the courts this term. All the colleges are in the same position, and as this is such a competitive league, it seems a shame to have to wait until next term for the season to get underway. However, after meeting with Lancaster University Students’ Union, they are helping us set up a tournament to keep competitive spirits high, ready for the league [to begin] in January.”

Marc Handley, LUSU Vice President (Sports) told SCAN: “What I want to know is where precisely is the value for money for the over 200 students that this affects? Sport was put on the map here with the success of Roses 2010 and yet that seems to be a distant memory now as we are back to the times of old where the university doesn’t think about the effect their choices have on it’s students.”

He added: “What must be thought of though is the benefit in the long run for the affected teams – I just hope it is money well spent and not a poor attempt at keeping the sports clubs quiet and contented. If the Sports Association [the new name for the Athletic Union] is being asked to perform on a regular basis, we need to be given the chance to do so and not have the rug pulled from under our feet.”

Handley is understood to be working closely with LUSU Involve to find alternative locations to host matches. Options being considered include using courts at local schools, or hiring an outside venue for a weekend college competition.

While the timing of the works has come under fire, it is generally accepted that the courts were in disrepair and desperately needed the resurfacing work. The Lancaster University tennis club has been forced to play their fixtures off campus for some time, due to the terrible condition of the courts, resulting from the university using the courts as overflow car parking on events such as open days.

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