Volunteering, you get so much more back!

Some of you may know me from helping out Tina on Saturday mornings at the old Hylands, as well as a few Mondays and Thursday evenings at the Albany. Though still a member of Hylands, last year I received my A-Level results and headed up to Loughborough University to study human geography and economics.

On my return Giorgio asked if I had any spare time to write a small blog about the significance of volunteering, an aspect of Hylands that makes it one of the more unique sport clubs. Volunteering at Hylands comes in a huge range and there are many opportunities to do so. During my time I have helped out with flyer distribution, umpiring Waldon White Jones matches, taken control of the Under 18 team for a year and a half and much like the current tennis leaders I used to watch the courts on a Saturday and Sunday.

Firstly, through volunteering I have made some great friends, and despite myself being based in Loughborough, I have stayed in contact with those who are both still in the Hylands area or those that themselves have gone on to other pursue other opportunities, having known many of them for eight or nine years after doing the tennis leader scheme together.

Secondly, having recently applied for a summer job, it was a great advantage to have a reference from Giorgio, and I was able to talk about the skills I gained whilst volunteering during my interview, such as communication and organisation. I understand that the current tennis leaders have been given the opportunity to create and run their own events, with the most recent being the parent and child event run by the new tennis leaders.

Lastly, volunteering provides opportunities. Since leaving for university, I have been actively engaged in the Student Union volunteering section, and was voted the best volunteer by my fellow students (see photo). Volunteering here has ranged from helping the elderly to use the internet to the more obscure ‘using a pickaxe to break up asphalt to fill potholes in a road’ project, which was a personal favourite (see photo).

Though this may not be linked to Hylands, it’s my way of trying to encourage those of you who enjoy being a tennis leader and those of you who volunteer (not forgetting those that bring cake!) to continue. Whilst I was back I was able to attend a few weekend sessions and I have played a volleyball match, got involved in a futsal tournament and was asked to participate in a football match, which is a far cry from the days at Hylands Park, and I feel it shows that the club is reaping the rewards from investing in the youth of the club.


If anyone has any questions regarding whether to go to university or anything about Loughborough in particular, feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or alternately send a message to Giorgio and I’m sure he’d be more than happy to pass any questions on.



In all sport there are winners and losers but everyone's a winner on a day like this!

Technically speaking this was the Team’s third fixture but would be only the second time they have played. This is because Great Baddow unfortunately were unable to field a team, meaning Hylands got the win without anyone so much as looking at a racquet.  We wish them all the best in their remaining fixtures, and perhaps we could even arrange a friendly with them sometime. Because of this bye however, the anticipation and excitement for Hylands’ first home match was greater than ever! And my goodness it was a day that did not disappoint!

The sky was filled with clouds and there was a distinct chill in the air, but the team (unchanged from last time round) arrived early for some crucial pre-match practice in order to dispel those initial jitters helped along with a laugh and a joke; all the while looking the part and very smart thanks to the arrival of the new Team Jackets.

During the warm-ups the fans began to flock to the club from all over – down the road, round the corner, other side of Hornchurch...oh and Cornwall. It was great to have such support and it made for a very motivating atmosphere. The case was especially so for Coach Luke Ellis, whose parents travelled from Cornwall to come and watch him (amongst other things), and here’s what he had to say on the matter after a long embrace with his parents after all the matches of the day were done with, “My parents don’t get to watch me play very often and as I kid I know they didn’t enjoy it much either when they did, because when things weren’t going my way the world knew about it....something I’m embarrassed about now when looking back. So I thought ‘Luke, mate, today they are here, today is down to us, now go a give them a performance to be proud of!’ and I believe we did, and I honestly can’t think of a better victory than that!” Luke E and his partner Luke G won both their matches, each displaying some utterly inspiring tennis at times, with the 7-5 7-5 victory against the first pair of Thurrock warming them up perfectly for the quick 6-1 6-1 showcase against Thurrock’s second pair.

The pairing of James Y and Joe G, had a bit of a mixed bag of a day. After swiftly taking their first match 7-5 6-1, they then went on to be on the receiving end of some amazing team work and doubles play from Thurrock’s first pair, losing 6-2 6-1. You could say their opponents had the advantage to begin with as they were brothers and if Bob and Mike Bryan (the most successful doubles team of all time) are anything to go by that’s a pretty good start for a doubles pair!

So to summarise Hylands won the day 3-1, but nobody got too wrapped up about that, and speaking of wraps quickly moved onto all sitting down and enjoying the spread of food Captain James Youngs went and got earlier that day. This is a great part of the day because all the tension and competitiveness is left at the door and we all just chill out and have a good laugh with everyone. We wished Thurrock all the best in their other fixtures and they left us with the fantastic comment “Not only are you a good group of players but you are a lovely, polite and friendly group of people. Have fun with the league guys!” Thanks very much Thurrock, you too!

Finally to round the day off a group of us all went to the cinema to watch a very funny film as well as a few games at the arcades. With Luke G expressing the success of today when he said “It was a wicked day! To be honest I have not had that much fun for a while!”

We haven’t got a game for a couple of week now, so it’s back to the training ground for us, and time to work hard in order to continue to push through the rest of the season!

Michael Webb




Hylands CASC: sport without boundaries.

Matches are played, won and lost every week. What is unique with this story however is the way in which everyone rallied together to support this one team through its evolution from leisure play in a park to competing within the ECLTA Men’s League.

Nowadays Hylands is based within The Albany School, boasting facilities such as 6 floodlit courts, 2 Multi use Games Areas (MUGAs) and use of an indoor sports hall; but it hasn’t always been this way. Originally Hylands was based at a park of the same name in Hornchurch, and it had limited access to toilets, with trees being the only shelter from the rain. Now at this point you might be thinking “Why on earth would anyone have played there?” and that is a very simple question to answer. It was because of the atmosphere, the buzz, that sense of belonging to a community. I have played at numerous clubs across the country and never felt that same way at any of them; I used to think it was maybe because at Hylands we didn’t have the things that some other clubs did, such as a clubhouse, floodlights, indoor facilities and so on, and therefore we made up for it elsewhere. Yet since the move to our new and improved venue that buzz, that sense of belonging is still there, but this time with a whole heap of better facilities at our disposal too! This highlighted something to me, something that as Men’s Team Coach I try to get across to the players, that being that it does not matter where we play or where we are based, because Hylands is an ethos; it has no boundaries and as players neither should we.

That’s why it was a nice and rather apt way to begin the day of our first ever Men’s league match with a short visit to our old home at Hylands Park. We took a photo outside the now public courts in our lovely new team kit, as a way of demonstrating that none of us had forgotten where we started out but at the same to show how far we have progressed as a result of our determination and passion to play tennis. Also we have decided between ourselves to self fund our campaign in order to make it sustainable, as well as us all not wishing to make it a financial burden on those who do not take part. The club has kindly agreed to provide the courts free of charge as and when we need them, meaning the players’ money has spread further and covered the cost of balls, travel and coaching for example. In addition to this we have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of some astounding generosity from an anonymous donor; who we have to thank for us looking as smart as we do in our customised team tops and windbreaker jackets. Such an unexpected gift only spurred us on even further, as we became aware that our good work on and off court was being noticed. Therefore after a fun filled car journey (singing to the radio and busting some dance moves) we were about to show Chigwell just what it means to us to represent a club such as Hylands!

Aside from those playing for the team that day we also had other club members coming along and showing their support, as well as acting as our camera crew and match reporters*! There was a real sense of pride to be a part of this in whatever way possible, with even more wanting to come along but in true Hylands spirit they were at the club ensuring the facilities were manned and open for use for others.

In order to get to this point the team as a whole were asked at the beginning of the first ever training session way back in winter of last year, what it was they expected from myself as coach, James as captain, and most importantly from each other. This was then made into the Terms of Reference for the season, and it came entirely from them. As a result of which they have been more inclined to participate, enjoy it more when they do and are able to understand without moaning as to why perhaps they may not get picked and why others have. An example being that someone could well win every match in training but if they are not humble about it amongst their peers they will not be given the opportunity to do so at other clubs. The way the team is run is always open for discussion and consultation with any member; ideas and input are welcomed and have led to such things being decided that after every match day, win or lose, we go do something all together to wind down, chill out and not get too caught up in the events that just happened. After the Chigwell game for instance we all went and had a right laugh playing crazy golf - which by the way I absolutely suck at.

Those who played, those who watched and those who didn’t get the chance to this time, all cannot wait for our next match day, especially as it’s at home! We are very much looking forward to hosting and visiting the remaining clubs on this seasons schedule and wish everyone the best of luck in all their fixtures. Regardless of how we eventually do, this maiden season for Hylands is certainly feeling like something unique and special to be a part of right from the very offset.

Luke Anthony Ellis
Hylands Men’s Team Coach

*For the full match report by Michael W (age 15), accompanied with pictures, as well as other club related activities please visit our Community Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hylandscasc

Hylands will be holding a FREE OPEN DAY on Sunday 29 June from 11 am to 3 pm. Although, the event is FREE, places must be booked in advance via the link below:


Update from America

I have been in the States for almost three years now, and just like most things the time is flying by. It still feels like I just arrived here with only one suitcase, into an empty room in the middle of nowhere. West Virginia is the complete opposite to London in almost every way. There are just miles and miles of mountains and forest, and hundreds of stories about people getting lost in the woods.

What I came here for though is my tennis, and living my dream of playing college tennis has been everything I wanted it to be. After two seasons of tennis, I have two national medals, one regional championship, and two conference second place medals. I have traveled across the country through cities and deserts to play matches, with a team that has become a family. Although being stuck in a six seater minivan with eight guys can be a killer sometimes, I would'nt want to do it with anyone else.

Our team consists of 14 players including only three Americans. We have a number one doubles pair ranked top ten in the nation, four Brazilians, two Australians, two Spaniards, one Ecuadorian, and a Jamaican. I am proud to play with these guys, and the hard work we all put in together shows in how we are as a team. We win together and lose together, even if you are not the one playing the match. When you spend three hours a day practicing, and hours a week in the library studying together, you have no choice but to become close. The best part about being here is those guys on my team, hands down.

Last season we made it to the Sweet Sixteen tournament, which is the final round of Nationals. The best sixteen teams in the nation, and we were by far the worst there, but we made it. There where players on some teams who used to be top three hundred ATP ranked. Six foot five, fourteen stone beasts of men. It is the first time I have had a 130mph serve at me, and I did almost poop myself.

We got treated like pros there though. Free bags, shirts, hats, food, drinks, and a player conference and photo shoot. Who needs to go pro when you can have all this. Five star hotel all paid for in Phoenix, Arizona, that’s the life. We lost first round to a team called Hawaiian Pacific, who had the number one doubles and singles player in the nation on their side. He was twenty five, and used to train with Rafa.

That trip and this whole experience is the best part of my life, and I still have two more seasons left. This year nationals is in Florida, so Disneyland is calling!

Keep up all the good work at Hylands! 



Albany girls make Netballing history

The Albany School girls’ netball team has scored a first by beating formidable rivals Cooper Coborn girls’ netball team 9 goals to 8 in a nail-biting final during the year 7 London Borough of Havering Netball Rally held at the Albany School on 5 March 2014, making them the most successful team in Havering in 2014, and in Albany history.

The Year 7 team of Lauren Salisbury, Libby Hearn, Nicole Vann, Grace Kurti, Fine Okemadu, Jessica Beardsell, Kirra Hill, Grace Taylor and Amy Cleasby, had sailed through the group stages, including a semi-finals victory of 5 goals to 2 against St Edwards to book a place at the finals against formally unbeaten, unbeatable Coopers girls.
The final was one of the closest netball matches many have ever witnessed in recent times at this level, with both teams matching one another goal for goal.  The score line was 6-6 at full time, resulting in six minutes of extra time. The teams were evenly matched and neither gave way, but eventually Albany girls triumphed with a 9 goals to 8 win.
The girls will now go to represent Havering in the next round of the school games competition. Their season doesn't end there though; the team is also top of the year 7 league in their division, again winning every match. The league finals night, where a rematch with Coopers Coborn is imminent will take place at The Albany on Monday 24th March.
Back in 2001, this scenario would have been unthinkable. The professional level netball pitch at the Albany School is a new addition to the school and follows an upgrade made possible by collaboration between at the Albany School and Hylands Tennis Club. The refurbishment of the court started when Hylands Tennis Club moved from the Hylands Park tennis courts to a new home at the Albany School.
The intention was to refurbish the tennis courts only, however, through discussions by both sides and with the London 2012 games rallying everyone in Britain together, the club and the school agreed there was a clear opportunity to create a legacy and set out to identify other sports which could be added to the tennis specialisation.
As a result, Hylands and the Albany School have created a “Common Good” games facility whereby pupils at the Albany and members of the local community have access to an impressive £500,000 floodlit facility, which also allows the school to host events which previously had not been possible. In turn this provides new opportunities for the community and other schools to benefit from this facility.
This sporting success highlights the very valuable contribution a number of patrons, Bryan Cave, Fenn Cox and Partners, Waldon White Jones, among others, have given by donating their professional expertise to make this possible.

<<  1 2 3 [45 6 7 8  >>