"I had to give it my best shot": East of Scotland tennis administrator receives UK recognition

East of Scotland tennis administrator Adele Fletcher has been named ‘League Organiser of the Year’ in a UK-wide competition.

Key areas looked at by judges included exceptional fixture completion rates, management of on-line leagues, retention and growth in teams and communication with team captains.

In a statement the East LTA said: “We are exceptionally proud that Adele has been recognised by @the_LTA as League Organiser of the year. She does a great job each year and continues to grow our competitions.”

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Adele, continues to play as well as organise, said: “It is a lovely bit of recognition for tennis in the area, but I never thought there was a chance we could win given the large number of English regional associations. I must admit that when I heard the award existed my competitive nature dictated I had to give it my best shot. It is, though, largely down to our team captains who were so good in getting matches played this year particularly in the junior leagues.”

Adele Fletcher has been recognised for boosting tennis participating levels in the East of Scotland region.

Here, the East has been able to re-introduce winter leagues for juniors despite conflicting demands from traditional winter sports including rugby, football, hockey and basketball.

Adele added: “My main aim, as always, is to avoid the dreaded walk-over scenario and there was a lot of respect for what everybody puts in to make leagues a success this year. I’m proud that 90 per cent of matches were played.

“The number of people playing tennis went up hugely during Covid because we were one of the few sports able to operate outdoors. The challenge is to retain these players, but a positive sign is that there are 21,000 registered players in the East of Scotland and 400 teams in all our leagues. The number of new names on the team-sheets is significant and this has meant a lot of infectious enthusiasm.”

Adele is among those registered players as she turns out for North Berwick and has also represented the East senior ladies team in competitions around Britain. Occasionally her role requires some mediation in disputes.

Adele Fletcher, left, with Tim Henman and her North Berwick colleagues

“It doesn’t happen often but I’ve learned that applying a sense of humour usually helps,” she explained. “One example: I had to resolve a situation where a player protested that although a ball had clearly landed on the line it should have been called out because the ‘line was too thick’!

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“There is an element of problem solving involved in being a league administrator but that is something I enjoy even if I have had to change the ring tone on my ‘phone to determine if it is a call about a league match coming in after midnight that can wait until morning.”

As well as the social element, the elite end of the VMH solicitors-sponsored East Leagues is proving a breeding ground for talent as shown by the performances of the representative teams in the annual British Summer County Cup. The ladies were promoted in 2022 from division five to division four while for the second year in succession the men just missed out on winning Division One.

“If the men had managed to win just one more championship third set tie-break in each of these two years they’d have been champions,” added Adele. “That’s how close they were.”

Adele Fletcher with East of Scotland region president Viki Mendelssohn