Duo join forces to beat off rivals and land top job

Winning start: Jason Cunningham starts with an emphatic win
Winning start: Jason Cunningham starts with an emphatic win

MICK Hague and Liz Beaton have assumed responsibility for serving up Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club’s coaching programme

Both previously worked under head coach John Willis, whose contract wasn’t renewed.

The pair, who will share the role, beat several other applicants to land the vacant position.

Mick has been involved in coaching at the club in various capacities for 21 year, whilst Liz boasts six years’ experience.

Both are well-known and respected figures at the club with Mick being the men’s team captain and Liz holding down the same role in the women’s team. They have won over 40 Open Club Championships between them - a number together - and Liz told The Star that both are very excited about their new role at the club.

Liz will handle most of the day-time coaching allowing Mick to retain his position on the sports staff at the fee-paying Hill House School.

The two coaches are very encouraged by the high standard of some of the younger players coming through and are keen to offer them plenty of competitive action,

“Four of the Under-8’s squad have been selected by Yorkshire LTA to go through to a County talent identification day in Hull in January,” said Liz.

“In the Under-12s section, Elizabeth Morris and Matthew Clegg are improving at a fast rate and Edward Morris and Molly Jenkins, both Hall Cross pupils, are achieving some good results at Under-15 level.”

She added:” We have squads on Saturday mornings and during the week are both are thriving with over 70 players involved in the Saturday squads and 70 on weekdays.”

The club also runs a Play and Play coaching session on Friday evenings which Liz says is an ideal time for youngsters interested in trying out tennis to come along and join in. Sessions on Friday’s cost £5 per hour and booking is not required. Under 8s play 4.30-5.30pm, 8-10s 5.30-6.30pm and 11 years and above play 6.30-7.30pm.

Players start from four years old, at the discretion of the coaches, often at the Friday sessions. If they show a real interest in playing more regularly they often join the smaller squads.

Mick and Liz say they look for natural athleticism in their players but feel the most important quality is enthusiasm for practice.

“Targets for 2012 include creating more links between the club and local schools, introducing some pre-school tennis and developing the adult coaching programme,” said Liz.

“The most rewarding part of the job is to see players improve and find so much enjoyment from playing tennis.”

Former ABA champion Jason Cunningham, who elected to punch for pay rather than remain in the amateur ranks and wait for the chance to stake a claim for a place in the 2016 Great Britain Olympic squad, got his professional career off to a winning start at the weekend with an emphatic 60-54 points win over Anwar Alfadli in their six rounder at Hull City Hall.

“I enjoyed it and was pleased with how it went,” said the 22 year-old Woodlands-based prospect. “He was a tricky opponent who ducked and weaved but I controlled the fight with my jab. There is a big difference between amateur and professional but I enjoyed having the time to plant my feet and get my shots away.”

Doncaster Rugby League Club legend Stewart Piper is living proof that you are never too old to learn a new skill.

The winger, who played over 300 games for the club in the 1970s and 1980s, has recently done a couple of local after-dinner talks recalling his playing days at Tattersfield and reflecting on Yorkshire Television’s award-winning documentary on the club, An Another Bloody Sunday, in which he featured,

“I’ve enjoyed doing them and they’ve gone down well,” said honorary club president Stewart, who can be contacted on Doncaster 759003.