According to Gordon Boalch, the first tennis in Misterton was played on the flat area of the field next to the school. This was by the permission of the then vicar, the Reverend Turpin. But a change of vicar resulted in villagers looking elsewhere. And this is how “The Rec” came into use – sometime in the late 1930s. In the early days, there was no fencing or side netting to the court. The foundation stones of a club were laid down as more and more people became interested. The leading lights behind it all were Glad Young and Gordon Boalch’s mother.
In the early days there was just one court, grass of course -laid by Glad’s husband Sid, and Joan Churchill’s uncle Percy. This was fenced just after World War 2 by the Youngs using chicken wire – and Johnnie Obern (who worked for the Youngs) was paid to cut the grass.
The Grass Tennis Court – circa 1950
In 1948, a second court was brought into play when the original court (ie the one further from the railway) was tarmaced. So in its early years, it was the young ladies of the village: (like Joan Churchill, Margaret French and Margaret Newberry under the able supervision of Glad Young and Mrs Freddie Boalch and, a little later, daughter- in-law Mary) who were the driving force behind the Club.
The first friendly matches were arranged against teams from Broadwindsor, Stoke-sub-Hamdon and South Petherton – and full advantage was taken of “double summer time” to play long into the evenings.
The Club has gone from strength to strength over the years and the second court was hard-surfaced in 1973: Ten years later, the first court was provided with an “en-tous-cas” surface, one of the first in any Somerset village. Under the able supervision of first Gordon Boalch and later Chris Ellis, the Club has continued to develop – with the second court being uplifted to “en-tous-cas” standard and then, in 1991, floodlit. The original court was provided with floodlights some ten years later.
Members like Gordon Boalch and Keith Taylor had been playing for so long that they are now part of the club’s folk-lore. Club members have competed in the Yeovil Tennis League for the last 20 years and of recent times attention has focussed on the development of young players. Brothers Nicholas and James Darby have both played for the Somerset Youth teams and Bethany Lacey, currently on a tennis scholarship in the USA, was the Somerset U18 County Champion for three years running.
The Club is undoubtedly one of the success stories of our village.