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Hit and miss start to tennis season in Badenoch and Strathspey

By Gavin Musgrove

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There has been a rain hit start to the Galbraith Highland Tennis League in Badenoch and Strathspey.

There was uncertainty surrounding the competition being held this season because of the Covid-19 lockdown and then travel restrictions.

Lengthy committee discussions concluded with a compromise by which competitions were to be run on a three cluster basis – Moray, Highland North, Badenoch and Strathspey.

League secretary Hamish McBain said: "First division teams were given the option of joining in with the relevant cluster or form a separate cross district event and those involved chose the latter option.

"Part of the agreement reached was that although fixture lists would be drawn up by the league secretary the season would comprise a series of friendly matches with no trophies presented."

There have been a couple of firsts on show for this season both involving Badenoch clubs.

Newtonmore Tennis Club joined the LTA a couple of years ago, allowing them to compete in the district leagues.

In 2019 they dipped their toes in the water by entering a couple of junior and mini teams.

For this year, the club has decided to give the seniors a go by entering a mixed team to the Strathspey and Badenoch League.

It is also in the mixed that the second first comes in, with Kingussie competing in the competition for the very first time.

The club’s debut in the district events came in 1990 when they fielded a junior team.

This was followed the following year with a ladies and a men’s team taking part in their respective leagues.

Sadly the opening two rounds of mixed fixtures saw a mass of cancellations as rain swept across the area on both Mondays.

It has been a stop-start beginning to the season both due to the poor weather and coronavirus.

The Scottish Government announcement, a couple of weeks ago, that Moray would stay in Level 3 meant that all first division cross-county matches involving Elgin –ladies, men and mixed – and Rothes mixed had to be postponed because of the re-imposed travel ban.

Moray was put in Level 2 on Friday just in time to allow the Rothiemurchus mixed A visit to Rothes to go ahead.

But come Monday and the planned fixture, the constant rain meant the fixture was called off as was Aviemore mixed B's match at home to Kingussie.

Latest results:

Mixed: Kingussie 7 Newtonmore 0 (played at Newtonmore: Kingussie’s blaize was not ready for play); Grantown B 0 Kingussie 8; Newtonmore 1 Grantown A 7.

Ladies: Inverness A 8 Grantown A 0; Grantown B 7 R&A C 3.

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