After the previous years experience at Pontins Holiday Camp in Brean many of us including the 9 City of Bath Players set out with much trepidation as to what we could expect at Hayling island.
About two and a half hours drive from Bath we were quickly parked up and efficiently checked in by the camps staff. And, to our rooms where we were met with made up beds, towels, soap, toilet paper and showers / baths that worked – a far cry from Pontins. After a quick practice on the newly laid pistes it was off to the bar (of course) and then to dinner where separate sections in the restaurant had been assigned to each region.
Another revelation, the choice of waiter service, self service or a combination of both, a four course meal awaited us and while officially it was not “eat as much as you want” noone seems to have gone short. The wine, however was another issue, at £7.99 for a bottle of house red, it did little to encourage this group of highly trained athletes to abstain and retain their strength for the following days competition.
Breakfast was, similiar to dinner, a revelation ensuring that noone missed out on the necessary sustanance to prepare us for the day ahead.
Bob Rumble explained ” As a new member to the squad and having never played in the Inter Regional Championships before the sense of closeness of players, spectators, official umpires, nearly 100 pistes and the need to maintain awareness of everything that was going on around proved to be distracting on the first day. By the second day I had become used to the surroundings and the distractions” He also added that “I really enjoyed playing against the other teams, not only for the opportunity to learn from them and improve my game, but because everyone was so friendly. A cracking weekend all round. Would love the opportunity to repeat it next year”.
While the pistes were very different from Brean, being smaller and the surfaces rougher, they threw up their own challenges which sometime made you feel it was a lottery but in reality we all have to learn to play on all types of surfaces. Although the team only won 25% of their matches, we have now set a benchmark against which we can measure ourselves as a region. Last year we were only able to field 4 teams, this year it was eight and with the experienced gained and new players coming along there are opportunites to improve next year.
The GWR committee have a number of ideas that hopefully next year we can enter teams in the Championship, Challenge and Juniors (a total of 13 teams).
Overall the facilites were good, the catering was excellent, the bar was cheap although service could be slow and finally the Pistes were a challenge but they will settle down and next years contest will be eagerly awaited by those who attended and hopefully those who will join in next year.