Gainsborough Evening Tennis League Rules

(Revised – March 2022, revisions shown in red text)

1. The league shall be divided into divisions. Normal promotion and relegation to be applied, i.e. with 1 team up and down as appropriate. Each team in each division to play every other team in that division on a home and away basis.
Any further changes resulting in withdrawals and new admissions shall be decided at the AGM.

For 2022, the following arrangement was agreed at the AGM –

Division 1 – one automatic relegation and a play-off between the team finishing 7th in Div 1 and the team finishing 2nd in Div 2.

Division 2 – one automatic promotion for the winning team and a play-off opportunity for promotion as above for the team finishing second

Divisions 2 and 3 two relegations

Divisions 3 and 4 two promotions

2. Each team shall field a side of three couples for each match. The decision as to the mix, if any, between male and female players making up this side shall remain with the team. Each couple is required to play three sets, therefore making a total of nine sets in the match. The home team shall provide liquid refreshments for the visiting team.

3. A club fielding more than one side must nominate teams in ranking order. Clubs should stipulate in writing, to the league secretary, prior to the commencement of the season, a minimum of six players eligible to play for each nominated team. The league secretary will distribute a list of all names of “nominated players” to each appointed team captain within the league. Should a captain be unable to raise six of the named team, players from a lower ranked team may be used. A player who plays for a lower ranked team can play for a higher team four times and still play for the lower team. If they play more than four times they must then stay in the higher team.
There will be no restrictions on junior members, under 16 on April 1, playing up and down between club teams, provided names are submitted to the Secretary before the start of the season.
Players are only allowed to play for one club in the Gainsborough Evening League during a season with the only exception to this rule being in the event of a change in personal circumstances. This exception would be at the discretion of the committee.

4. Each match shall comprise of nine sets, each couple playing one set against each of the opposing couples. Each set shall comprise of 13 games. If games reach six all, a regular tie-break (first to 7 points with a 2 point lead) will be used to decide the winner of that rubber.  However, if both captains agree prior to the commencement of the match, the number of games in each set may be reduced, i.e. a set may be deemed complete if one couple has at least won seven games. Once a match has commenced, If as a result of bad light, failing floodlights, or weather conditions, play has to be stopped, unless otherwise agreed by both team captains, the stoppage time is limited to a maximum 20 minutes before play must re-commence. Following the stoppage time if conditions have not improved, and it is not possible to play nine sets, then the match shall be deemed complete only if one side has won five sets. The ‘Set Percentage’ will still be worked out on the 9 sets that should be played (see Rule 11). If a match is abandoned before either side has won five sets, the match is to be deemed void and must be replayed (see Rule 6). If the match is not replayed, the sets completed do not count towards the set percentage at the end of the season and, no points shall be awarded unless otherwise agreed by the committee.

5. All matches shall commence at 6.30pm unless an earlier time has been agreed by representatives of both sides. If part of a team arrives later than 6.45 , they will forfeit the first rubber the late arriving pair would have played.

6. A fixture shall be played on the home night of the home team in the week allotted. No match to be cancelled other than for weather or committee approval. The home side may cancel a fixture up to three hours prior to its commencement if the reason is prevailing weather conditions. In this case the fixture may then be played on a mutually agreed date. If a fixture is abandoned before completion, the fixture will be replayed on a mutually agreed date one team turning up with only two pairs; will automatically concede three sets in the overall result. Both teams turning up with only two pairs will result in the match being deemed void and must be replayed. If a club is unwilling or unable to replay and concedes a match, two points will be deducted from their points’ score, with two points and five sets awarded to the opposing team.

7. Fixtures may be re-arranged if both teams agree.

8. Where there are three courts in operation, no couple should play more than one match on each court.

9. A team shall be awarded two points for a win. In other cases rule 6 applies.

10. A completed match card signed by the winning captain must be forwarded to the Secretary immediately after the completion of the fixture by the home club.

11. League position shall be decided on a points basis. In the event of teams holding equal points, the higher position shall be awarded to the team having the best set percentage, i.e. sets won expressed as a percentage of the total that should have been played (i.e. 126). If a position arises in a promotion or relegation situation teams have identical points and set percentages the teams shall play off.

12. The fixture list shall be drawn up by the Secretary. Where a club has two or more teams in the same division, one match date where those teams oppose one another will be scheduled by the League Secretary during April or May.

The club has the option to play a single fixture and for the result to count as both the home and away match.

Alternatively, the club has the option to arrange the return fixture before the end of May and inform the League Secretary of the scheduled date before either match is played. (The two fixtures can be played in any order). If a match result is received and no date for the return match has been notified, the first result will automatically count as both their home and away matches.
Clubs opting to play two separate fixtures must inform the League Secretary and adjust their fixtures to play both matches by 31 May – extended to 16 June only in the event of rescheduling through inclement weather. If the club opts to play two fixtures but fails to complete their second match by 16 June, the higher ranked team will be awarded a 5-0 win. 

13. The knockout competitions shall be organised. One to include teams from the first division and second division the other to include teams from the third and fourth division. Teams not wishing to enter these competitions must notify the Secretary before the AGM. These competitions will be on a handicap basis. Each team will be given a score to add to their game tally. The result will be on the games won, not sets. The match must be completed; each pair must play 11 games against each other pair, giving a total of 99 games.

If games reach FIVE all, a regular tie-break (first to 7 points with a 2 point lead) will be used to decide the winner of that rubber. 

A team’s handicap will remain with it throughout the tournament.

An example is shown below:

Epworth (4)  V Haxey (12) [handicaps shown in brackets]

The actual score may be Epworth 52 games and Haxey 47 games

Epworth adds 4 to their total making 56
Haxey adds 12 to their total making 59

The winner of the above match would be Haxey 59 to 56.

The handicap allocated to each team will be agreed by members of the committee prior to the commencement of the season. Any team entered by a new club will be given a handicap based on the average handicap figure of each team competing in the relevant tournament however, the handicap figure for the new team will be capped at 20.
Where a participating club enters an additional team, that team’s handicap will be determined by the committee who will also take into account the handicap allocated to the lowest ranked team from that participating club (in the same tournament).

To help contain the length of Knockout Cup matches, if a game goes to a second deuce, the next point will be “sudden death” with receiver’s choice of deuce or advantage court. (Where time is at a premium, by mutual agreement of the Captains, “sudden death” can be played on the first deuce.)

The result of any match not completed will be decided by the committee. The finals of the Knockout competitions will be organised by the committee. Players appearing in the finals must have played at least 4 league matches.

14. The management committee, elected at each AGM, shall be comprised of a Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and three other members.

15. Each team shall be required to pay an annual subscription to the league. The amount for each season shall be decided at the AGM.

16. The AGM shall be held in March. The meeting of the business shall be: Minutes of the last meeting, Secretary’s report, Treasurer’s report, election of officials, subscriptions, amendments to the rules and election to and composition of the league. All clubs wishing to enter a team or teams in the forthcoming season must have a representative present at the AGM. Failure to do so will mean exclusion from the league.

17. Propositions to amend rules must be submitted in writing to the Secretary no less than 14 days prior to the AGM.

18. Each team shall be allowed only one vote on all propositions put forward at the AGM.

19. The decision of the management committee shall be final in any dispute relating to the league.