1. LEAGUE ORGANISATION
(a) Only Clubs who are members of the Group and who have paid their membership subscription by the due date are eligible to enter teams in league matches. If a Club is suspended by the Group Committee under Rule 4 all its fixtures, whether scheduled or re-arranged during the period of suspension, will be considered as unfulfilled on its part and subject to Match Regulation 2 (g). Without prejudice to Group Rule 4, any Club which plays a match/es during a period when its membership subscription is unpaid is liable to have such a match/es considered as unfulfilled on its part and subject to Match Regulation 2 (g).
(b) There shall be two separate Leagues – one for Ladies’ teams and the other for Men’s teams.
(c) Each League shall wherever possible be divided into Sections of 8 Teams who will be scheduled to play each other twice in the season on a home & away basis. If in the lowest Section of a League there are less than 8 Teams then the Committee will decide the method of scheduling the fixtures. No more than two teams from any Club may play in the same Section. The Fixture List for each season will be decided by the Group Committee.
(d) Each match shall consist of six doubles events and each team shall consist of 3 pairs of players. Each pair shall play two pairs of the opposing sides to the following format: No. 1 Pair v No. 1 and No. 2 Pairs No. 2 Pair v No. 1 and No. 3 Pairs No. 3 Pair v No. 2 and No. 3 Pairs (Regulations regarding uncompleted matches are given under Match Organisation)
(e) Each event shall be played on the basis of the best of 3 Sets. The tie-break system will apply at the score of 6 games all in the first 2 sets. In the case of a tie at 1 set all then a Championship Tiebreak shall operate being the first players to reach a score of 10 points with a clearance of 2 points, e.g. 10-8, 11-9.
(f) Points for each match shall be decided on completed or forfeited events only and shall be scored as follows: 3 Points for the winning team in an outright win 1.5 Points for both teams in a drawn match (3-3, 2-2) 2 Points for the winning team and 1 Point for the losing team in an unfinished match (3-2) 2 Points for the winning team in an unfinished match (3-1)
(g) At the end of each Season, the total points scored by each Team will be calculated and: (i) the team with the most points scored in each Section will be the Champions of that Section and the team with the second highest points the Runners-up. Except in the top Section of each League, the Champions and Runners-up will be promoted to the next higher Section. (ii) except in the bottom Section of each League, the two teams with the least points in each Section will be relegated to the next lower Section. In the event of two or more Teams in a Section finishing the Season with equal points, then their positions will be determined by the ratio of events won to events lost and, in the case of further equality, by the same ratio of sets and then games. The Group Committee may promote more than two teams or relegate fewer than two teams from a Section in order to balance the number of teams in a Section/s for a new Season.
(h) The Champions of each Section will be presented by the group with a Challenge Trophy and the Club shall hold it for the period from the presentation up to the time when its return is requested by the Hon. Secretary of the Group for presentation the following year. Each Trophy will remain the property of the Group who will insure it against loss. However, each Club holding the trophy will be responsible for its safe-keeping and for returning it to the Group in good condition when requested. No Challenge Trophy can be won outright.
(i) If a Club wishes to enter a new team into a League it must apply in writing to the Hon. Secretary of the Group by 31st December of the prior year. The Group Committee shall decide the Section into which a newly entered team shall be placed but such placement must not interfere with the normal promotion and relegation procedure as described in Match Regulation 1 (g).
(k) If a Club wishes to withdraw a team from the League it must notify the Hon. Secretary in writing by 31st December of the prior year. If a Team does not fulfil three fixtures in a season, then the results of any match it has played will be expunged and the Team will be expelled from the League. If the Club subsequently applies to re-enter the team it will be considered for entry into the lowest Section in sequence of priority behind applicants already waiting at the time of the team’s expulsion.
(l) Matches are expected to be played competitively but with fair play and sportsmanship on both sides. Individual players are expected to conduct themselves within the spirit of this regulation. Failure to do so may result in action being taken by the Match Regulations Sub-Committee against the Club and/or the player(s).
(m) Before the start of each Season, the Group Committee will appoint a League Match Regulations Sub-Committee whose task will be to monitor the operation of the League’s during the Season, hear any complaints or appeals from member Clubs and decide upon action, including penalties where appropriate, when a Regulation/s has been infringed. This Sub-Committee will also decide action to deal with any matters arising during a Season regarding League Matches which are not specifically covered in these Match Regulations and to interpret Regulations in a way which is considered to be in the best interest of the Group’s membership. The Sub-Committee’s decision on these matters will be final.
(n) In the event of a club making a complaint against another, the complainant must notify the Chairman of the League Match Regulations Sub-Committee in writing by recorded delivery post of the complaint and the circumstances involved within seven days of the occurrence. A copy of the letter must be sent, at the same time, by the complainant to the secretary of the other club involved. A reply by the club complained against must be sent to the chairman of the League Match Regulations Sub-Committee in writing by recorded delivery post within fourteen days of the occurrence, with a copy to the secretary of the complainant club. The Chairman of the League Match Regulations Sub-Committee will then invite both clubs to send an informed representative to a meeting when a decision will be made. Failure by a club to adhere to the above procedure or non-attendance at the meeting will be taken to indicate that it withdraws its case and a judgement will be made accordingly.
(o) Lack of knowledge of these Regulations will not be considered an adequate reason for infringement.
(p) Any proposed additions or amendments to these Match Regulations for the next Season, must be submitted by a member Club to the Hon. Secretary of the group by 31st August of the prior year for submission to the A.G.M. or at least 21 days prior to any other General Meeting of the Group. Such proposed additions or amendments will require a two-thirds majority for acceptance when voted upon at a General Meeting.
2. TEAM SELECTIONS
(a) Where a club has more than one team entered in a League it will identify each team by a letter of the alphabet in order of strength, i.e. Team in highest Section – ‘A’, second highest section – ‘B’ etc.
(b) A Team shall consist of six players in three pairs. Each player must be a bona fide member of the Club for whom he/she is playing and have properly paid his/her subscription as required. A list of Club team players shall be sent to the League Match Results and Fixtures Secretary, within four weeks of the start of the season for registration with the Group. During the season, Club Secretaries shall notify the League Match Results and Fixtures Secretary of any amendments to their Club’s team players list. No registrations will be accepted after Week 10 of a season without prior agreement of the Committee. No player, having played for a team of one Club in a League match, may play for a team of another Club in the same season. If a player plays in a match under an assumed name, then that team will be automatically relegated for the first offence. Any further offences will result in the Club being expelled from the League.
(c) For each week of fixtures a Club must select pairs for all its Teams in either League in order of playing strength and as if all the teams were fulfilling fixtures on the same evening. Thus, if in a given week one team/s does not have a scheduled fixture, lower teams must not be strengthened by players who would normally have played for the team without a fixture. No player shall play for more than one team in the same week, unless it is a re- arranged fixture. No player shall play in a re-arranged fixture for a team lower than the one for whom he or she has or will play in a schedule fixture in the same week as the re-arranged fixture. The pairings within a team must also be selected in order of playing strength and a Captain shall be appointed from the selected players in the team. In the event of a team consisting of less than six players, then the match can proceed. However, any lower teams of the same club shall be considered to have lost their matches in the same week – 6 events to 0.
(d) When a Club has, in the opinion of the Match Regulation Sub-committee, unreasonably infringed these team selection regulations, the Club may be called upon to forfeit points to the opposition for the match/es concerned and face any other penalties considered appropriate by the Sub-committee.
(e) Where a Club has more than one team in one Section, fixtures between these teams must be arranged by the Club and be played in the first five weeks of the Season covered by the Fixture List. Failure to do so will result in the fixture being treated as a fixture unfulfilled by that club and no points will be awarded to either team, in respect of that fixture. A late card penalty will also be imposed.
(f) In the event of a Club not having enough players available in a given week to fulfil all its scheduled fixtures in a League, it must fulfil fixtures in order of seniority and leave the fixture/s of its lowest team/s in the League unfulfilled.
(g) If a Club fails to fulfil a fixture, unless authorised by the Match Regulations Sub- Committee in advance, it shall be considered to have lost the match 6 events to 0, 12 sets to 0 and 72 games to 0, and any lower teams of the same Club shall be considered to have lost their matches in the same week by the same score. A team which fails to fulfil more than one fixture shall also have three points deducted from its total of points secured by the end of the season.
Further if a Club fails to give the opposing Club 48 hours notice of its intentions not to fulfil a fixture, then the Club on not fulfilling its fixture, will be fined an amount to be fixed by the Group Committee, such amount to be assessed with due regard to the size of the Club involved and the maximum to be £25. Fines will be payable by the Club to the Hon. Treasurer of the Group and failure to pay within one week of receiving official notice from the Group of the fine may result in all scheduled fixtures of the Club during the period of non-payment being treated as unfulfilled and subject to the above provisions of this regulation. For the purpose of this regulation each Season shall be separate and distinct from the preceding one.
3. MATCH COURTS, BALLS AND EQUIPMENT
(a) A Home Team must make at least two courts available for a match at its own Ground and the dimensions, markings and facilities of the courts must be in accordance with LTA rules. Courts for a match are expected to be in a satisfactory condition for match play.
(b) In all matches, including those where a Home Team has courts of different types of surface, the decision as to the court on which an event shall be played will be that of the Home Captain.
(c) In relation to the availability of the minimum of two courts at the ground of the Home Club and the choice of courts by the Home Team captain, League Matches under the auspices of the Group must take precedence over any other play, competition or matches at the Home Club relative to all courts fit for play.
(d) A Home Team must make available at least nine new ITF Approved balls for each match. Balls lost during the course of play must be replaced by the home team.
(e) Failure by a Home Club to meet the conditions set out in sub-paragraphs a, b, c and d above will result in the Home Team being considered to have lost the match 6 events to 0, 12 sets to 0 and 72 games to 0.
(f) In the event of the minimum of two courts at the ground of the Home Captain not being fit to play through having been subject to inclement weather conditions, but only for this reason, then an alternative venue can be arranged provided both Captains are in agreement.
(g) Floodlighting of courts may be used in the course of a match providing both captains have agreed, in advance of the start of play, to its use, and on a final finishing time which allows for any club or local restrictions.
(h) During a match, players must use racquets of a type approved by the L.T.A., wear footwear which will not cause exceptional damage to the surface of the courts and wear recognised tennis clothing.
4. MATCH POSTPONEMENT
(a) Unless authorised by the League Match Regulations Sub-Committee in advance, no match shall be postponed from its scheduled date or agreed re-arranged date unless the courts on which the match is to be played are unfit due to inclement weather. (b) If the Secretaries of the Clubs or the Captains of both teams are able personally to communicate with one another on the day of play and shall both agree that play is impossible due to inclement weather, then the match shall be postponed.
(c) If the Secretaries or Captains are not able to communicate in this way, then both teams must present themselves at the ground at the time the match is due to be played whatever the prospects of play appear to be. (d) If a team fails to be present in accordance with
(c) above, then it will be considered not to have fulfilled the fixture and Match Regulation 2(g) will apply.
(e) When a match is postponed the Home Club shall within 72 hours offer to its opponents two alternative dates which must be within 14 days of the postponement. These dates should not coincide with any fixtures to which its opponents are already committed. The dates offered must include one week night and one weekend date. If none of these dates prove acceptable then the matter must at once be referred to the Match Regulations Sub-Committee.
5. MATCH ORGANISATION
(a ) All scheduled fixtures shall begin at 6.30pm and the courts be ready for use at that time. Re-arranged fixtures shall begin at a time agreed by both Clubs.
(b) At the start time for the match, and at the time that it is possible to begin playing the second events, all the couples required to play must be present, irrespective of whether two or three courts are in use. If at these times a couple are not ready to play and their opponents are, they shall forfeit the first set to their opponents 6 games to 0, and if they are still not ready to play after a further twenty minutes they shall forfeit the second set 6 games to 0.
(c) If a team at 6.50pm still presents for a match under strength then unless four players are present they will be considered not to have fulfilled the fixture and Match Regulation 2 (g) will apply.
(d) If a team is unable to field three couples, but can field four players, these players should constitute pairs 1 & 2. However, when a team is under strength at the start time for a match, because of the late arrival of a player or players, its remaining players should compete in their designated order of strength, as if all team members were present.
(e) The final decision whether play is possible at the start time for the match or during the progress of the match will be that of the Home Team’s Captain. All players must await the Home Captain’s decision regarding the possibility of play before leaving the ground.
(f) Home Team Away Team
1. No 1 Pair v No 1 Pair
2. No 2 Pair v No 3 Pair
3. No 3 Pair v No 2 Pair
4. No 2 Pair v No 1 Pair
5. No 1 Pair v No 2 Pair
6. No 3 Pair v No 3 Pair
Matches 4, 5 and 6 must be played in the order stated subject to the sequence in which pairs complete their first events.
(g) If a player is injured in a first event and the event cannot be completed, then the injured player’s team will forfeit the event but will score any completed set and any games won by them up to the point of retirement. A substitute is allowed to play in the second event only. If after completion of a first event a player becomes unfit to play in a second event, a substitute is allowed to play in that second event. No team shall field more than one substitute in any given fixture.
(h) Except where both Captains agree to use floodlighting, no set shall begin later than 10 minutes after sunset (local time) and no Championship Tiebreak Set shall begin later than 15 minutes after sunset (local time) and all play should terminate 30 minutes after sunset unless both Captains agree to play continuing beyond those times.
(j) If circumstances make the completion of a match uncertain, the Captains may agree a time limit. At the time of cessation of play with a match uncompleted then, (i) if 4 events have not been completed, the match must be considered postponed and be replayed, see Match Regulation 4 (ii) if 4 or more events have been completed, the match will be scored on the results of finished events only.
(k) The result of each match shall be sent by the Captain of the Winning Team, to reach the Match Results & Fixtures Secretary within seven days of the fixture, on the official team sheet/result card. Result cards shall be fully completed, i.e. names of competing teams, section, Christian names and surnames, correct scores and date played. The scorecard should be signed by BOTH Captains and the required postage paid in full. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in an automatic fine of £5.00. In the case of three (3) cards being submitted late, by the winning team, that team will also incur a penalty deduction of three points.