The club was formed in 1926, the land being leased from John Castle a local builder and developer. The initial development on Longsight Road consisted of four red shale courts, a putting green and the present timber built pavilion which was later extended. The pavilion was lit by gas lights and had a club room, kitchen, ladies and gentleman’s changing rooms together with a balcony area running across the whole length of the front of the pavilion.
In addition to the playing of tennis the members of the club held regular whist drives which continued right up to the 1980's.
One of the Founders of the club was Clifford C. Wood who was the club secretary for over 50 years from 1926 until 1980. He featured on the BBC Radio programme Down your Way in recognition of his 50 year service.
Holcombe Brook Sports Club altered very little up until 1970 and played friendly matches against other clubs in East Lancashire. In 1970 the landlord John Castle passed away and the executors of his will decided that the land should be sold.
The secretary called an extraordinary meeting to explain the position to the club members and stated that the club had only limited funds and therefore it was not in a position to purchase the land. The membership stated that the club should not be allowed to fold as it was of considerable benefit to the community. Les Sutcliffe, was appointed chairman and he set about forming a Land Fund Committee was formed and the executors were persuaded to give the club a period of six months in which to raise the necessary funds to purchase the land. At that time only two of the four shale courts were playable. The club had only a small playing membership and a large number of older non playing members (originally player members) playing whist.
Les Sutcliffe organised vigorous fund raising events supported by the memebrs. Members donating loans and a grant from the Playing Fields Association the money to purchase the land was raised within the six month period. All members were also repaid within a year.
Following the land purchase the Land Fund Committee became the Development Committee. The aim of which was to improve the club’s facilities. Social events were run on a regular basis and the balcony at the front of the club was incorporated into the main pavilion so as to enlarge the clubroom.
The membership increased rapidly during the 70's due to improved playing facilities. In 1974 the club entered two teams into the Bolton Sunday School Tennis League.
During the 1970's a new false ceiling was installed and the Old Manchester Co-op Maple dance floor was purchased by Les Sutcliffe and laid at the club.
In 1982 two of the shale courts were converted into three all weather courts utilising the Manpower Services Commission. An extension was built which included a bar, storeroom and cellar.
In 1983 the
Senior Men’s Team at the club won the 1st Division men’s league of the Bolton Sports Federation for the first time, they are the current champions and have won the league 23 times in all.
During 1984 extensions were added to the ladies and gentleman’s changing rooms and showers were installed.
The club held the first ever LTA Ratings Tournament in Lancashire in 1985 sponsored by Pernod.
The remaining two shale courts were converted to two all weather courts in 1986 together with floodlights. The men’s team won the Roscoe Trophy (Lancashire Champions) for the first time. Since then they have won the title five times as well as in 2010. The mixed team won Division One of the Bolton Sports Federation Tennis League in 1987 and are currently 2010 Champions. The mixed team have won the league 23 times.
In 1988 the ladies team became Lancashire Champions winning the Liebert Rose bowl and are the current 2010 Champions.
The Clubs men’s team played in the Puma Cup Final in 1989 at the All England Club (Wimbledon)
In 1993 the ladies team became National Ladies Champions winning the National Premier League at Welwyn Garden City. The ladies team have been National Champions twice since in 2001 and 2008.
During 1996 the block of three all weather courts were extended and re-laid to a block of four courts. The car park was laid with tarmacadam and also the perimeters adjacent to the pavilion.
The club announced in the Bury Times (headlines front page) that it was looking to re-locate to Hazel Hall Lane and were proposing to construct 13 outdoor courts. The Chief Planning Officer at the time Jim Metcalfe commented that he saw no reason why this could not be viable.
Holcombe Brook Sports Club became Mini Tennis Accredited in 2003 and in 2005 was presented by Tennis Lancashire with The Best Practice Award in recognition of its junior development and coaching programmes. In 2006 the Club received the Robinson Junior Aces Award for best Club in Lancashire. During 2008 The Lawn Tennis Association's President visited the club to award Holcombe Brook with Clubmark Accreditation.
In 2010 the club became a Satellite/Performance centre.
In addition to the Senior Teams the junior teams have enjoyed much success in 2010 being Lancashire Champions and Bolton Sports Federation Champions.
The management committee sanctioned the running of an annual national tournament grade 4 which began year 2009, to current year., Attracting players from all over the country.
Early in 2011 representatives of the club were invited by the LTA Competitions Department to discuss AEGON Team Tennis and following this visit a case study was produced by the LTA as an example to other clubs nationally of what could be achieved and now features on the LTA website.
In recognition of the club’s success, in March 2011, the Davis Cup team held a Coaching Master Class at the club which included Jamie Murray, Colin Fleming and Louis Cayer. The club was also featured on the ITV news.
Holcombe Brook Sports Club is not just a Club providing facilities for paying members. The Club encompasses an inclusive coaching programme which caters for members, non members, local schools and all abilities and age ranges from 4 years old to senior citizens. As such, the club is a genuine community sports club that is open to all.
Mini Tennis has transformed the interest in the game at an early age and attracts a large number of children throughout the year due to the all year round coaching programme achieved by the Club hiring sports halls at local secondary schools, including Harper Green and Bolton Arena.
In affiliation with the Bury Schools Partnership the Club offers coaching opportunities for varying year groups for both the local primary and secondary schools respectively.
The Club’s members participate in a plethora of local and national leagues in a number of age categories. In 2010 the Club ran some 35 teams, including 9 teams (of 6 players per team) in the AEGON Junior National Club League, 5 junior teams (8 players) in the Bolton and District League and 2 junior teams (4 players) in the Junior Manchester League. There are also approximately 19 senior teams playing in a variety of tournaments and leagues. The Club’s teams are highly successful and have gained promotions to higher divisions in several leagues, and have also been successful at a national level.
The success of the Club’s training programme can be seen with reference to recent successes in its junior teams. In 2010 the Club’s boys and girls teams both won the 13 and under North West Manchester Indoor Leagues. Similarly, the girls under 14 team became Lancashire County Champions while the under 18 boys and girls teams have recently both become Lancashire County Champions. These successes are common place for the Club and are testament of the attention that it pays to its junior members.
As well as offering their facilities to the local community the Club also hosts competition events. The Club was fortunate enough to cater for the trials of Greater Manchester Youth Games, the International Youth Games and the local Bury High Schools Tournament in 2007 and 2008, and 2009.
As testament to the Club’s open access policy and community tennis programme, in 2008 the Club was awarded the prestigious ‘Club Mark’ Award by the Lawn Tennis Association, a Sport England Kite Mark Award given to sports clubs in recognition of achieving a certain standard. The Club has also achieved the Lawn Tennis Association’s ‘Satellite Performance Status’, a national accreditation focused on junior membership and performance. Finally, Bury MBC’s own sports club accreditation scheme has awarded the Club the ‘Club Silver’ award and the Club is currently working towards the ‘Club Gold’ award. These awards all confirm the strength and commitment of Holcombe Brook Sports Club to helping promote tennis in the community both at a grass roots level, and at a performance level.
Holcombe Brook Sports Club is a genuine community tennis club which provides a valuable resource for the local area. The Club has an open access policy and many people benefit from the Club’s facilities and its links with local schools without even being members of the Club.