Middleton Sports Club are striding into a new era with a woman at their helm for the first time since their formation 92 years ago.
Sue Brodie took over as chairman in September after a year as director of sales and marketing. She joined MSC in 2015 to play regular tennis and enjoy the lively social side of the Sea Lane club.
I believe in the past MSC has been viewed as an ‘exclusive’ club; however the truth is we are a community amateur sports club encouraging everyone to get involved.Sue Brodie
She said: “It is truly an honour to take on the role of MSC chairman alongside an amazing board of directors. This incredible club has been serving the community since 1926 and is the only private multi-sport club in the surrounding area, with five sections under one umbrella. These are tennis, cricket, squash and racketball, hockey and bowls.
“We also have an impressive gym and facilities for events and parties.
“I believe in the past MSC has been viewed as an ‘exclusive’ club; however the truth is we are a community amateur sports club encouraging everyone to get involved. We are also extremely proud to be a facility that encourages inclusive sports.
“We are a members-club run by members and are really fortunate to have a team of dedicated, generous and hard-working volunteers.”
Here is a guide to MSC’s different sections:
Middleton’s first XI play in the county’s top division, the Sussex Premier League – they finished seventh last season. The second XI finished third in division five.
One highlight from last year was the club’s under-11s and under-13s winning their respective Sussex Junior Cricket Festival competitions – a great reflection on the clubs thriving junior section.
MSC host a thriving hockey club. Last season’s highlight was the ladies’ firsts gaining promotion to the Sussex Premier League.
Both men’s teams had solid seasons in their respective leagues, Sussex divisions one and three. The ladies’ seconds finished fourth in Sussex division three and are aiming for promotion next season.
Middleton Hockey have a thriving junior section, which is attracting new players every year.
Club members range from eight to 59 and would love to hear from anyone who wants to play.
The Middleton bowls section had a very successful 2017 with the ladies gaining promotion to division one and the men improving their position in the league.
New players in the bowls section have re-energised the internal competitions and provided fantastic triples and finals weekends, creating a festival atmosphere.
Middleton is now an accessible, inclusive club, open to all no matter what their ability. Since 2014 more than £100,000 has been spent on improving facilities, including ramps, electric doors, disabled toilets and changing facilities. The gym is accessible and the personal trainer keen to help anyone with a disability.
On Monday nights there is a boccia social club, open to anyone either with experience or completely new to the game. It includes two players who have represented their country all over the world, bringing several medals home. Hopefully one will soon be a Paralympian.
Middleton also host county disability cricket matches and hope to expand their offering in the future to tennis, table cricket, and squash – but need people keen to take this forward.
Middleton has four men’s teams in summer leagues – the first team compete in the third division of the Aegon League, last year missing out on promotion to the second tier.
In the Wilson Sandford Doubles League, the firsts compete in league secen, with two other teams lower down the ladder.
Middleton has three teams in winter leagues.
The tennis ladies’ section is also strong, showing the biggest growth in new members over the past year. They have three teams in summer and winter doubles leagues. The emergence of the third team is exciting as there are more and more ladies who want to take part in competitive tennis.
The junior section has gone from strength to strength with teams entered at all levels of the Aegon Tennis League up to under-14s.
Last year’s highlight was success for both under-12 teams, with the 1st team only losing once through the entire season.
It is not just about competitive tennis at Middleton – there is a strong social side who play fun, social tournaments and hold social events.
Squash and racketball
In the season just finished, the club fielded four squash teams in the league. Their top team play in the Sussex Premier League and nabbed a creditable mid-table position.
The fourth team was introduced this year to act as a means for up-and-coming juniors to experience matchplay and they have secured their place in the same league next year. A range of junior games were organised throughout the season against nearby clubs.
The club has had both national under-17 champions as well as over-70s national champions.
The club is known for doubles play and hosts the regionally important invitation doubles every Easter, this year won by Middleton pair Brandon Hanley and Matt Ellicot.
Racketball is emerging as a good introduction for those who play other racket sports. These games are supported by regular club nights and leagues. Squash and racketball are great for fitness.