Rules and Regulations for Inter-Club Competitions
The Association’s trophies shall be competed for annually and the competitions shall be open to all clubs in membership with the Association. Trophies shall be nominally held for one year.
Competitions shall be conducted in accordance with the following regulations, and with the Rules of Lawn Tennis and the Rules, Regulations and Disciplinary Code of the Lawn Tennis Association, so far as there are applicable to the Competitions.
No Club shall be eligible to compete until it has paid to the Association its subscription for the current year (together with any arrears) and the Entry Fee which, with the closing date for entries, shall be fixed by the Council from time to time.
4. Eligibility of Players – Club Membership and Age Restrictions
a) The qualifications to play for a Club in any match shall be bona fide playing membership of such Club for at least 14 days prior to the match for which they are selected. By bona fide member, is meant a player elected in accordance with the Rules of the Club, but not a temporary member or one elected on special privileged terms by reason of his or her playing ability.
b) Players shall be eligible for Veteran’s events if they have reached the minimum age of 45 years for Men and 40 years for Ladies, or will do so by the 31st December of the calendar year in which the event starts.
c) Players shall be eligible for Junior Competitions if they will not reach the age of 15 during the calendar year in which the competition is held for the aged from 14 and Under.
5. Eligibility of Players – Representing Clubs
In the competitions of any one summer season, a player may only play for one and the same Club, and a similar restriction shall apply to any one winter season. However, a player who is a bona fide member of two clubs may represent either Club in any Veterans or Junior League Competition in which the other Club does not enter. However, a player may not play for two separate clubs in different Junior Competitions.
6. Eligibility of Players – Nominations
a) If a club has entered more than one team in any one type of Senior Competition, then it must nominate six or four players (depending upon numbers of players in the teams’ competition) for each team except the lowest. It is the intention that its best three (or two) pairs, in order of merit, shall play in the 1st team, the next three (or two) pairs in the 2nd team and so on. It is also the intention that in each team entered by a Club, the pairs shall play in order of merit.
b) For Junior League Competitions, a Club shall nominate four players for every team entered. It is the intention that the best two pairs, in order of merit shall play in its 1st team, the next in the 2nd team and so on.
c) No nominated player may play for a lower team except by permission of the Council which shall be granted only in exceptional circumstances. All nominations must be received by the Competitions Secretaries prior to the first match to be played for both summer and winter seasons. It is the responsibility of a Club’s Fixtures Secretary to ensure that such nominations are received on time. In default of this Rule, no player who plays in a match may then play for either a higher or lower team until the full nominations have been received.
d) If a Club has two or more teams competing in a League, there is a limit to the number of times on which a player may player for a higher team before becoming ineligible to play for the lower team(s). In the Summer Leagues, this limit is determined by the number of teams in the higher Division; where there are six teams in the Division, a player may play a maximum of three matches in that Division and still remain eligible to play in the lower team, but where there are only five teams in the higher Division then the maximum number of matches a player may play and still retain eligibility for the lower team is two. In the Winter Leagues the limit is two. All rubbers involving an ineligible player shall be awarded to the opposing team.
e) Any competing Club that contravenes these Regulations shall, at the discretion of the Council, be liable to further penalty or disqualification.
7. Arrangement of Divisions and Groups – Summer League Competitions
The Council shall, at its discretion, allocate teams from competing Clubs into appropriate Divisions of not more than six teams each. Divisions will normally be arranged in a descending order of playing strength. Each team shall play each other in the same Division twice – one home and one away, except for Junior Divisions where they play each other one, home or away, unless a smaller entry means home and away will provide sufficient competition and this is determined by Council before the commencement of the season.
8. Arrangement of Divisions and Groups – Winter League Competitions
a) In the primary section, the Council shall use its discretion to allocate teams from competing Clubs into appropriate Divisions of at least two groups, with five teams in a group. The Council may, at its discretion, alter the number of teams in Divisions and groups respectively according to the number of teams entered in any particular year.
b) Each team shall play one match against each other in the same group. In the secondary section, the winning team from each group shall be included in a draw, made by the Council, for each Division. The ultimate winner of each Division will be determined by a play-off on a knockout basis.
9. Promotion and Relegation
a) In the Summer League Competitions, it is the general intention that the winners of each Division shall be promoted to the next higher Division and the bottom Club in each Division shall be relegated to the next lower Division.
b) In the Winter League Competitions, the finalists of each Division shall normally be promoted to Division above, the bottom placed teams being relegated.
c) To provide for exceptional circumstances, the Council shall have general powers to place Club teams in whichever Division it considers appropriate.
10. Match Fixtures
a) The Council shall notify clubs in February each year of the fixtures for all Summer League Competition matches. All competing Clubs are responsible for agreeing the dates for matches between them and for notifying the relevant Competition Secretary of the agreed dates by a prescribed method & date to be determined by Council each year. Should a club fail to notify the relevant Competition Secretary of the agreed fixtures by the prescribed method & date then the relevant team(s) shall have one point deducted from their points total for that respective season. All fixtures should not be before 31 March and not after 31 January in any year. Any fixtures dates mutually arranged between the competing clubs shall be binding on the Clubs concerned.
b) The Council shall notify clubs in September each year of the fixtures for the Primary Section of the Winter Competition. All competing Clubs are responsible for agreeing the dates for matches between them and for notifying the relevant Competition Secretary of the agreed dates by a prescribed method & date to be determined by Council each year. Should a club fail to notify the relevant Competition Secretary of the agreed fixtures by the prescribed method & date then the relevant team(s) shall have one point deducted from their points total for that respective season. All fixtures should be not before 24 September and not after before 31 March and not after 14 August in any year. Any fixtures dates mutually arranged between the competing clubs shall be binding on the Clubs concerned.
c) Where two teams from the same Club are drawn to play against each other then, in a Summer Division, both matches between these teams are to be played by 31 May, without exception. If two teams from the same Clubs are drawn to play against each other in a Winter group, the match between these teams is to be played before either team plays any other matches.
11. Postponed Matches – Circumstances
Match dates, once agreed between two Clubs, shall be binding on both and may only be postponed for extreme reasons, such as courts being unplayable. The Home Club must advise the Competition Secretary of all rearranged match dates. Non-availability if players is not a valid reason for postponement, and if a Club cannot play a fixture for this reason, it must offer the match to the opponents.
12. Postponed Matches – Concessions and Penalties
a) Any Club that concedes a match shall incur a points penalty. Where a Club intends to concede a match, it must contact the opposing Club at least 3 days before the agreed fixture date, and written confirmation of the concession must be sent to the appropriate Competition Secretary. If this procedure is followed, the penalty for concession shall be two points from the relevant team’s points total for the season; if the procedure is not followed then the penalty for the concession shall be the deduction of three points.
b) Any team conceding more than two matches or failing to get out a full team in more than two matches or a combination of both occurring more than twice in a Division in any once season shall have its total points expunged, and shall be disqualified from participating in the League for the following twelve months. Similarly, any team which, having entered the League, is withdrawn either before the start or during the season shall be disqualified from participating in the League foe the following twelve months. A team may only avoid such disqualification if its Club can provide the Council with written acceptable reasons for its failure to fulfil its fixtures.
13. Conduct of Matches – Start and Finish times of matches Summer
a) Clubs shall agree to a starting time in advance. In Summer League Competitions, evening matches shall commence not later than 6.30pm and, failing mutual agreement to the contrary, shall cease not later than 9.00pm plus two games if a result could be obtained.
b) Afternoon matches shall commence not later than 2.30pm and, failing mutual agreement to the contrary, shall cease not later than 8.30pm plus two games if a result could be obtained.
c) Play shall be continuous and without unnecessary delay from the first service until the rubber is completed.
14. Conduct of Matches – Start and Finish times of matches Winter
a) In Winter Competitions, matches shall commence at a time agreed between the two Clubs and opposing Captains shall decide, before commencement of the match, at what time play shall cease.
b) Play shall be continuous and without unnecessary delay from the first service until the rubber is completed.
15. Conduct of Matches – Late and absent player penalties
If any player is not ready to play within 20 minutes after the time fixed for the commencement of the match, it is mandatory that one love set shall be conceded in the rubber from the player is absent and, if 40 minutes late, the rubber shall not be played and the opponents shall receive two love sets. If the player is still absent by the time the final round of rubbers is due to commence, then his or her team shall also incur a penalty one point deduction from its points total for the season.
Note: Rule 15 means that, in exceptional circumstances, if a Club cannot manage to get out a full team, then it can still fulfil the fixture subject to the penalties advised above. The team which is short of players is obliged to telephone the opposition in advance. Turning up to play matches when short of players is not a practice the North Kent LTA encourages or approves of. Any team regularly turning up for matches short of players will be subject to additional penalties.
16. Conduct of Matches – Courts
Matches shall be played on hard or grass courts as mutually agreed. Failing agreement, the Home Club shall determine which courts are fit for play. The use of covered or floodlit courts shall only be by mutual agreement between the two Clubs.
17. Conduct of Matches – Tennis Balls
At least four new balls per court shall be provided at the expense of the Club having choice of ground. They shall be of a brand designated as approved by the International Tennis Federation (IFT) and, unless from a freshly opened pressurised container, of the current year, except for Junior matches where good quality used ITF approved balls may be provided.
18. Conduct of Matches – Order of Play and Results
a) In Summer League Competitions, each team shall consist of three pairs in the Men’s and Mixed Divisions and two pairs in the Ladies’, Veteran Men’s, Veteran Ladies’, Veteran Mixed and Junior Divisions.
b) In a three pairs match, the order of play shall be:
FIRST ROUND SECOND ROUND
Home 1 v Away 1 Home 2 v Away 1
Home 2 v Away 2 Home 3 v Away 2
Home 3 v Away 3 Home 1 v Away 3
c) In a two pairs match, the order of play shall be:
FIRST ROUND SECOND ROUND
Home 1 v Away 1 Home 2 v Away 1
Home 2 v Away 2 Home 1 v Away 2
d) The Team which at the cessation of play, has won the greatest number of completed rubbers shall be declared the winner of the match or, in the event of each team winning an equal number of completed rubbers, the result will be a draw. All results will be valid, provided that the first round of rubbers have been completed. The Captain of either side may concede rubbers, sets and/or games for the purpose of completing any round.
e) For Summer Senior Competitions, in evening matches, only two rounds will be played in which each rubber shall be the best of two tie-break sets.
f) The above rules also applies to all daytime Midweek Veteran’s matches for Summer and Winter Competitions.
g) In Weekend matches, for both two and three pair Senior matches, only two rounds will be played in which each rubber shall be two tie-break sets followed, if necessary, by a match tie-break (first to 10 points, but two points clear ahead to win). Clubs may, by prior mutual agreement, adopt the two tie-break sets per rubber procedure.
h) For Junior Competitions, all rubbers shall be two tie-break sets followed by a championship tie-break (first to ten points, but two points clear ahead to win), if required. Clubs may, by mutual agreement, adopt the two tie-break set per rubber procedure. Any other variation to this will be included within the Junior League Draw pages for that season.
19. Conduct of Matches – Incomplete or Postponed Matches
Should bad light, weather or other mutually agree cause prevent the three (or two) first round rubbers being completed, then either:
a) the match may be completed to a valid conclusion within one week of the original date provided that the same players take part – any unfinished rubbers being entirely replayed OR
b) the whole match shall be completely replayed on a future date, to be agreed within three days, when different players may take part.
c) In either case, the Home Club shall advise the Competitions Secretary immediately of the agreement reached and of the new date.
20. Conduct of Matches – Winter Competitions
a) In Winter Competition matches, each team shall consist of two pairs and the choice of ground will be determined by the Council so as to equalise, as far as possible, the number of home and away matches for each team. Each match shall consist of four rubbers, each pair of a team playing one rubber against each pair of the opposing team – but a valid result shall be two or more rubbers completed.
b) In secondary section (knockout round) matches, should the numbers of rubbers be equal, the majority of sets (in completed rubbers) shall decide and if the number of completed rubbers and sets be equal, the majority of games (in completed rubbers) shall decide. In the event of a tie, the match shall be replayed on the away team’s ground within two weeks (to be agreed within three days), when different players may take part.
21. Notification of Results
The Captain (or Team Captain) or the Home Club shall fully complete the Association’s Result Card (including first and surname of players) and send the card to the Competitions Secretary responsible for the event within 24 hours of the completion of the match. It must be signed by both Captains. Clubs who have scratched (conceded) a league fixture should also send the Competition Secretary a Result Card confirming this. Telephone advice of the match result is not acceptable. Any team failing to comply with this regulation shall be liable to penalty or disqualification.
22. Championship – Points Allocation and Final Positions
a) In League Competitions, teams shall be awarded two points for a win (in completed rubbers) and one point each in the event off a draw.
b) If two teams in a Summer Divisions finish the season on level points, then precedence shall be given to the team which has conceded the lesser number of matches. If neither team has conceded any matches, or they have conceded the same number, then the results of the two matches they played against each other shall determine their order in the final table in the Senior Leagues. If each team won a match then the team winning the majority of rubbers shall be placed first. Should rubbers be equal then sets (in completed rubbers) shall decide and if sets are also equal then the majority of games (in completed rubbers) shall decide.
c) The same ruling shall also apply in the Winter Competition Primary round groups when teams have finished level on points.
23. Questions and Disputes
a) All questions of eligibility, qualification of players, interpretation of these regulations or otherwise, in relation to the Competitions shall be referred to the Competition Secretary, whose decision shall be final.
b) Any dispute arising between Clubs shall be referred to the Council, for arbitration, whose decision shall be binding on both Clubs. Members of the Council who are members of Clubs involved in such disputes shall not be eligible to speak or vote at the meeting of the Council at which such disputed are being considered.
24. Delegation of Powers
The Council may delegate all or any of the powers given to it under the above Regulations, to the Competition Secretary or any other Officer(s) of the Association appointed by them for the purpose of or, in the case of emergency, to the Honorary Secretary.
The Council shall have the power to alter or add to the above Regulations as it may deem expedient, but notice of such alteration shall be subject to confirmation at the next Annual General Meeting. Pending such confirmation, all changes made by the Council to the above Regulations shall be fully valid and enforceable.