HISTORY OF BALLYGUNGE CRICKET CLUB / CCFC
After the 1924-25 cricket season the first tennis courts were laid at the Ballygunge grounds and matches played up to mid-June. As many as 16 tennis courts were laid, covering the entire field! The courts were laid along the western boundary wall under the enthusiastic supervision of R. W. Plummer, Hony. Secretary of the Ballygunge Cricket Club for a number of years at the time. These matches developed and, in 1928, the Honorary Secretary, Bengal Lawn Tennis Association gave permission for the Ballygunge Cricket Club “to hold their open Tournament in the first two weeks of March 1929 under the title of Ballygunge Cricket Club Open Lawn Tennis Championship”. Accordingly, the first lawn Tennis Championship at Ballygunge was played in early March 1929. The Honorary Secretary in question was J. B. Mathews, who did so much for tennis in Bengal right up to 1958, shortly before his death. Photographs of matches in progress were hanging in the old changing rooms which were taken down prior to renovation – these have since been in storage and/or been lost.
Time takes its toll on memory, and it is scarcely known today that both the Calcutta and Ballygunge Cricket Clubs played major roles in the introducing the game of lawn tennis to the state.
The Bengal Lawn Tennis Championships, for instance, were conducted from 1887 by the Calcutta Cricket Club, the outfield at Eden Gardens being considered good enough to be marked out with courts. Interestingly, notwithstanding its rule restricting membership to Britishers, the Calcutta Cricket Club would accept entry to the Tennis Championships from all and sundry.
In 1950, the Calcutta Cricket Club relinquished the Eden Gardens and moved to Ballygunge to merge with Calcutta Cricket Club, therinafter called the Calcutta Cricket & Football Club. Though these championships are no longer staged today, our members play on the site of the old tank by the southern boundary - as these courts are independent of the cricket arena so it is possible to play all the year round.
In May 1963, the Calcutta Football Club relinquished exclusive rights to the maidan tent and playing field in favour of the Mohun Bagan Club and followed the CCCs earlier move across to Ballygunge. In 1965 it merged into the Gymkhana already established there and the Calcutta Cricket & Football Club came into being. Also around this time the old pond was filled and 4 grass courts were laid out alongside a tea lawn.
Some interesting tid-bits of the old days:
Cricket and Tennis subscriptions will remain unchanged but it is proposed to make the following charges in 1947/48 to members playing cricket or tennis:
Members playing cricket : Rs. 2 per whole day game / Rs. 1 per half day game
Tennis members: Rs. 2 per court
(N.B. Tennis will be available at both grounds during the cricket season)
Since tennis was a social activity and members played for fun vis-à-vis cricket, football and rugby, which were team oriented and represented the club in different championships/leagues, there was no selection of captains. The president or the General Committee invited a gentleman from the tennis playing fraternity to take charge and look after the section.
The earliest record of such an instance was Mr. Debu Ghose, who we can deem as the first tennis caption of CCFC and the list of later captains till date are enumerated below:
1974-80 Debu Ghose
1980-84 Prakash Dayal
1984-89 Bikram Das
1989-90 Sumanta Bannerjee
1990-91 Prodosh Kumar Sen
1992-94 Rajat Dutta
1994-97 Azam Monem
1997-98 S.R. Dutt
1998-99 Jaggi Minotra
1999-2000 Bikram Das
2000 Ranjan Mukherjee (Was into 1-month Captaincy before the sad incident)
2000-03 Pradeep Guhathakurta
2003-04 Nandan Kr. Chaudhuri
2004-05 Babul Mitter
2005-06 Rajat Dutta
2006-08 Naresh Ojha
2008-09 Chittapriyo Bose
2009-11 Vivek Bhasin
2011-12 Sunny Uthup
2012-14 Shantanu Tewary
2014-15 Daniel Ghaznavi
2015-16 Rajeev Ghosh
From the early 80s CCFC became an active member in the BLTA and due to the hard work of the then captain Prakash Dayal CCFC was awarded the right to hold the Masters’ leg of the Indian Satellite Championships in Jan-Feb. 1984.
The winner was Zeeshan Ali who got a double. Also during this tenure of Prakash Dayal that the tennis section converted 2 grass courts to clay courts by extending its “territory” westwards into what is now a parking lot to accommodate these clay courts. In 1988 the club got another opportunity to hold the masters leg of the Indian satellite championships where India’s Mark Ferrera was crowned. It was for these championships that the club utilized our cricket grounds to put up courts for matches upto the quarter-finals. The semi-finals and finals were held on the main grass courts.
In 1999, CCFC was allocated to host the Hometrust Senior Nationals for both men and women with a full field of 124 entrants in the main draw. The club built 16 grass courts on the main grounds. Matches till the quarter-finals were held on the main grounds and the semi-finals and finals on the grass courts next to the tea lawn.
In 2000, the Senior Nationals were again hosted at CCFC, sponsored by Indian Oil. The club again utilized the main grounds for matches as previously. The men’s’ winner was Saurav Panja.
From the early 80s the section regularly held its own championship in the Men’s, Ladies, Men’s doubles and Mixed doubles’ events. Some notable winners in the Men’s were Leander Paes, Sumanta Bannerjee, Badshah Gupta, Prakash Dayal and Bikram Das. In the Men’s Doubles, all the above featured along with Keshav Datt and Pradyut Vohra. The section also held American Doubles’ Tournaments at least twice a year.
The section also followed the ‘norms’ of tennis with special regard to dress, behavior and courtesy to the players.
The above data covers till the year 2000.
Source of above is from the book Seventeen Ninety Two, Ravi Kidwai, Prakash Dayal and my memories.
Courtesy of Mr. Bikram Das
March 30, 2015.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR VERY OWN LEANDER PAES AND HIS PARTNER MARTINA HINGIS ON THEIR MIXED DOUBLES VICTORY AT WIMBELDON 2015. WE WISH LEANDER ALL THE VERY BEST IN FUTURE TOURNAMENTS.
In the last couple of years, a lot of progress has been made in the Tennis Section with lot more members / dependents taking part. Apart from playing friendly matches with other social / sporting clubs, they hosted various age group BTA tournaments. The section is also on a sound financial footing partly because of the two successful camps that are held by the section. All four floodlit courts have been used throughout the year and the section is humming with activity. The Section hosted the fourth edition of the CCFC – Shricon Inter Club tournament and finished a very creditable runners up. The section, ably led by Vivek Bhasin won the tournaments during the Dhaka Sports Carnival, Saturday Club Inter Club Carnival, Inter City Club Sports Carnival and friendly ties against Royal Bangkok Sports Club and Polo Club. Credit goes to the section officials for running this section well.
Shivika Burman does us proud
Shivika Burman scored a 6-3,6-3 win over second seed Preethi Srinivasan in the final of the Blue Jay-AITA women’s tennis tournament, conducted by Fortune Sports Academy at its courts on Friday.
The match was marked by some long rallies as Shivika, playing a sensible and solid baseline game, defused the hard-hitting Preethi after some anxious moments early on.
Shivika took a 2-0 lead in the first set but dropped serve in the fourth game. However, she hit back to break Preethi again in the fifth and ninth games to take the set. In the second set, Preethi called the shots initially and led 3-1. But, soon, the protracted exchanges in the sapping heat seemed to take a heavy toll and she went down in a rash of errors as Shivika broke in the seventh and the ninth games to wrap up the match.
The results (finals):
Singles: Shivika Burman (WB) bt Preethi Srinivasan (TN) 6-3, 6-3.
C. C. & F. C. wishes her more success in the future
Way to go Mayand Tewary
It seems like the sons are ready to follow the illustrious father & ex-Captain, Shantanu Tewary. This time it was the turn of the 7 year old energetic and ever smiling MAYAND to win the “Bengal U-8 Tennis Tournament” held at the DKS Club courts in April 2015. MAYAND apart from being a tennis superstar in the making is already representing the nation in Karate in International competitions.
Keep it up, MAYAND.
Well Done Ishaan
Ishaan Tibrewal, who has grown up playing tennis in the club, plays the U-16 All India Tennis Association circuit. He has been amongst the top 5 junior boys player in the state for the last five / six years and was ranked in the top 50 in the country in U-14 a couple of years ago. He has regularly played for CCFC in the inter-club tennis tournaments and was also recognized as the best tennis player in CCFC last year.
Last week, he won the Boys U-16 Singles title at the AITA Championship Series in Bhubaneswar in a challenging tournament beating much higher ranked players.
We wish him more successes in the days to come.