Welcome back to the Northern!

Deadline 2.12.20: The Northern reopens today for tennis, squash and fitness!

The Lawn Room bar has to remain closed for now, while we are still in Tier 3, but elsewhere:

  • Outdoor tennis is open for singles, doubles and both junior and senior group coaching;
  • Indoor tennis is open for social play by members of the same household/ support bubble, one-to-one coaching and junior group coaching;
  • Squash is open for solo practice, social play by members of the same household/ support bubble, one-to-one coaching and junior group coaching;
  • The Gym is open – plus four new sets of weights + barbells have been placed in well distanced areas in the Studio for extra workout space until such time as indoor classes can resume.
  • Studio classes may not be held in the studio just yet but welcome back to Outdoor Spin – also outdoor Tai Chi, In the Box and Monday Total Tone.
  • All yoga, pilates and dance classes will stay on Zoom along with the evening Resistance/ Bands/ Weights classes. Plus a new weights class – Reps and Sets – is being trialled outside, during the Tuesday Legs, Tums & Bums slot (5.30-6.15pm). This will come indoors as soon as lockdown regulations allow.

Lockdown Fitness Links

… if for no other reason that it’s November now and you need to keep moving to keep warm!

The Club is closed until December 2nd in line with the current lockdown requirements but we can still help you to stay fit:

  • We have been able to move most of our studio classes online – Yoga/ Tai Chi/ Total Tone/ Barre Burn/ DDMix/ Kettlebell Bootcamp/ Pilates/ Zumba/ Band Toning/ HIIT – they’re all in there!

Classes bookable on MindBody: please book at least 24 hrs in advance and you will be sent a link in time for the class.


  • PLUS the LTA has launched a Tennis at Home hub offering coaching and educational content to keep children and families busy, along with fitness routines, physio and yoga programmes – even nutritional advice – to support your physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown.

Just click on https://www.lta.org.uk/about-us/tennis-news/news-and-opinion/general-news/2020/march/coronavirus-covid-19—latest-advice/# 

Food Bank Thanks

Our Half Term Food Bank Appeal brought a terrific response from members so many, many thanks to everyone who donated so generously.

We are supporting the Bideford Community Centre in Wythenshawe – part of the Wythenshawe Foodbank organisation – which operates a food bank, clothing bank, charity shop, community cafe, free computer access and much, much more in Baguley. (For more information go to bidefordemail.wixsite.com)

And congratulations to Bideford volunteer KirstyTaylor (pictured above) who was awarded the British Empire Medal in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the community. “It’s really all a team effort,” said Kirsty.

We will be collecting again next week, please bring donations to the club by 6pm Monday 2nd – party treats for Bonfire Night would be good🙏!

Perk up a Pumpkin!

Tier 3 doesn’t have to be dreary – pumpkins are still permitted so it’s time to get creative and help us put on a spooktacular display around the Club for Hallowe’en!

Carve it spooky – sweet – or just silly – but bring it into the Club by Thursday 29th and you could win a £20 Bar Voucher.

All the entries will be on display around the Lawn Room and the winner will be chosen on Saturday 31st .

Celebrating World Squash Day

10th October is World Squash Day and with restrictions eased on the squash courts, the coaching team are back in action with the Junior Squads restarting that day.

Only two players at a time are permitted on court so squads are restricted to just six players across three courts but a fourth squad has been introduced to allow more players to take part.

Plus Head Coach Anna Vaughan Hawkins is re-introducing Pay n’ Play sessions as well as ‘Introduction to Squash’ and ‘Introduction to Racketball’ programmes.

“These will be in blocks of six sessions and, again, with six places per programme,” said Anna. “This will give the players a ready-made ‘bubble’ for friendly play outside the programme sessions. All these sessions will be bookable very soon so keep an eye on MindBody!”

  • AND England Squash is celebrating World Squash Day by setting up the world’s biggest squash team contest.With two teams, headed up by former World No 1’s Laura Massaro and Nick Matthew, club players are being invited to pick a team and get playing.Launching on 10th October, this one-month contest is a chance for match-starved squash players to get in on some regular competitive action AND boost their SquashLevels ranking. Participants can choose to play full court as part of a bubble/ same household or play ‘sides’.

    Just pick a side and do battle, then record your score on SquashLevels* from 10 October.

AGM Zooms smoothly

“Welcome to another first for The Northern – it’s just taken us 138 years to get here!”

 With those words Chairman Neville Hewer welcomed members to the Club’s first ever video conference AGM, held by Zoom on 30th September. “Covid has brought us many new experiences,” he said later. “And this one is truly historic!”

Twenty-five people attended the meeting, which employed a slide deck in place of paper documents and passed without any technical hitches.

Since all the annual reports had been available on the Club website since before Covid forced a delay to the original March AGM date – and since all voting had been conducted by proxy in advance of the meeting – business moved along quickly. All resolutions were passed by a large majority and the meeting lasted just an hour.

 * Chairing the AGM was Neville Hewer’s last duty as Club Chairman. After 20 years in the position, he will now serve as Club President.

New Chairman Martijn De Lange has been a member of the Northern for 18 years and, in between playing tennis, is CEO of logistics giant Hermes.

On behalf of everyone, he thanked Neville for “your fantastic effort and commitment during 25 years as Tennis Chairman and Club Chairman.

“The Club is now in a better position than it has been for many years. We are all very thankful that you will remain an important part of the Club because we really need you!”

Pickleball launches at The Northern

Considering it’s nearly four times the size of a squash ball and it’s bright orange, you’d think a pickleball ball would be easier to hit wouldn’t you?

But there you go … fun, infuriating (for a squash player), occasionally chaotic and fequently hilarious, pickleball made its debut at the Club on Saturday, with a social session led by Tennis Director Jonny Kinsella.

Despite making up the rules as he went along and swapping partners on a regular basis, even Jonny struggled with the flight and bounce, so the field is wide open for a new superstar to emerge. It could be you! (It certainly won’t be me…)

The session will continue @ 5.00pm every Saturday, with a full Taster Day planned for mid-October.

Squash is back – inside and out!

The Northern’s squash players are finally able to play ‘proper’ squash with members of other households.

 Manchester has announced an exemption to local lockdown rules to allow organised indoor sport and players are now allowed to:

* Form registered bubbles of up to six players from different households, playing full squash with some restrictions on timing/ sanitising the ball etc;

* Play full squash without restrictions against members of their own household/ support bubble;

* Play socially distanced squash against members of other households.

No more than two players are permitted on court at any time: full details are posted on the Squash Noticeboards.

  • Meanwhile the ladies’ teams celebrated Women’s Squash Week with an outdoor court fitness session (above) coupled with individual indoor court training. “It was a great success, everyone loved it and we’re doing it again next week,” said Head Coach Anna Vaughan Hawkins.
  • Anna and her team have also planned a PSA-style tournament for October 4th, pitting juniors against their parents or siblings. Following the rules of the recently re-launched Professional World Tour, matches will be live streamed so friends and family can watch without gathering at the Club. Players will be given an allocated time to arrive for their match, allowing for airing and cleaning the courts between matches. Our juniors are really keen to have a go at beating their parents,” said Anna. “In fact a few of them can do it already. We’re expecting some tough encounters.”

Players in a pickle!

It’s played on a badminton court … with oversized table tennis bats … using (more or less) tennis rules. Welcome to Pickleball!

 Said to be the fastest-growing sport in the US, pickleball is rapidly taking hold in the UK too. Suitable for all ages and all skill levels, playable inside or outside, the game is easy for beginners to learn but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.

And it’s coming to the Northern – the Club has invested in some equipment and will be advertising a Taster Day very soon, so watch this space!

PLUS – the badminton court lines on the old indoor court are being refurbished and we will be slotting badminton sessions into the court timetable as soon as possible.

 With squash and racketball (only for family/ bubble members just now, but still …) that’s SIX ball sports on offer at the Northern!


Watch this space – Studio Classes return

Studio classes are back from Tuesday and bookable NOW online or via Reception.

Current outdoor sessions are moving back inside, with extra classes added. And with the studio floor marked out to give everyone a 3-metre square space, class sizes can be boosted to 8 people (7 for spin).
“Some classes can move back outside if the weather’s really nice on the day but – well – this is Manchester,” said Gym Rep Lisa Pilkington who has been organising the studio re-launch.
“Spin will have to stay indoors now though because we can’t keep moving the bikes up and down the stairs.”
Liz is rejoining the regular studio team of Jo, Josie, Rick and Sara and introducing “Inside the Box”, a less intense form of HIIT, as well as updating her Seniors class as Future Fitness.
In addition, there are more yoga and pilates classes planned and the team are hoping to introduce Tai Chi.
“We’ve had a really positive response from the Members we’ve spoken to and we’ll gradually grow the timetable as people come back,” said Lisa.

Meanwhile, the timetable looks like this:
(NB some start times have been slightly adjusted)

MONDAY: 9.15am & 10.15am —-Total Tone/ Fitband —- Josie
TUESDAY: 6pm & 7pm —–YOGA —–Sara
WEDNESDAY: 6pm.—–HIIT —–Rick
10.15am —- FUTURE FITNESS —- Liz
5.30pm & 6.15pm ———- SPIN —– Jo
FRIDAY: 10am & 11 am —– TOTAL TONE —– Josie
10.30am & 11.15am —– SPIN —– Rick
SUNDAY: 10am & 11.15am —– YOGA —– Sara

PLEASE remember to cancel online if you find you can’t make your class after all – with numbers still limited, there’s always a waiting list!