Game, set and match for political rivals
LIBERAL Democrat councillor Christina McGilligan-Fell was hoping to score an ace when she brandished an old wooden racquet to make a point about the lack of free tennis facilities in the borough.
But the move backfired when Labour council leader Chris Shaw responded with a ferocious return volley - describing the previous Lib Dem-Tory administration as a "vintage racquet".
Speaking at the latest full council meeting, Councillor McGilligan-Fell (Lib Dem, Park) said the wooden racquet was the type that would have been used by Shirley Brasher, the Grimsby-born tennis player who won three grand slam titles in the 1950s.
But she added that local youngsters aspiring to be the next Shirley Brasher or Andy Murray had a lack of opportunities to develop their skills because North East Lincolnshire had not embraced Tennis for Free, a scheme which provides free coaching for youngsters.
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She said: "Lincoln, Scunthorpe, Hibaldstow, Barton, North Somercotes and North Cotes all offer free tennis, but not one community in North East Lincolnshire."
In response Councillor Shaw (Lab, Sidney Sussex) pointed out that the scheme was launched in 2005, and added: "I wish we had been the administration in 2005.
"It came home to me when she said vintage racquet, because that was the last administration – a vintage racket made up of two parties that did nothing for North East Lincolnshire."
He added that the tennis courts in his ward were now used by a "very good" basketball team.
"I'm not going to chuck them off so that someone can use a vintage racquet to knock a few balls about for a couple of weeks a year."