In ‘The Origins of Cricket – the history of two Hampshire Clubs’ Douglas Smith notes that from the “Cricketers” (still standing as a private house by the Canal bridge) Edward Porter ran the Grasshoppers Cricket Club for several years. The continuity of cricket on the Common was broken as in about 1875 the game moved to the park. However, after around four years it was back on the Common, being forced away from its new venue, it would seem, by tennis! This appears remarkable because the rules of lawn tennis were only authorised by the MCC in 1875.
c1926 Odiham had courts behind the New Inn (now the Waterwitch). Later there were 2 grass courts near Chapel Pond in the field behind Palace Gate Farm. It is believed that tennis was played there up until the war. After the war Mrs Monk, the wife of the butcher whose name appeared over the shop in the High Street until recently, was instrumental in getting tennis started again. Hilda and Ida (d.1943) Chamberlain, spinster sisters of Neville, lived in Bury House and in 1948 Hilda gifted to ‘the inhabitants of Odiham and District ‘ some of her land ‘for the purposes of recreation ground and sports centre’. The Odiham Sports Centre Trust was thus established and subsequently two hard courts were built at Chamberlain Gardens. It is assumed that players formed or reformed a Club at that time but there are no records of an inaugural meeting.
The courts were resurfaced in the winter of 1982 but the wrong type of macadam was used, rendering them too soft to use between 12 noon and 4pm during June through September; they had to be done again in July 1989. The photo taken in 1997 records the situation before what has since been a decade of incomparable progress.
In 1999 the courts were patched up and spray-painted in two shades of green, the fencing was modified, and a Passmores’ timber building was duly erected as a pavilion on a concrete base with water and electricity supplied.
In 2003 the floodlights were installed.
In 2007 the poplar trees were felled, the courts were completely relaid, all the fencing was replaced and the social area was added.
The rennovated Courts were formally opened by Tim Henman in June 2008.
In 2012 the tennis enclosure was extended and a third court added; Tim Henman again did the honours with the opening in May. A new storage shed was installed in August.