15 June 2018

New (bonus) balls please!

Bonus balls have been putting the bounce into every league for 13 years. What’s not to like about getting free balls in the post?

Ever since we started our very first league in 2005, we have given away a free can of balls (or a pair of our dinky vibration dampeners) – and two bonus points – to every single player who completes three matches by the half way point.

That means a lot of wrapping – we still do this ourselves, wrapping every single can in brown paper – and buying a lot of balls!

But we have always done this because we recognise it is hard to arrange matches. We hugely appreciate the effort players put in to getting matches arranged and we want to consciously reward your efforts.

But, we hear you say, surely there is no such thing as a free lunch? Here are your most frequently asked questions, answered!

I have played 3 matches but have not received my prize. I thought the balls would just roll up? 

Our very clever IT knows when a player has completed 3 matches by half way and automatically sends the appropriate email and places a link to the bonus prize shop on your LTL account. But you must claim the and confirm your delivery address. This is also your opportunity to upgrade to the Championship ball or additional cans at a discount! See the user help page for more information on claiming your bonus balls.

I’ve competed three matches, but I haven’t had my bonus prize email and there is no link!

Matches must be completed. Unfinished matches don’t count, and nor do walkovers as no match has been played. But retirements do count.

What about matches completed with a Championship tiebreak in lieu of a third set?

In leagues where the approved format is best of three (tiebreak sets), matches completed in a shortened format don’t count towards bonus points. This long-established rule is based on feedback from players who consider that allowing shortened format matches gave players an unfair advantage over those who couldn’t finish a match conventionally in the time allowed. We understand of course why getting a match done and dusted is desirable, so allowing championship match tiebreakers represents a compromise!
In leagues where championship match tiebreaks are explicitly approved (doubles and short-format rounds) matches completed in this way do count towards bonus points.

I tried everything to get my third match played, but couldn’t get hold of the other player. As this was not my fault, please can you make an exception and let me have my bonus points/balls anyway?

Very sorry, but no! The rule does not work if it is not fairly applied.

We got to 5-4 in the third set and had to stop because the lights went off. If we had completed this match, I would have got my bonus points/balls so please can you make an exception just this once?

Very sorry, but no. See above.

I have won all my matches but could not get my bonus points, and another player, who I beat, is going to win the group. How can that be fair?

It is rare, (and extremely rare if you have actually played all the available matches) but this can happen. It is so rare, however, that we feel on balance the positives of the system outweigh the negatives. Everyone is aware of the bonus point rule from the outset and if the above does happen, we would always promote both players to the next group if we possibly could.

Scheduling skills have nothing to do with tennis skills. I like the free balls, so let’s keep those, but why not scrap the bonus points?

Bonus points give a boost to those of us who have lost all our matches, but at least have a chance to get on the score board. And scheduling skills are not to be under-estimated! Getting matches played is key to the success of any league and we hugely value the efforts players put in to get matches underway. Bonus points and free balls are your reward!