2021 All England – A Managers Point of View

All England 2021 by Suzanne Benton

I was truly honoured when the Committee backed me to be Kate’s assistant coordinator for the All
England 2021. At the time of applying I never expected us to still be in a covid lockdown situation.
The 2020 All England had been the last major event in our calendar and this year’s AE was the first
major event since then (other than the European Team Qualifiers).

What was I expecting:- Initially I was expecting something like previous years, a full selection of
LJs, shaking hands back on the agenda and less anxiety than the 2020 event.

Once we got to January of this year and another lockdown was still in place with no sign of it being
lifted, I thought that despite our efforts thus far, the event would be cancelled. Kate and I carried
on with preparation believing the event was still going ahead and facing the many changes and
problems with gusto.

I can honestly say that Kate is the safest pair of hands for this event. She knows it inside and out.
She has an open and honest relationship with BE and Chris Miller in particular. This has lead to
BE having total faith in her (and the association as a whole) providing exactly what is needed. It
also means that the dialogue between BE and the Association brings forth a result that works for
all. I have learnt so much from Kate this last year. It has been a privilege working through all of
this with her. I was pretty ignorant of what goes into the running of this event. But not any more! It
helps that Kate has excellent IT skills – my speciality is basically spell check, grammar check and
feedback. Lots of messages like – Kate, it would look better with a comma there or maybe full stop
and new sentence.

What we got:- At no fault or finger pointing – late information. Lots and lots of late information.
But we always made sure that as soon as we knew anything it was passed on to line judges who
would be attending. We also got a committed, hard working, flexible and accommodating group of
line judges who never complained about the changes that were made (to keep people safe was the
main priority). Obviously isolating in the hotel was a huge ask, but people obliged and made light
of the situation. Arriving Monday/Tuesday morning another huge ask. As was staying in the hotel
even when living very local. Testing, testing and more testing. Masks and sanitiser, one person in
the lift at a time. Not going off the designated walking route. All new to us, but in place to keep us

At the event, we had to ask everyone to keep to their chair only, not to move them around, keep
socially distanced from their friends and colleagues, don’t share sweets. Oh let’s not forget the
masks. Make sure they are up over your nose even when on court and the out call makes them
fall down! By day two it was becoming second nature.

Kate and I also got a feeling of absolute joy from everyone there. They were so happy to be part of
the event that they love. Happy to be seeing friends, chatting with someone ‘different’ after a year
of lockdown. It was described to me – as good as being on holiday. I guess, like me, people will
feel a little down after the adrenalin rush of the event.

We missed those line judges that decided that they couldn’t take part this year. There is no
question in my mind that whatever reasons they had for not taking part were valid and perfectly
understandable. I feel sad that they missed out on another great All England.
Finally, thank you Kate. You included me in all decisions, discussions and zoom meetings! I learnt
so much.

2 Responses

  1. Congratulations to Kate and Suzanne, on an outstanding achievement in getting all things Line Judge related so correct, precise and successful.
    As members we are lucky to have such great leaders in our team, who are willing to put so much of their time into getting things right and accurate, and making the line judges lives easier, so they can focus on going out their and doing the business on court.

  2. Andy Baxter Andy Baxter says:

    A big thank you and congratulations are in order for a great team.
    Kate and Suzanne, You genuinely did a truly spectacular Job.
    Between you, in the middle of a pandemic you managed to pull off the most unusual AE competition our organisation has ever had to contend with.
    In your own inimitable way, you managed to fend off and deal with what ever was required for a seamless tournament.
    Covid protocols, and delayed test results, last minute change requests on procedures were still briefed efficiently and the teams of line judges, even though in isolation, were under no illusion what, when and where their responsibilities lay.
    Malcolm Banham summed it up in his thanks and emotional final brief on Finals day, When he brought the Umpires to us to applaud our effort and show that we are One Team.
    From a personal point of view. I am very proud to be a member of our team.
    Once again thank you for the tremendous amount of work that you put in over the whole of last year to make the AE happen.