NINETY years of tennis in Gunnedah was celebrated over the weekend with a black tie fund-raiser ball held on Saturday night topping off the club’s birthday bash.
One hundred and sixty five guests attended the ball to celebrate the history of the tennis club, which featured former world top-ranking professional player Ken Rosewall as special guest.
A highlight of the night was former Namoi Valley Independent editor and tennis enthusiast Ron McLean interviewing Mr Rosewall, covering topics such as starting out in the early days, grand slam achievements, thoughts on why he couldn’t quite tackle Wimbledon and reasons behind the nickname ‘muscles’.
Tennis Australia was a great supporter of the night with Ken Wray (Northern NSW representative for Tennis NSW), Kim Kachel (Project Talent Leader), Geoff McQuinlan (Manager of Coach Development) and Bruce Osborne (Community Relations Manager) in attendance.
Tennis Australia representatives gave a short presentation on the Australian Open blitz and assisted with running a Hotshots Clinic for 5-8 year olds during the day.
The children enjoyed meeting Ken Rosewall and received plenty of tennis giveaways.
Former club President Kel Worboys was the master of ceremonies for the evening and kept everyone entertained with his tennis anecdotes and highlights of the club since its foundation in 1923.
Club championship presentations were made by club President Ben Robertson and Mr Rosewall (see sport for championship winners).
The club is scheduled for court upgrades in January, 2014 and funds made on the night, from ticket proceeds, a raffle and the auction will help towards the costs.
A signed poster donated by Tennis Australia of Lleyton Hewitt, Frank Sedgman, Ken Rosewall, Roger Federer, John Newcombe and Pat Rafter was the big ticket item of the night, with auctioneers Don Ewing and Tim Walsh knocking the hammer down at $1820.
Following the formal proceedings of speeches, presentations and awards, guests danced the night away to Tamworth band Heartland Duo.
President Ben Robertson hailed the night a great success.
“We have had postive comments from people who attended, a great night was had by all,” Mr Robertson said.
“A huge thank you to all who contributed in making the night a wonderful success, especially the organising committee of Laurie Boag, Jodie Moore and Ange Ordish.”
Tennis memoribilia outlining the history of Gunnedah tennis is on display at the Creative Arts Gallery following the official opening and book signing by Mr Rosewall on Saturday morning.
Life members and former Presidents of the club were also treated to an afternoon tea to meet and greet Mr Rosewall and his wife Wilma.