It was a slightly smaller team than usual representing Collaroy Tennis Club at this year’s Nelson Bay Seniors Tournament from December 1-3… but as always, a great time was had by all and we were again among the prizewinners.
Lee Stapleton played her first ever tournament and was the most enthusiastic competitor at the event. Lee played in everything… the American Round Robin Doubles on Friday, Singles, Age Group Ladies and Mixed Doubles on Saturday and Combined Age Ladies and Mixed Doubles on Sunday – an incredible schedule by any measure. While not pocketing any prizemoney, Lee overcame early tournament nerves to perform admirably and really enjoyed playing with Glenn Robertson in two Mixed events. She won matches in both Ladies and Mixed… a great effort for a first-timer. Now ‘a seasoned Touring Pro.’, Lee is already looking forward to our next trip away to the South Coast in 2024.
Eri Fawcett was again prominent, teaming with Julie King to win a Ladies Doubles event and with good friend Denise Darby from Allambie Heights T.C. to be Runner Up in another. The Fawcett/King pairing continued their great form after returning from Nelson Bay, by going on to win the Collaroy Club Championship Open Ladies Doubles event!
Eri and Dave Keogh were drawn in the strongest pool for their Age Group Mixed Doubles. Their first match (at 7:45am on Saturday morning!) was against a player once ranked the No. 6 male player in Canada, while his partner represented Australia as part of the winning team in this year’s ITF Masters World Team Championships in Spain. Dave had a better result on Sunday, defending his Combined Age Mixed Doubles title with Denise.
Like Lee, Garry Matthew-Stubbs didn’t bring home any silverware, but he was an easy selection as ‘Best Dressed on Court’. In fact, he and Julie shone in matching red, white and blue for their Sunday matches… and the pair had a big win in one match against the eventual winners of their pool.
As always, the tournament was exceptionally well run by Director, Steve Taylor. Tennis Australia brought the United Cup to the Bay and it was on display all Saturday. And there was also a wine tasting hosted by the Hunter Valley’s Drayton’s Family Wines, which Dave in particular was able to enjoy, given he had the Saturday afternoon free of tournament commitments.
The Collaroy contingent gathered on Saturday night at the Airbnb where Eri and Dave were staying with their Allambie friends at Dutchie’s Beach, and enjoyed a feast comprising Tacos prepared by Eri, spaghetti Bolognese by Garry and fresh local prawns that Glenn brought along. Lee provided apple pie and ice cream for dessert (and there may have also been a private wine tasting that night).
The weather was good all weekend, with only a shower or two on Saturday, so players were able to enjoy the pristine waters of Nelson, Shoal and Fingal Bays and Dutchies Beach when not on court. Dinner on Sunday night was at a local Italian restaurant and there was time for a coffee and swim on Monday morning before a leisurely drive back home … just another great weekend away.
As mentioned, our next trip is to the South Coast in February for the Ulladulla Summer Games. The touring party will be considerably bigger this time around, with last year’s event winners Kenny Moyle, Lynne Bridges, Fiona Bevan and Warren Booker returning for another shot at the prizemoney, along with debutantes Anna and Gareth Grant, Felicia Owers and Damian Gorman joining the regulars for their first taste of ‘Seniors Tournament Play’. Having just had a birthday, Damo now finally considers himself eligible, (though the Seniors category officially commences at 30 years of age)!
For anyone else considering joining in the fun, online entries for Ulladulla are now open at https://www.tsnsw.com.au/2024-ulladulla-seniors-tournament … but as this is the most popular tournament on the NSW ‘Seniors Tour’, the advice is to get in before Christmas as entries close as soon as each event reaches capacity. Go Collaroy!
By Dave Keogh