Tennis has been a very enjoyable pursuit which I’ve engaged in at different levels over the years. My father introduced us children to the game – as an Oxford blue (for hurdling) he was keen that we do sport. Generally I was keener on less organised sports like boating, fishing and exploring but I took to tennis and was keen enough to teach myself by hitting balls against a wall. I organised a few games after school but it wasn’t a recognised sport. I played no tennis at university yet when I was settled in Cape Town I played an some games with colleagues after work. I took the sport up again when I returned to the UK and also took my sons to play. At Wayside, my house in Betley, we had an area of ground that had been left untouched after the sand mining had stopped. This we had leveled and grassed and one time when the rest of the family were away I made this into a grass court. We had great fun over the years on this court playing mainly as a family. Though after one wet summer when we couldn’t play we decided to invest in an all weather court and from there my tennis blossomed. In 1996, at the age of 52, I had the courage to join the PLC Tennis Club which runs 5 divisions of mens double players. I played every season in that for 12 years with various partners. I always hovered around the bottom three divisions but managed to fight our way up a division, which was no mean feat and also managed to get into the final in their knockout competition where they split us up and allotted partners from a hat.
I also was invited to join an informal group who played most Tuesday and Thursday afternoons by Alan Clayton on his court. I made some good friends through that group, almost entirely organised very generously, through Alan. His teas were much cherished, especially if his wife, Manajeh, was there to entertain us.
In 2009 several of us decided to try to resurrect the courts of Criccieth Tennis Club. The club is one of the oldest in the UK and used to sport 5 grass courts which were used by the tennis stars of the 20’s and 30’s to train on prior to Wimbledon. All that was left were two all-weather courts which were half covered in vegetation and with the fence posts mostly rusted through. We cleared the vegetation, temporarily repaired the fence, acquired and fitted new nets and posts and painted white lines on one of the courts. We opened the club to members and recruited 40 of these, albeit at a very reduced membership fee.