26 November 2005

Patea Tennis Club turns 120 this weekend.  In what is believed to be the Patea Lawn Tennis Club's first milestone celebration, its long and proud history will be fondly remembered with afternoon and evening functions.  Among them, the times 100 years ago when the club boasted a national champion, Lucy Powdrell.
Lucy won the NZ women's singles and doubles in 1909 and 1910.  She also won the doubles in 1906 and the mixed doubles in 1907 and 1908, partnered by NZ's greatest ever tennis player, Anthony Wilding (four times Wimbledon champion).  They were also Australasian champions at some stage.

Present club patron and life member Arthur Dunning, says the club was very strong 100 years ago and membership was a sign of acceptance into Patea society.

Before World War II, there were five grass courts and the club worked hard to keep them well maintained.  But lack of manpower in the war years saw the club go into recess.  Then, in 1956, a special general meeting was called to reform the club.  The closure of the Patea Freezing Works dampened things down after the 1980's and now the club plays in the Taranaki-wide midweek ladies competition - and is very competitive in section two.

It still runs the district challenge competition on Tuesday nights, with mixed teams from Waverley, Whenuakura, Patea, Kakaramea, Alton-Hurleyville and Manutahi.  And a big event every year, a tradition that goes back to 1908, is the annual clash with Waverley.

Saturday afternoon is set down for speeches, welcomes and photo opportunities, and the oldest former member, Nina Greener will cut the cake if, at 91, she feels up to it.  There is a drinks and dinner function at the clubroom and the presentation of three new life members, Vicki White, Marjorie Newlove and Maria Schrider.