Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fun and games to be had at Numurkah

Numurkah Lawn Tennis Club will once again host its annual tournament this weekend with plenty of action and fun for all participants.

DAMEN FRANCIS January 24, 2014 4:20am

Numurkah Lawn Tennis Club’s annual tournament is steeped in history.

Among those to have graced the courts throughout its 83-year history was former Australian Davis Cup player Rex Hartwig, who won the Wimbledon men’s doubles crown, in 1954 and 1955.

Gone are the days when up to 400 players would converge on the sleepy town on the Australia Day weekend, but it remains a popular event for those looking for relaxed competition.

‘‘It’s a small club and we’re not a real fanatical tennis club,’’ Numurkah Lawn president Dave Ludington said.

‘‘We don’t have a lot of hardcore tennis players that just play tennis all year round. A lot of them go off and play their netball, football, golf or whatever else during the winter and just saddle up for tennis in the summer months.

‘‘We have a friendly little social and a bit more laidback atmosphere to our tournaments, which attracts a few people.

‘‘It’s always been a good event and usually some good tennis on display as well.’’

Ludington has been president for the past five years, having only returned to the sport from a 30-odd-year hiatus about 10 years ago.

One of the main attractions of the event is its round-robin format that ensures all players were guaranteed multiple matches.

The club boasts 12 well-maintained lawn courts and two artificial grass courts and as of yesterday, about 150 entries had been received.

Players traditionally made the trek north from Melbourne, as well as surrounding Goulburn Murray clubs and Ludington was hoping late entries would push the total number of participants towards the usual mark of 200-plus.

‘‘John Zahra, he won the A-grade singles last year, he’s saddling up to defend the singles again, and we’ve got about 50 kids for the singles, which is pleasing,’’ he said.

‘‘The kids’ doubles and mixed are a bit down on other years, but that’s where we’re hoping for a few late entries.’’

Junior singles events, which includes under-16, 14, 12 and 10 categories for boys and girls, start and finish today, with junior doubles, junior mixed and A and B-grade men’s and women’s singles and A, B and C-grade mixed tomorrow.

The tournament finishes with men’s and women’s A, B and C-grade doubles on Sunday.

Tongala Tennis Club is also hosting its annual Australia Day tournament this weekend, while, an international match between some of the world’s best players with an intellectual disability from Australia and the United States, will be played at Benalla Lawn Tennis Club on Sunday.

For more information and entries for the Numurkah tournament, phone Graham Henderson on 58622248 or David Ludington on 0419111846.

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