Don’t tell senior members of Goosnargh Tennis Club that you can’t play tennis into old age and win - particularly if you are its chairman and into your eighties!
For life-long enthusiast of the game and club chairman Pam McGrath has just won the ladies doubles for the over-80’s in the British seniors open claycourt championship organised by the International Tennis Federation at the West Hants Club in Bournemouth.
With her partner Mary Durrans from Huddersfield - who was 82 on the day - Pam was competing for the first time in the open tennis tournament, qualifying to take part as she reaches 80 in November.
Held over seven days with the finals last Saturday, May 31, it is one of the only Grade 1 events on the senior circuit in Europe.
More than 200 players entered, age categories ranging from over 35 to 85. and competitors coming from Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.
Many of the competitors were ex-Wimbledon and county players who were still representing their countries in senior teams all over the world.
“Being the first time, perhaps it was beginners luck,” said an obviously delighted Pam this week.
She had already played and been defeated by Mary in the semi-finals of the singles tournament and adds “It was a memorable week and shows how sport can be enjoyed at all ages.
“I was proud to be a member of our two-court club at Goosnargh and competing at a venue which boasted 20 indoor and outdoor courts!”.
That pride, however, was tempered a bit by Pam’s sadness with the fact that people are not taking advantage of the facilities at Goosnargh Tennis Club.
She says “We need more members of all ages to come and join us,” and warns ”if we don’t prosper then the village will lose the courts.”
Pam has been connected with the club since 1974 and now plays for the second team in the Ribble and Fylde leagues.
Her mother, Winifrid Eaves, was a joint founder member of the club with current president Eileen Roberts - also in her 80’s and still playing tennis - and Eileen’s late husband Jim.