The pipeline-related Alberta/BC discord was no where to be seen in Victoria last week at the Western Canadian Senior Indoor Nationals.  Alberta and BC players mingled court side without distinction as to province-of-origin; thus is the beauty of sport.  Twenty-three Alberta players made the trip to sunny, green, warm, flowery, senior-friendly Victoria to renew friendships, make new friends, and yes, to play some fine tennis.

Photo above:  Sir Matthe Baillie Begbie, the first chief justice of British Columbia, lived in a cottage near Cook and Fairfield.  In the 1870s he built tennis courts on his property and invited Victorians to play.

(Picture above taken of a plaque at Government House, Victoria, during the tennis social, by Brenda Johnson, WS 65)

A championship title was no pipe dream for Albertans Mary Manley, Joe Forrayi, and Craig Hiddleston.  Both Mary (WS, WD 55) and Joe (MS, MD 70) won both their singles and doubles events for a total of four victories between them.  And a fifth Alberta championship was won by Craig Hiddleston in doubles 45 with partner Hannes Blum.

Photo above:  Mary Manley and Meryl Ogden after the Women’s Singles 55 Final.

From the post-game interview (Shaw TV, Youtube).  What is your motivation for playing?  

Mary Manley:  I had to figure out how to beat her after I lost the first set.  I thought ‘this is fun!’.  That is my motivation for playing.  These are my friends, not my opponents.  I enjoy it.

How long will you continue to compete?  Meryl Ogden:  I will keep on competing as long as the body holds out.

Age categories ranged from 35 to 80 with 182 players registered overall.  The tournament featured three venues, an elegant reception at Government House, lovely weather, camaraderie, good organization, friendly volunteers, and intense play.

Although the competition is stove-piped in five-year age increments, the senior tennis players share a common bond forged by fondness for the game and enthusiasm for healthy competition.  The difference in age categories seems to be more in how players get TO the ball and efficiency, rather than in the shots that result.

The week proved to be a fine way to spend time in a beautiful city, continue the tennis journey,  create memories, and develop both personally and as a senior tennis player.

Complete tournament results can be found here.

Alberta Champions:
  • Mary Manley (1st in WS and WD with Karen Clarke , 55)
  • Joe Forrayi (1st in MS and MD with John Payne, 70)
  • Craig Hiddleston (1st in MD with Hannes Blum; and 3rd in MS, 45)
Other Alberta Placements:
  • John Dunn (2nd in MS, 75)
  • Susan Wright (2nd in WD with Rosie Schaich, 50)
  • Jennifer Cherneski (2nd in WD with Gillian Shea; 3rd in WS, 45)
  • Gillian Shea (2nd in WD with Jennifer Cherneski)
  • Susan Gilbertson (2nd in WD with Judith Title, 70)
  • Sarah Widdowson (3rd in WS, 60)
  • Neil Elliot (3/4 in MD with Daryl Howes-Jones, 65)
  • David Crowther (3/4 in MD with Dan Cardinall, 60)
Other Alberta Players:
  • Joan Gusa (WD 60, 65)
  • Bonnie Crowther (WS, WD, 60)
  • Ellen Toth (WS, WD, 65)
  • Glenda House (WS, WD, 50)
  • Monique Belanger (WS, WD, 60)
  • Brenda Johnson (WS65, WD 60)
  • Susan Wells (WS, WD, 60)
  • Bruce Roberts (MS 65)
  • Jack Gordon (MS, MD 65)
  • Noel Gibney (MS, MD, 65)
  • Don Yee (MS 45)

For more photos see Tennis Canada’s seniors’ tennis facebook page.

Comments from Irwin Tobias, Manager, Seniors Tennis and Events, Tennis Canada:

Q:  How was registration this year?  A:  Registration was well in-line with previous Westerns, about the same amount of entries as we had in 2015, when we were last in Victoria. A little more entries than what we get in Calgary and Edmonton.

Q:  What other national seniors events are planned?  A: Here is the link to the National Event schedule.  It has all the 2018 Tennis Canada events.  Our next big event is the Calgary ITF, May18-21.  Here is the ITF link for that event with details.  We are just finalizing entries for that.  We will be in Calgary for the 2019 Westerns.