Tennis veterans strike gold
COMBINED experience of 166 years helped doubles partners Ron Ostwald and John Wakely give their opponents a run for their money at the weekend's Gympie Cooloola Veterans Tennis Association's Gympie Gold Tournament.
Gympie's Ostwald, 82, teamed up with Brisbane's John Wakely, 84, for the first major tournament of the senior tennis calendar at Queens Park.
Both players, two of the oldest in the tournament, relished the challenge.
"We kept them honest," Ostwald said despite the pair missing out on lifting any of the silverware at the tournament's end.
"It was a really great weekend and the tennis was of a high standard."
In total, a strong field of 132 participants flooded the Queens Park courts for the hotly contested tournament.
Ostwald did not just apply his craft on the court.
The Queens Park groundsman since 1997, he spent nine days leading up to the tournament preparing the centre's 12 courts.
"Vice-president Greg Hampson was a huge help and we couldn't have asked for better weather," Ostwald said.
"I'd say it's the best weekend of tennis we've had in years.
"It usually rains for this tournament but we didn't have any trouble this year."
Also singing the praises of the tournament was club president Warren Arnell.
Arnell teamed up with fellow Gympie player Barry Hardingham to finish runners up in the combined 90 years doubles on Friday afternoon.
The Gympie pair went down 2-6 to a fired-up Allen Hooper and Gary Petterson.
The Gympie tournament, the biggest veterans' event hosted by the club, was well supported by local players.
Arnell said many players stood tall during the event but the honour of player of the tournament was clinched by Longreach's Brian Savage.
Savage made good of the long journey to arrive in Gympie, winning all five of the events for which he nominated.
Sharing in the accolades was Maleny's Aki Lepper, receiving the Queensland Veteran of the Year award.
"This award is about a player who captures the spirit of the game," Arnell said.
"Aki shows great sportsmanship and supports a lot of tournaments."