A CELEBRATION mixed doubles match that spanned the ages marked the official opening of Cullercoats Tennis Club’s new courts on Saturday.
The match played between Ken Atchison and Abigail Lemberger, and Pat Bottrill and Rory Thompson demonstrated the appeal of the club.
Before the match, Ken, who joined the club as a 21-year-old and has been a member for 60 years, cut the ribbon to officially open the courts.
He said: “I was honoured to be asked to officially open the new courts and play the match with some of our brightest young talents – they are the future of the club.
“It’s a great club with great people and I very much enjoy playing.
“I’m fortunate I’m fit enough to play and I’ll continue as long as I’m able.”
Club chairman Jeff Thompson said: “Players of all ages – from tots to octogenarians such as Ken – enjoy tennis at our club and the mixed doubles exhibition match was a fitting way to celebrate our new courts.
“A lot of people have worked hard for a lot of years to enable us to have our new courts.
“I would like to thank everyone for their contributions and give a special mention to treasurer George Murphy.
“We look forward to our first season on the new courts and would like to invite players of all ages and abilities to try our excellent new facilities.
“Non members are very welcome and we are holding a taster session on Saturday, April 28, from 3pm to 5pm.”
Pat, who has won 24 senior titles, and Rory overcame Ken and current ladies’ singles champion Abigail 6-4.
Abigail and Rory are top juniors and last year were Northumberland’s Road to Wimbledon finalists.
There was also a showcase of mini red tennis and an exhibition match between Sam Lemberger and Jordan Simpson, which Sam won 6-4.
The new season has now started at the club.
Coaching for juniors takes place on Saturdays from 9am and 2pm and on Wednesdays from 5pm and 6pm.
For seniors, coaching is on Sundays – absolute beginners from 5pm to 6pm, beginners from 6pm to 7.30pm and improvers from 7.30pm to 9pm.
Club nights are from 7pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Junior membership is £30, adult membership is £110 and family membership is £218.
For more information visit www.cullercoatstennis.co.uk