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Celebrating Catholic tennis glory days

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An Adelaide Catholic institution, the South Australian Catholic Tennis Association (SACTA), will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of its clubrooms at West Beach on November 17.

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SACTA was formed in 1922 from clubs in Adelaide Catholic parishes with matches played on parish and school courts for many years.

In 1962/63 the committee looked into forming a headquarters for the association. Six bitumen courts and an old Housing Trust transportable building were established at West Beach on Trust land.

Matches were allocated there each week in summer season to give all players a chance of playing at the headquarters, which was also the venue for the annual association tournament.

In 1970/71 six grass courts were established and the following year the Xavier Lawn Tennis Club began fielding teams in the mid-week ladies and Metro Lawn Tennis Association competitions.

The headquarters continued throughout the 1970s, with the hard courts resurfaced with plexi-pave in 1977.

After much consultation, it was decided to build new clubrooms and thanks to many hours of planning and building by a committed group of volunteers, the clubrooms were officially opened on November 18 1979, in time for the Australian Catholic Lawn Tennis Association Carnival held in Adelaide that December.

Craig Glennon, president of the West Beach Tennis Club, said members were very impressed with the new facility which included a bar, kitchen, carpeted floor and toilets on site.

“Lights were installed in 1987 and that was the start of a great era for night tennis competitions which still continues today,” he said.

“During the late 1980s and 1990s the Xavier Lawn Tennis Club increased its teams whereas the parish clubs were struggling to keep going.

“Sadly clubs kept losing players, which was unfortunate as we knew the Catholic competition could not survive with limited clubs.”

At the end of the 1995 season the Catholic competition ceased, with some of the hardcourt teams and players forming the West Beach Tennis Club. Since that time, they have competed at the West Beach complex. Similarly, the Xavier Lawn Tennis Club has continued since that time.

All past SA Catholic and Xavier members of the late 1970s until 1995 are invited to attend the anniversary event, along with any current players.

It will be an informal gathering from 2-5pm with food provided and drinks available at a small cost.

If interested please email your RSVP by November 6 to westbeachtennisclub@gmail.com or contact Peter Nelligan on 0405 720 795.

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