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24 March, 2022

Pittsworth Tennis Club honours remarkable record

Around 40 club and family members gathered at the Pittsworth tennis courts on Sunday afternoon to honour Ross Warfield for his unparalleled playing career.

So many happy returns! Stalwart Ross Warfield receives a certificate honouring his long playing career from Pittsworth Tennis Club president Bruce Von Hoff and vice-president Alastair Silcock.

In a remarkable feat of longevity, Ross has been playing on the town courts for more than 70 years in a career spanning eight decades from the 1950s to 2020s.

On court, he was determinedly competitive and the local yardstick for consistency. 

Unforced errors were like hen’s teeth.

After shining in the junior ranks, not to mention being selected for schoolboy representative rugby league honours, he was immediately successful in senior competitions on the town courts.

In 1959, aged 18, he made the finals in all three club competitions, winning the mixed doubles with partner Maureen Taylor, finishing runner-up in the doubles with Bill Luhrs, and being thwarted in the singles by his older brother Lindsay.

Sixty years later, at 78, he won his last club competition partnering Glen Featonby in the men’s doubles in 2019. 

Ross was club singles champion in 1990. 

There would have been others, except the club was inactive during many years of the 1960s and 1970s, and golf, cricket and family took precedence.

He represented Pittsworth numerous times in inter-town competitions and won many doubles titles in local championships.

Most of all though, he just loved playing the game.

At last Sunday’s afternoon tea, half a dozen club members voiced their respect and admiration before club president Ross Von Hoff presented Ross with a framed certificate.

In response, Ross relived a little of the club’s history, as only one with 70-plus on-court years under the belt could do.

Ross has beaten many challenges to continue playing, notable back surgery 20 years ago and heart operations in recent years. 

He was playing night fixtures up until December but now, reluctantly, on a double fault from the doctors, he has been forced to retire from competitive play. 

Nonetheless, he will still be on the courts for a social hit most Tuesday mornings.

Joining Ross and his wife Lorraine at the afternoon tea were their daughter Toni and grandchildren Joumanna and Abdullah, who travelled from Brisbane.

The mantle of Pittsworth’s most senior fixture player now rests on the shoulders of Ron Frank, who’s turning 80 this year.

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