Organisers smash it at West Highland Tennis Tournament’s 50th event

Ladies singles winner Jennifer Green, Mary McLean and Gents Singles winner Finlay Watters. Photograph, Robert McCulloch.

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Tennis players from near and far congregated at Atlantis Leisure last week for a five day celebration of the West Highland Tournament (WHT) 50th anniversary.

After being postponed at the 11th hour last year as a result of Covid restrictions, organisers were determined that the achievement of reaching five decades should not go unmarked and worked extra hard this year to put on an event worthy of the occasion.

As well as the Oban High School, local and championship competitions on the courts, past players and former committee members including Marnie Clark and Margaret Melville, who were secretary and social convenors when the tournament restarted in 1971, were invited to a buffet lunch.

A message from Terry Macnair, first chairperson and referee, was read out while tournament sponsors and representatives from Argyll and Bute Council were in attendance.

Hugh McLean, chairman of the present WHT committee, welcomed everyone and invited Provost Maurice Corry to say a few words.

Provost Corry said the council was delighted to support the tournament and would continue to do so.

‘The council realised the benefits of the tournament to Oban for bringing visitors to the town and for promoting tennis in the area,’ he added.

He also paid credit to the co-operation between Atlantis and West Highland to provide an excellent venue and superb event.

Three other local councillors also attended the lunch and enjoyed the tennis finals on court.

At the end of the lunch, Mr McLean paid tribute to all the people who had contributed so much to the tournament over the 50 years, in particular Lynda Oxland and Mary McLean who are retiring this year.

Great tennis was played over the week and great fun was had at the social events.

The school competition on Wednesday was a great success with junior/senior boys and girls’ events all well attended.

The handicap singles and T and T – tennis and afternoon tea – were enjoyed by local players.

The championship events started on Friday morning and spectators were privileged to see a feast of good tennis with standards high and several hard fought matches in the singles and doubles. More than 50 players took part with the squad of players from the John Newcombe Ranch, Texas, acquitting themselves well and several of the girls reaching and winning finals.

One young player, Finlay Watters from Thorn Park Tennis Club, Glasgow, had a fantastic tournament. Finlay took three West Highland titles – his strong ground strokes and powerful serving making life difficult for opponents.

Results

Local events

School competition S4-6: winner, Rory Dods; runner-up, Gabriel Tidser. S1-3 winner, George Pagan; runner-up, David Simpson. Girls winner, Ellie MacInnes; runner-up, Megan Carre.

Handicap singles winner: Kevin Keen; runner-up, Rohil Arshad.

T and T Winners, Andy Henderson and Viv Hyndman; runner-up, Peter Strange and Liz Clunie.

Championship

Gents Singles: Finlay Watters beat Steven Birrell 6-1 6-2; Gents Plate: Tyler Burridge beat Grant Mitchell 6-0 6-1; Ladies Singles: Jennifer Green beat Lisa Munro 6-2 6-2; Ladies Plate: Samantha Elliot beat Jenna Vincent 6-3 6-2; Boys 18: Finlay Watters beat Ethan Williams 6-3 6-1; Girls 18: Olivia Maguire beat Stealey Crousen 6-1 6-0; Gents Doubles; Finlay Watters and  Jordan Gray beat Calum McKnight and Ronnie Terras 6-1 6-2; Ladies Doubles: Jennifer Green and Lisa Munro beat Christine Lockhart and Jan Oliphant 6-1 6-1; Mixed Doubles: Russell Dickson and Jenna Conroy beat Kevin Patel and Carly Bontke 6-3 6-0.

Thanks go to the Iona Shop, The Sports Shop, Outside Edge and The Chocolate Shop for providing additional prizes. For more photographs visit www.obantimes.co.uk.

MAIN PHOTO: NO_T27_WestHighlandTennis2022 13: Ladies singles winner Jennifer Green, Mary McLean and Gents Singles winner Finlay Watters. Photograph: Robert McCulloch.

Photo 2: NO_T27_WestHighlandTennis2022 19 Some of the competitors: Oban High School pupils get ready to court success on the WHT opening day.