New England 65+ team wins the Hilton Head Island
Port Royal Racquet Club Super Senior Men's Invitational Team Tennis
By Bob McKinley
Three years ago I was approached by captains from Florida and the Southern sections to participate in a brand new spring tournament in Hilton Head. There were six sections represented the first year and we placed third. Last year the tournament included eight teams and we placed second!
The third time is the charm! This year the tournament was held on May 17-19 at the Port Royal Racquet Club (voted one of the top 25 tennis resorts in the world!) and again included eight teams: Minnesota, Eastern, Mid-Atlantic, South Carolina, Hilton Head, Florida (Clearwater), Florida (Naples) and New England. The teams were split into two 4 team round robins. We beat Minnesota and South Carolina, but lost to Naples to end up in second place in our round robin. The top two teams in each round robin then played in a single elimination playoff for the title. We faced the Clearwater team in the semis and managed a 2-1 victory to move into the final against the Mid-Atlantic team that upset the favored Naples squad. In the final we swept all three matches to take home the trophy!
Despite being the palest team (all that indoor play) and having little or no outdoor/clay court practice under our belts, the team got better as the tournament progressed and we showed the rest of the competitors what a strong group of senior players we have here in New England! We fielded eight players and coach Bill Drake (who could not play due to injury). Coach Drake kept us relaxed and focused - always providing positive advice that put us in position to win. All eight players won at least one match. The players: Mas Kimball, Bob Beaton, Bill Busiek, Paul Shaw, George Deptula, Jon Wilson, Fred King and myself.
We had a terrific time (there may be some restaurants that will not allow us back next year) and plan to defend our title in 2017.
The Winning Plaque