Catford Wanderers Sports Club Limited News story

Catford Wanderers Tennis Section Celebrates 100 Years

19 Jul 2014

Catford Wanderers Tennis Section will this year celebrate it's Centenary with a Celebration Dinner on 19 July 2014. Details of the dinner are available by clicking on the link above and we hope that as many members old and new are able to join us to celebrate.

We are also hoping that anyone who has any Catford Wanderers Tennis related photos from over the years will make them available to the club to display on our picture board at the Centenary Dinner.​

Catford Wanderers Tennis Club was formed in 1914 at what was then the main club’s ground at Brackley Road, Beckenham. The club later moved to its present home at Beckenham Hill Road, then known as Symons Meadow in the spring of 1920. The club’s first Secretary was a Mr H Pethybridge who resided at 77 Culvery Road, Catford SE6 and the first Club Tournament took place in 1921, the winners being A.G Lowe and Mrs Ethel Lawrence. Mrs Lawrence went on to win the club’s Ladies Singles Title for seven successive years 1921/1927 before losing her crown. She returned to regain her title in 1935, the start of another four year winning run, to amass eleven titles in all. Madge Alcorn later surpassed this feat by winning fifteen Singles Titles.  However, where Club Titles are mentioned, none can compare with the club’s current Mixed Captain, Angela Rezki, who has amassed a record thirty-one titles made up of eight singles, thirteen ladies doubles and ten mixed doubles.

As a tennis club, Catford Wanderers were late starters where clubs in Kent were concerned. The Kent Lawn Tennis Association was established in 1890 with twelve clubs and it took thirty four years before Catford won their first Kent Title. The year 1948 saw their men’s side win the Kent First Division against all the odds. 1956 was and is still is regarded as the club’s golden year when the club won the men’s summer and winter First Division titles. This team included Eddie Ford, Bert Pemro, Roy Rogers, Ken Tomsett, Tom Wingfield, Bobby Thorn, and the Guntrip brothers Geoff and John. All these players won several Kent singles and doubles titles as well as representing Kent at Inter County Week.

On the subject of great tennis players Catford Wanderers has produced five players who played at Wimbledon, namely Eddie Ford and his wife Patsy, Chris Wells, Bobby Thorn, and perhaps the most famous of all Miss Michele Tyler. Michele was a member of the victorious Great Britain Ladies Team who beat the United States at the Albert Hall in 1978. Her career wins include victories over Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Tracy Austin and Evonne Goolagong where her World Ranking reached No. 22 at one point. She also reached the semi final of the Australian Ladies Doubles in 1975 partnering Sue Barker.

At County level the following Wanderers players have won Kent titles at either junior, senior or veteran’s  level, Eddie Andrews, Madge Alcorn, Bill Bowen, Emily Brimson, Sidney Brock, Anita Carey, Denis Costelloe, Neil Donnelly, Gary and Kevin Farrant, Eddie and Patsy Ford, John and Geoff Guntrip, Edna Haggart, Cliff Hodson, David Jenkinson, Debbie Morgan, Penny Grist, Geoff Mountain, Don Mowbray, Peter Norman, Bert Pembro, John Pugh, Suzi Russell, Joanna Smith, Roy Spindler, Beverley Stanley, Ray Stephens, Bobby Thorn, Candy Tomsett, Michele Tyler, Ron Welland, Chris Wells, Tom Wingfield, Jeff Wright, Jo Wright.

Winning a club title is always a great honour for any tennis player at Catford and the record books show that Michele Tyler, Candy Tomsett and Rachel Le Comber all won the ladies singles at the tender age of 14 years. At the other end of the age scale Dick Tritton won the men’s doubles at the grand old age of seventy nine. Looking at other Club records down the years, Thomas Allen played for the men’s team in an Inter Club match at the age of eleven years and Emily Brimson was two years younger when she played for the mixed team way back in 1995. Bert Green played for Catford veteran’s team at the age of seventy nine years. To date, 2014, the Wanderers have won forty six Kent Inter Club Titles and forty five North Kent titles in their 100 years history.

Like all tennis clubs, Catford Wanderers success was founded on men and women who served on the administrative side down the century.  Names such as Ken and Tiggy Tomsett, Terry Mulvaney, John and Brenda Nixon, Ron Lanston, Jackie Pritchard, Dick and Betty Tritton, Bunny Lascelles, John Earnshaw, Peter Bates, Angela Rezki and the unforgettable Larry Logan who served as Tennis Secretary for a record thirty two years.

The club which is situated behind the Homebase Store in Beckenham Hill Road SE6 3NU has three floodlit hard courts and six grass courts.