Tamworth 70-year-old on the ball in comeback

TREVOR Stehr  has made  a medal-winning comeback to squash in a sport that is making something of a comeback too.

The Tamworth squash courts proprietor won two medals, silver and bronze, at the recent Asian Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast and the 70-year-old admits to not being match fit.

“I hadn’t played a tournament for 10 years,” Stehr said.

“So I wasn’t match fit. I had been injured too and only came good three weeks before the Games.”

While “short of a gallop”, he went well fresh, he joked, using a racing reference.

Stehr, who has owned and operated the Tamworth Bunkhouse and Squash Centre on Goonoo Goonoo Road for the past 23 years, competed in the Over 65 age division at a Games where 11,000 players and athletes took part in 38 sports.

“We played at the Labrador Squash Centre,” he said.

“The first weekend was individual  and played in a round robin format. 

“Everyone had three matches and I went well enough to get a bronze. 

“The following weekend was the teams and I finished with a silver in that. 

“It was good fun.”

A real blast from the past, he reckoned.

“I’d been thinking about playing for a while but I’d just got out of the habit.

“They have a Masters Games every two years. 

“The next one is up in Cairns. 

“No reason why I won’t go and play in that now I’ve got the bug back. 

“I was disappointed I wasn’t fitter to play up there (Gold Coast).”

Stehr is also hoping the local squash centre might become a little busier next year.

He once had five courts but turned half of it into the Bunkhouse, dormitory style accommodation great for families, school groups and teams.

“It sleeps 60,” Stehr said.

“We get mainly sporting groups coming here. 

“Last weekend we had the Greater Northern Academy (rugby league) boys here. 

“We get teams from all over –Sydney, Wagga, Brisbane. 

“We’ve had musical orchestras here as well and of course we have the baseballers every June long weekend.” 

There are three courts left for play while there are also three beach volleyball courts at the back of the Bunkhouse.

“We still have comps here during the week, schools use the courts and I still coach here too.”

36 players turn up for every Wednesday night competition and another 30 on Thursday.

“It’s not like the old days but we still have a lot of fun,” Stehr said.

“And we are looking at doing something next year with the kids.

“We’re going to run some competitions during the weekdays for shift workers and mums as well as some comps for the kids. 

“Squash is making a bit of a comeback in Sydney. They’ve built new courts down there because people are wanting to play again.”

Stehr is hoping the same might happen in Tamworth.

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