Faces of Tamworth: West Tamworth Tennis Club president John Ball

CLUB LEGEND: John Ball has had a long association with the West Tamworth Tennis Club. Photo: Peter Hardin
CLUB LEGEND: John Ball has had a long association with the West Tamworth Tennis Club. Photo: Peter Hardin

A range of names fill the honour boards at the West Tamworth Tennis Club and each have played their own part in shaping the history of the club.

One J. Ball features prominently throughout.

Veterans doubles champion, secretary, life member are just a few titles John Ball has worn or attained throughout his lengthy association with the club.

At the moment, the 78-year-old is the president and has been since 2003 but he first held an administrative role in 1962.

The association with the club has continued ever since and John doesn’t see it ending.

“Never. I will always be here in some form,” John said.

“If I’m too old to play tennis or the body doesn’t allow me to play anymore, I’ll still be here in some capacity. And, of course, I have to get the powers from be at home.”

John doesn’t mind a joke but he’s also quick to point out his wife Yvonne has been supportive.

John said she’s told him “while you’re able, I think you should continue.”

It’s good news for the club.

John is a hands-on, observant president who is across everything that happens at the club.

Well, almost everything.

“Something does occasionally sneak through,” John said.

His presence is felt, though, throughout the whole club.

“A friend to all, John is often seen at the club arranging competition formats, socialising with the veterans or actively taking part in the monthly working bees,” West Tamworth coach Mitch Power said.

“The club would not be where it is today without JB.” 

John still plays socially on Tuesdays and Saturdays in between his presidential duties.

And he’s around for two very simple reasons.

“Love of the game and, I suppose, I enjoy being involved,” he said.

John’s love of tennis stems from both his parents’ participation in the game.

John then passed that on to his own children.

“I had a daughter and three sons. My daughter was all left handed – couldn’t catch a pill if she tried. The three sons played all sports. They all made state sides in hockey and they also played tennis and cricket,” John said.

”One in particular, Rodney – who passed away unfortunately last year – he was the best tennis player of all of them.

“He was probably recognised in this club as being the best doubles player.

The honour board backs that up with Rodney’s name emblazoned throughout the clubhouse.

John even had the chance to play with, and win, a title with Rodney.

“He and I won our division, which I like skiting about because we beat two or three very good pairs to get to the trophy,” John said.

“That was back in May a couple years ago. But time flies so it’s probably three or four years ago.”

In his many years at the club, John’s seen talented players come through including a number of juniors which were lost to the game of tennis.

It’s an ongoing battle most sports clubs in the country still face and West Tamworth Tennis Club is no different.

It won’t slow John down, though. He’ll still be at the courts, doing whatever he can to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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