Parks League followers will not be surprise to hear that Dyke skipper Seb Puga won the most doubles matches in Division 1 last season. Seb, the three time men’s singles Parks Cup champ, won 17 out of 18 doubles matches, with a variety of male and female partners, to record a win percentage of 96%.
So who comes closest to the awesome Argentinian in terms of Div 1 victories? Maybe one of the fearsome Pollard brothers from Hove? Or Park Avenue’s brilliant Fiona Lishman? Dyke’s rock solid pair of Jo Malone and Kim Dawson, perhaps? None of the above. The second most successful player out of the 178 players who contested Div 1 last season – in fact, the winningest female player in the division – was QPTC’s very own Katie Moorman, who clocked up a remarkable 14 victories out of 17 matches last season, playing Mixed 1 alongside Jacob Chadwick and Ali Quarton.
Queens teammate Wendy Powell, who’s been playing Parks League since the 1980s, says: “Katie is brilliant. She’s very reliable, and a skilled tactician who can up her game at anytime. She’s not only a fabulous tennis player – she’s fun to play with. When I think of Katie her kindness always springs to mind.”
Now working as a paramedic, Katie grew up opposite QPTC on East Drive in the mid 80s. She told us an interesting story about her tennis history.
“I was a very keen tennis player when I was growing up. I did two paper rounds to fund my coaching lessons once a week. I used to look out of my bedroom window and wish that I could play over the road at Queens Park Tennis Club.”
Aged 12, Katie dutifully presented herself for membership of her local club. The late Brenda Jewell was the all-powerful matriarch who ran Queens (and the Parks League) at that time. Brenda was honoured with a special LTA award for her services to tennis, and there are many who still revere her memory and miss her strong leadership. She was a formidable woman, who did much for tennis in our city – but this was not, perhaps, her finest hour.
“I had a ‘trial’ on club night which in those days was heavily populated by 1st team players as well as many others. Brenda was quite scary, and I was mortified when she said I wasn’t good enough to play.”
Disappointed but undaunted, Katie was obliged to make the long journey to Dyke Park in order to pursue her love of the game.
“I used to play with my school friend who lived by Dyke Park and that’s where I met Cy (Pollard, long term Dyke coach). He was really kind and enthusiastic – said that we had potential to be really good and asked us to join. I was delighted.
“Cy welcomed juniors and integrated them well into the club sessions. He was in charge of club nights and I guess, looking back, he matched people up of similar standard so people didn’t get fed up with the juniors.”
Under Cy’s supervision, Katie worked hard on her technique and eventually made it into the Dyke Tuesday teams, then Wednesday teams. Toughened up by regular bicycle trips from Queens Park to Dyke Park, her progress was so rapid she was soon invited to play for the Dyke first team, something she did with such distinction that alarm bells started to go off in BN2.
“It wasn’t until I beat Queens first team mixed in a crunch league match (which meant that Dyke won the 1st Division title) that Brenda herself asked me to join Queens and said ‘you really should join here as you live so close’!
“Initially I didn’t want to because I was stubborn and also loyal to Cy, as he was the one that took time to help me improve. But after a while I thought it was silly cycling to a club three times a week when I had a club opposite where I lived.”
To the lasting benefit of Queens Park Tennis Club, she eventually said ‘yes’.
“Parks tennis was a massive part of my life when I was growing up and continues to be to this day. I love it.”
We don’t know her exact total of Parks League victories for Queens over the years, but it must be well into three figures. Thank you Katie. And thank you Cy – you did a great job.