100 Years of Tildesley celebrated in style

Though the mercury tilted towards 40 in Edgecliff on Sunday, over 100 people were not daunted by the unseasonal March scorcher as they gathered at School to celebrate an incredible 100 Years of Tildesley Tennis.

Around 50 Old Girl Tildesley team members came from as far north as Queensland, as far south as Tasmania and from western NSW to reconnect with each other, to reminisce, to cheer on our 2018 team as they received their commemorative 100 Years jackets, and to enjoy the wonderful Tildesley Museum created by Ascham’s Archivist, Marguerite Gillezeau, in the Drawing Room. Old Girls from the 1940s teams through every decade until now shared fascinating stories about Tildesley over the last century—with many discoveries and new connections made along the way.

Guest speaker of the day Priscilla Miller (Renshaw 1962) captained the 1962 team and delivered an engaging speech that highlighted just how often Ascham families have produced generations of terrific tennis players who have played Tildesley for us—grandmothers, mothers and daughters—all sharing their love for the sport, game after game.

Kim Pattinson (Brownhill 1948) won the Tildesley Singles in both 1945 and 1946 and travelled from Orange to attend the celebration. She and fellow 1946 winning teammate Morna Playfair (White 1947) caught up in the Drawing Room, sharing their stories about Tildesley and playing tennis during the war years. Both were here as boarders in 1942 when the air raid sirens sounded in the middle of the night and they retreated to the shelter under the old tennis court. ‘My greatest memories of my time on the Tildesley team are actually all my beautiful friends and also being part of a school that was so superb in those days,’ said Kim. ‘We were really privileged to be here. I loved every bit of it. I hope the girls now enjoy their training as much as we did—we loved our Saturdays going to all the other schools.’ Looking around at the mounted photos, timeline, old racquets and displays, she added above the excited buzz in the packed room, ‘It’s a magnificent day you’ve put on for everybody.’

Many members of the 1962 winning team were also present on Sunday—Barbara Ball (Stitt 1963) who travelled from Moree and Helen Rose (Perry 1962) all the way from Toowoomba, together won the Doubles that year. They remember the day they won the Shield 56 years ago. ‘The day Ascham won I don’t think there was much hoo-ha at all,’ said Helen. ‘I remember walking back crocodile file and we were hoisted on the shoulders of a few extra strong gals!’ ‘I think the majority of the team were boarders because most of us grew up way out west,’ Barbara added. ‘We were next door neighbours at Gulargambone,’ said Helen, ‘and in those days tennis was the only entertainment in the country, which I think explained why there were so many boarders in the team, because that’s what we did in the holidays.’

Also on the 62 winning team was Prue Burgess (Moore 1963) who travelled from Narrabri to be here on Sunday, and played on the Tildesley team for all of her five years of Senior School. ‘Margaret Jude was our coach and she was fantastic. But there was never any pomp and ceremony. We got a pocket and we were chuffed, but that was it!’ Many of the Old Girls shared stories of playing on all kinds of surfaces, from concrete to grass to ‘anthill’!

Debbie Lloyd-Phillips (MacDonald 1965) Captain of the 1965 team was also in attendance, as was Ken Richardson who coordinated Tennis here at Ascham for a decade-and-a-half from the mid-90s until 2010.

2018 team members Clara Freeman and Lara Lapcevic have both been on the team for the last five years and enjoyed the opportunity to meet their Tildesley predecessors. ‘It’s pretty incredible that it’s been going for 100 years,’ said Clara, ‘especially because they didn’t have that many girls’ schools competitions before.’ Lara added: ‘Having them all come and talk to us is cool because we can see how far they’ve come since School. When they share their stories of Tildesley it sounds like they still really cherish those moments. Being part of the 100 years is really special.’

We wish the 2018 team luck as they battle it out at Pennant Hills this week for the 2018 Tildesley Shield!

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