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Andy on hand for grand display...

Basford courts opened in style

Veteran...John Paish.
International...Britain's number 11 Andrew Foster.

A superb display of tennis by international players heralded the official opening of Basford's £40,000 showpiece artificial grass courts.

Any disappointment over the absence of veteran tennis legend Fred Perry at the club's open day was wiped out by the exhibition match between British number 11 Andrew Foster and sparring partner John Paish.

Foster, from Stoke-on-Trent, took time out from his heavy international tournament schedule to visit his former club. His opponent Paish was a Davis Cup player during the 1970s. After their thrilling one set match they mixed with club members and juniors.

Basford's committee had hoped Fred Perry would be guest of honour. He played in two invitation matches there more tan 40 years ago, but was unable to pay a return visit this time.

The new courts are the result of nearly two years of fund-raising by members of the club in West Avenue. Secretary Barbara Amos said they are now the envy of the rest in North Staffordshire.

"We have had lots of visitors coming to try them out and I have never heard any complaints. Teams who come to play here all go away saying how marvellous they are. The surface does play beautifully."

The opening ceremony was performed by Newcastle Mayor John Lockett.

The club have planning approval to install floodlights on their remaining two courts which they hope to resurface, though not with the costly artificial grass.

Evening Sentinel, 26 May 1992
Courtesy of The Sentinel News

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