Randwick & DIstrict Historical Society: FLASHBACK

ITíS NOT CRICKET, OLD CHAP

MOORE PARK: From its inception, the Sydney Cricket Groundís proximity to surrounding districts provided their residents (and many others) with valuable sporting reward.

Not generally known now is that for 28 years from 1880, it was home to the stateís governing tennis body and the venue for many of its events. The (now) Sydney Lawn Tennis Club had been founded in that year and would control tennis in the state until 1908 when oversight passed to the NSW Lawn Tennis Associatio (NSWLTA) .

The first tournament, the Sydney Club Championships, was held there in 1884, a year before the state championships and 21 years before the first Australian Championships. Permanent courts were maintained on the ground with a number of temporary courts on the outfields. Attendances of 3000 were common through the 1880s and 1890s and matches were played there until transferred to the NSWLTAís Double Bay complex in 1909.

The NSW Championships were pioneering in that from the outset, both menís and womenís events were held, making them unique for years to come. The first such championship was held in conjunction with an intercolonial contest: NSW vesus Victoria although this was for men only. It was the first time tennis had been seen as a team sport and would predate the Davis Cup by 15 years.

Robert Booth


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