PETER Hayes has tasted his fair share of success in the Central Wimmera Tennis Association.
He started playing in Horsham at Central Park in 1990 before moving across to St Michael’s.
“I had a great time at Central Park – it was a really good social club,” Hayes said.
“We won a few premiership cups there. The pennant cup is a magnificent trophy. It’s got a lot of history there so it’s good to win.”
If Hayes was to take a guess, he would say he has won about seven tennis premierships by now.
He moved from Central Park to St Michael’s where he continued to have plenty of success on the court.
“There were younger guys coming through the ranks at Central Park so I thought I’d move on,” Hayes said.
St Michael’s has been quite a successful team recently, and has won back-to-back pennant premierships.
They are on track for another win this year after finishing the regular season on top of the ladder.
“It has been a good team to be part of,” he said.
“We have lost a few grand finals that we should have won but we’ve been fortunate and had a pretty consistent team the last 10 years.
“We all enjoy playing together. We’ve had many a late night after tennis on a Saturday and we’ve been fortunate to see the children grow up – which shows how long we’ve been there.”
Along with playing in the Central Wimmera Tennis Association, Hayes has also competed in more than 20 country week tennis tournaments as well as inter-regional championships.
“I’ve played tournaments in Melbourne and bigger regional centres and country towns interstate so you meet a lot of people,” he said.
“It’s the beauty of tennis you meet a lot of people.
“Back in the day you had to qualify for inter-regionals. I’ve been to a few over the years and the standard always goes up another notch.”
Hayes said he hoped young people embrace tennis in the area, as the association looks to bring people back to the game.
“We have just come away at country week in Swan Hill and other regional clubs agree that tennis is doing it tough on a Saturday,” he said.
“Maybe we have to keep trying different things and try find a way to get people back playing. It’s not only tennis, it’s a lot of sports.”
Hayes said he is still enjoying his tennis now and appreciates it more than ever.
“It’s not till you get older that you really appreciate the wins and your teammates,” he said.
“It’s a long season and if you get to the end and win it, it’s satisfying.
“I’ve enjoyed my tennis time and when you see older blokes like Tom O’Connor from Horsham Lawn still running around you know you can play tennis for a while.”