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Women in Sport with Katie Catherall

Glossop Tennis Club is home to a dedicated ladies team, a team who embody determination and an incredible sense of drive.

A recent report provided by healthcare specialists revealed that most people avoid physical activity all together at the age of 65.

However, when there are so many benefits to regular exercise, it is clear how essential it is for older people to stay active, ensuring a long and healthy life.

Val Oakley has been playing tennis for 30 years, having been chosen as captain of Glossop Tennis Club’s ladies’ team for the last 20 of those years. Upon joining, Val says she was ‘thrown into the deep end’ meaning she has learnt along the way, growing and developing with the club.

The ladies team boasts some impressive players, players with a remarkable level of loyalty to the club.

“We’re all in our 60s and 70s, all six of us. We just want to keep going as long as we can, as long as health permits us.

“We’re all very enthusiastic still and five of the team play for another club as well in a different league,” she says.

As team captain, Val has many responsibilities at the club, including looking at fixture lists and organising transport to games.

“If any of the team can’t play then I need to find reserves and that’s very difficult because we’re a very small club and there aren’t many lady members.

“In all of my time being captain, I’ve only had maybe eight ladies available, and we need six to play a match, so it’s not been easy getting teams out every week,” Val says.

Pictured: The ladies team celebrating their SW Manchester win. Back, left to right: Chris Lolley, Anne Steele, Sue Garnett, Lesley Barnes. Front, left to right: Val Oakley (captain), Jill Salt.

The latest achievement that the team were able to score was their win at the South West Manchester League, a huge victory for all involved.

“We had always been mid-table, apart from a couple of seasons when I just had no players at all, and we went down into the second division. Then in 2019, astonishingly, we had quite a settled team.

“We won the whole league and got a beautiful trophy for it, and we get to keep it for two years as we didn’t play last summer due to Covid,” she explains.

Not only is this a momentous achievement for any club, Glossop Tennis Club ladies’ team faced some large clubs, with facilities that Glossop could only dream off.

“There’s a lot of big clubs which are probably attached to sports centres. For example, where Sale play, they have lacrosse, hockey and there’s all sorts going on there. They have a big clubhouse with facilities.

“So, they’ve obviously got a lot of money which we don’t have so I think we’ve done really well,” Val says.

For the ladies team at Glossop, the sport of Tennis is so much more than a way to keep fit.

“I think it’s important to take your mind off things and get you in the fresh air. Obviously, it’s very good for your fitness and your all-around health.

“But also, we get to meet and chat with our friends away from work, enjoying that social aspect.

“The biggest thing is, in reference towards getting older, that hopefully we’re going to prolong our health as long as we can,” she says.

Glossop Tennis Club are always on the lookout for new members to offer a friendly session and a fantastic game of tennis.

You can find a list of contacts at the club to get involved here

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