2020 Dave Matthews Seniors Tennis Tournament lures big names to Port Stephens

In a year that saw most seniors tennis tournaments cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, Nelson Bay's event drew its strongest field of competitors yet.

Only given the green light to go ahead on October 1, when COVID-19 restrictions relaxed further, by the time the Dave Matthews Seniors Tennis Tournament kicked off on Friday, December 4 it had 238 players registered, up from the usual field of 220.

The tournament wrapped up on Sunday, December 6.

"I am pretty happy with the final number of players," tournament director Steve Taylor said. "We had close to a full field within weeks of opening registrations, which is encouraging.

"A lot of players commented on the fact that they were happy to be able to come up to the Bay and play.

"There was only a handful of tournaments that went ahead this year. People were pretty chuffed they could travel and play."

The annual tournament is for tennis players aged 35 and above. Games are played at the courts in Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Soldiers Point and Fingal Bay.

The popular seniors tennis tournament was established by Nelson Bay Tennis Club member Dave Matthews about 20 years ago.

TRIUMPHANT: Dave Matthews Shield winners Craig Hunt and Greg Westwood with, centre, tournament director Steve Taylor. Picture: Supplied

TRIUMPHANT: Dave Matthews Shield winners Craig Hunt and Greg Westwood with, centre, tournament director Steve Taylor. Picture: Supplied

The tournament was named after Matthews when he died and winners of the men's doubles event win the shield named after him.

Sydney duo Greg Westwood and Craig Hunt were the favourites to win the Dave Matthews Shield on Saturday. They defeated Shane Tapscott and Rod Clarkin 6-2 to claim the honour.

Not only did this year's tournament attract a lot of registrations, but high caliber players, too.

One of the shield winners, Hunt, is an Australian senior tennis representative.

He was not the only Australian player to enter the Tomaree tournament.

Also among the entrants were Australian world champions Helen Worland and Adrienne Avis.

Taylor said it was the first year the pair had played in the Bay's event, and both expressed an interest in returning in the future.

Other high quality players featured in the lineup this year included Australian and world title holders Margaret Wayte and Mary Gordon, both aged in their 80s.

Taylor thanked the Port Stephens business community for supporting the tournament this year, and its volunteers.

"In particular those who manned the barbecue and did the COVID marshaling. Without them we wouldn't have been able to run the tournament. They did a really good job," he said.

The tournament was run with COVID-Safe guidelines in place.