By Matt Smith
With just a few games separating the top two teams in the Scotland County Doubles Tennis League, the final results all hinged upon one last match Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Scotland County Tennis Center.
With the league championship on the line, Team Tom’s Brad Faulkenberry and Page Pratt defeated Team Mike’s Ken Parker and Mike Lee 6-4, 7-6, securing the inaugural title for Team Tom to cap off a nine-week tennis season.
The Scotland County Doubles League, comprised of four teams, began this fall, spanning nine weeks and three months.
The league featured players from 14 years-old to 65-years-old, bringing together different generations of Scotland County tennis players for a fun, but challenging, competition.
In all, 44 different players had the opportunity to experience tennis at all different skill levels, as the mixed new players and old, beginners and experts, while allowing the sport of tennis to continue to flourish in Scotland County.
“I think the league went very well, especially in its first season,” Scotland County Tennis Center Director Tom Sheller said. “Everyone that came out had a good time and was very enthusiastic. It was competitive, yet fun. Most people saw it as fun tennis, but also a great way to play with other people throughout the community.
“It was a great opportunity for people to share their tennis games,” he said. “Even though we have a lot of people that come out to the center and play, a lot of the people that played in the league haven’t played each other. They got an opportunity to meet and interact with one another and make some new friends.”
Team Tom captured the three-month long league with a 23-13 record, edging Team William by one match. Team William finished with a 22-14 overall record, while Team Max (19-17) and Team Mike (8-28) rounded out the league’s finishers.
The league’s inaugural championship team members included Jeanne Roller, Rick Boda, Jas Boda, Dan English, Bob Calimer, Richard Bingham, Hannah Cox, Sheller, Faulkenberry and Pratt.
Sheller said that the league not only put some of the county’s best players on the court, but it also drummed up community interest from new players.
“The league seemed to draw a lot of interest, even from tennis fans not playing,” Sheller said. “People noticed that others were playing on the courts and that tends to make other people want to come by and check it out. It gives people an opportunity to expand the game throughout the community and gets people out here to the center playing. Tennis is a great sport, and once you try it, you’re hooked.”
With the success of its opening season, Sheller said he hopes to see the league continue next year.
“There seems to be an interest in continuing the league and we would like to start it up again next fall,” he said. “Depending on how many players return and join next year, we may end up adding a few more teams and matches and keep it growing from there. We certainly want to make the league an annual event.”
The Scotland County Tennis Center will host a final doubles tournament for the league in January, welcoming back league members for a one-day tournament on Monday, Jan. 16.
The tournament will begin at 1 p.m. for league players and will continue until one team is left standing.
League players interested in competing in the tournament should confirm their participation with the Tennis Center by Jan. 10.
For complete tennis activities and schedules, please contact the Tennis Center at 910-277-2592.