Sport

Kyvalley Tennis Club is the little club that could

By Jared Prestwidge

KYVALLEY Tennis Club took to the stage at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne last night to accept the Community Sporting Club of the Year award at the 2019 Victorian Sport Awards.

Regarded as the night of nights for the Victorian sporting community, the Victorian Sport Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of the home-grown premier athletes, grassroots heroes and those who have shown commitment and dedication to community sport throughout the state.

Those are credentials that Kyvalley Tennis Club possess in spades, with their remarkable stat of 304 participants in a community of 329 permanent residents garnering the most attention by the award judges and presenter Clint Stanaway.

Treasurer Melissa Williams, who accepted the award with secretary Rebecca Gell, said she was in disbelief when the club’s name was called on the night.

“I wasn’t prepared at all. I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to say,” she said.

“We were up against all sports in Victoria, so I thought our little rural tennis club didn’t have a chance against them.

“It just proves that small communities with good volunteers can do amazing things when they put their minds to it.

“Often volunteer work goes unrecognised, so this is amazing for our club as a whole.”

The award win is a feather in the cap for club members and represents the long journey the club has been for almost a decade – from being forced into recess for eight years due to a lack of members to having a wealth of participants in 2020 – it is a true underdog story.

Since the new committee took the reins in 2011, the courts at Kyvalley have gone from rotting over to having tennis lovers aged anywhere from three years old to 85 getting out there and having fun.

Melissa said it took an enormous amount of time and work from everyone involved to transform the club into what it is today.

“At that stage I had little children… and I thought they might want to play tennis in the future,” she said.

“So, we formed a committee and it took us 12 months to get the courts and facilities ready for competition.

“The synthetic courts had eight years of moss on them so it took us quite a bit of time to get them ready.

“We’ve gone from no members to more than 300 members in eight years… it’s wonderful to see the courts full of people enjoying tennis.”