Eighty-four years old and ‘crafty’ on the tennis court

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by Chris Tobin

Terry Taylor is living up to the well known saying use it or lose it.

The semi-retired Pleasant Point farmer spends hours every week playing tennis, winter and summer.

In recognition of his enthusiasm and durability, tennis friends laid on a party for him when he turned 84 this month.

“I started playing tennis at 40 after playing badminton and decided to give it a go.”

At that stage Mr Taylor and his wife Adrienne were dairy farming in Northland.

“I started with business house tennis. A few of us cockies got into it; we drank a lot of booze, played a bit of tennis, acted the goat and I stuck with it.

“I gave up badminton.”

The Taylors moved south in 1999 and took up a 162ha beef farm outside Pleasant Point and bred horses which they continue to do.

“I sold most of my farm to a cow cockie but we’ve kept breeding horses.

Who’s for tennis? . . . Terry Taylor (middle in white) joins his fellow players for an afternoon’s tennis at the Wai-iti club. Back row from left, Murray Purvis, Kay Kirke, Graham Kirke, Murray Taylor, Audrey Matthews and Michael Robinson. Middle row, Mr Taylor, Heather Hume and Denise Liddle. Front, Row Sue Brosnahan, Meng Lee, and Jenny Mills. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“We breed about four or five every year. It’s more the wife’s hobby, and I do the work.

“We’ve made a lot of friends and gone all over New Zealand.”

One of their horses Sleepy Tripp won a NZ Derby as a pacer.

“We won him. We took him to Australia where he got second in the Victoria Cup and won just about every race as a 3-year-old.

“We bred him out of a cheap old mare.”

Mr Taylor said he kept playing tennis because he loved it and it gave him the chance to mingle and mix with people.

He didn’t have any strokes which stood out in his playing repertoire.

“I’m average with most shots.”

Time to celebrate . . . Terry Taylor receives a cake to celebrate his 84th birthday at the Wai-iti Tennis Club. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Fellow player Graham Kirke said Mr Taylor was “crafty” on the court and played quite a few drop shots which was a hangover from his badminton days.

Mr Taylor played every Saturday and Wednesday year-round. The Wednesday competition is indoors doubles with Mr Kirke (73), Nichol Taylor (74) and Sue Brosnahan (63).

Saturday afternoons Mr Taylor can be found playing at Timaru’s Wai-iti Tennis Club. Sometimes it might stretch into a Sunday as well.

As to his secret to keeping active he said it was simple:

“Eat well . . . I have a very good wife who’s a very good cook.”