The history of Cheryl Tennis Club

Tennis has long been a popular sport of Norfolk. From the early days through the 1900s there were many grass courts around the island where people enjoyed social tennis.

In 1948 Cheryl Tennis Club was formed. Off Queen Elizabeth Avenue, there were five grass courts and a little clubhouse almost lost in the hedge.

Cheryl Tennis Club is named after Cheryl Rayner, whose father, Boy Satt Buffett, gave land to the tennis club to celebrate the arrival of his baby daughter. Cheryl was Patron of the Club and opened the new clubhouse. Other major developments in the mid 80’s and 90’s included tar-sealing the top court, then other courts were concreted, plexi-paved and eventually, in time for the 2001 South Pacific Games, all six courts were covered in synthetic grass. Installing lights open up opportunities for regular night competitions to raise the revenue base. Tennis prospered and running the Club became increasingly complex. The next step was incorporation as a company. Another giant leap forward was to employ a Manager/Coach who would manage the complex, run the night comps, and do coaching.

It became time to venture out beyond the island scene. Through the Amateur Sports Association, the Club was affiliated into the International and Oceania Tennis Federations, which boosted tennis to higher levels, thanks to funding and coaching assistance. Norfolk has become eligible to enter the South Pacific Games, and from 1979 tennis players were a part of the games in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Ultimately Norfolk hosted the 2001 Mini Games and tennis was one of the featured sports.

The junior tennis players have benefited hugely from the great facilities and opportunities for regular coaching. They are now able to compete in Fiji as part of the Oceania circuit, or perhaps to travel to NZ or Australia to play other junior tournaments.

Sport for veterans has become increasingly popular and in 1990 the Tennis Club joined with other sporting groups to promote the first Norfolk Island Veterans’ Games.

Over the years tennis has grown and developed and now, thanks to a lot of hard work, generous sponsorship and support by the community, the dream of succeeding generations are being realised so that many more people are able to enjoy the benefits of tennis in a sporting life.