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Christie Cup victory a highlight for Sir Brian

Sir Brian played in Wairarapa’s Christie Cup victory in 1982. PHOTO/WAIRARAPA ARCHIVE

CHRIS COGDALE
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One of Sir Brian Lochore’s proudest sporting memories came on the tennis court.

Sir Brian was an accomplished junior tennis player but gave the game away to concentrate on rugby.

His return to tennis after his retirement from rugby in 1971 led to one of his fondest sporting memories.

He was part of the 1982 Wairarapa senior tennis team who pulled off a stunning 18-6 upset over Manawatu to win the Christie Cup, symbol of supremacy among the sub-associations of the lower North Island.

It was the first time in 43 years Wairarapa had won this trophy.

Sir Brian, who won all three of his games, remembered it as a special moment for Wairarapa tennis.

“It was a lot like what happened with the rugby team actually as we had reached the stage as a unit where we were ready to do something special. If it didn’t happen then, it was never going to happen.”

One of his teammates and doubles partner, Masterton district councillor Frazer Mailman remembers Sir Brian as a very competitive player.

“He was very competent, had a very good service, couldn’t hit a top spin, but he was always competitive.”

Mailman said one their best achievements was beating a strong doubles combination in a Masters’ tournament.

“We beat Eric White, who was a Davis Cup rep and Paddy Kelly, who was number one in Manawatu for years, in the semifinals and we were both very proud of that.”

Once Sir Brian and Mailman gave up tennis, they became golfing buddies, playing together on Sundays for 30 years. Mailman said even then Sir Brian’s influence was evident.

“He was instrumental in bringing the pro-am to Masterton and Eketahuna, after he and the Masterton club professional Jamie McKay had played in an event in the South Island.”

“He was later charged with getting celebrity speakers each year and his team even won it one year.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I had the privilege of playing representative tennis singles against Brian in 1982 when Hawke’s Bay played Wairarapa Bush at the Queen Elizabeth Park courts in Masterton. I was waiting on the court for my opponent to appear, and Brian stepped out to introduce himself as my opponent. We shook hands – mine seemed to disappear into his huge hand, but his handshake was firm and his smile completely genuine. I thought he would be a ‘push-over,’ being a big man, but Brian proved himself to be fast, athletic and competitive. Under pressure during rallies, I put up three high lobs during the match to ‘buy some time.’ On each occasion Brian leapt into the air and smashed the ball back with such force that I ended up prising the ball from the wire netting at the back of the court!
    Although fiercely competitive, Brian was scrupulously fair with his line calls – on a number of occasions I fired balls into his court thinking they were very close to the line, possible out. But on each occasion Brian called out “Good shot,” and congratulated me for the play. In turn I did the same back to Brian.
    At the end of the long and tough match we shook hands again, and left the court. It was impossible for others to tell, from his body language, whether he had won or lost, such was his attitude, enthusiasm and big smile. We became good friends from that day on.
    Later I would see him at A&P shows with farm animals, and he would always remember our battles and stop to talk about the ‘tennis days.’
    I will always cherish these wonderful memories of Brian Lochore – he was a ‘great bloke’ indeed.

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