Pam Donnelly and Alina Leslie, the oldest and the newest members of Ascot Ladies Squash Club, share a laugh at the courts. Pam Donnelly is 82. Her son, Frank, was a former world number two amateur player in the late 1970s.
Pam Donnelly and Alina Leslie, the oldest and the newest members of Ascot Ladies Squash Club, share a laugh at the courts. Pam Donnelly is 82. Her son, Frank, was a former world number two amateur player in the late 1970s. Murray Wenzel Squ

Pam's still on the ball

AT 82 years, Pam Donnelly is still competing with the best of them.

The long-time Ascot Ladies Squash Club member plays twice a week with the girls and makes no secret of her experience.

“I’m proud to tell the girls how old I am; it doesn’t worry me,” she said.

“I do pilates as well, and that keeps me in pretty good shape, so hopefully I’ll be here for a while yet,” she said.

Pam’s son, Frank, was a former world number two amateur player in the late 1970s, and she happily claims she taught him everything he knew.

“I’d like to think so,” she chuckled.

Pam took on a much younger Kay Armstrong yesterday, but the result did not worry her.

“I’ve seen these girls come through. I used to beat them, now they beat me! Many of them I used to coach,” she said.

Among the other players was Alina Leslie, who was enjoying her first day at the court after moving from Brisbane.

“It should be interesting to see how I go but it should be a bit of fun,” she said.

The club has some healthy numbers, but nothing on 20 years ago, according to Ascot president Valmai Mitchell.

“Squash used to be huge, but I think as more sports became available to play it has dwindled a bit,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s anything against squash itself, just more variety.”

Mitchell has been a part of the Ascot club for 30 years and listed a few novel reasons for why she had stayed on.

“If you are ever stressed out, hitting a few balls really hard is a good way of getting rid of that — it definitely works for me,” Mitchell said.

“But there are lots of laughs and it’s good fun, really.”

Another member, Kasmine Pearce, has lost 5kg since joining in mid-2009.

Players are in groups of five, with a ranking system ensuring all games are evenly matched.

“The number one players like to push it a bit more, while the number five guys pace themselves a little more,” Mitchell said.

“Everyone plays to win but no one plays to kill each other.”

Any women interested in playing should telephone Valmai Mitchell on 4159 9277.

Those who can only play at night, telephone Leigh Peterson on 4151 5131.



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