HARRY GREEN was a founder member and first Chairman of The Invincibles. He recently returned to the Club to celebrate his 90th birthday and to speak to present Chairman, young Barry Cuming, about the early days and the legacy that he helped to build and create. 



HEAD TO HEAD – WHEN HARRY MET BARRY

Barry: Harry – it’s great to see you today in such fine form. I see that you’ve brought along your racket for a game. Is this the wooden one you played with when you beat Ken Rosewall in 1962.

Harry: In my dreams – and don’t be so cheeky !

Barry: Can you tell us how ‘The Invincibles’ started ?

Harry: In the early 1990s, the UK Sports Council launched a project to encourage Sports Centres to form clubs so that more seniors could take up sport. In 1991, the Club Manager, Steve Blosse suggested forming a 50+ age group who could make use of the Club’s main hall when it wasn’t in use. Gwen Kingston and ladies from the local running club took up this offer and I joined them.

Barry: What was it like at the beginning ?

Harry: Member clubs across the region were getting together to take part in an annual competition – the REACT Games. As our membership increased, it was agreed we should join REACT as The Nifty Fifties and I became our representative. Clubs competed in the age groups 50+ and 65+ in short tennis, badminton, short mat bowls, racket ball, table tennis, and swimming.


Barry: Tell us how well the Nifty Fifties did at their first REACT Games.


Harry: Our first experience was at the Black Leys Sports Centre in 1992. As newcomers, with a limited number of entrants, we did not excel ! Since then we have been extremely successful and have hosted the Games four times, entertaining clubs from Winchester, Alton, High Wycombe, and Fareham.


Barry: When and why did we change our name to become ‘The Invincibles’ ?

Harry: By 1992 our membership had grown to 130 and to suit our growing reputation and aspirations we thought we should ‘rebrand’ ourselves. I came up with a new name, The Invincibles and everyone liked it. I’m so proud that we’ve kept it.


Barry: What do remember from the early days ?

Harry: Our sports activities included badminton, short tennis, short mat bowls, table tennis, racket ball
coached by Mike Brown, aerobics with Nikki Vincent on the mezzanine floor, swimming with Rosemary Bateman and Lynn Davidson and outdoor tennis on the newly constructed astro courts with LTA coach, Lucy Taylor.

As a sociable bunch we soon started to organise more adventurous activities. Foy Rees arranged walks and Maurice Driver and John Goss began organising walking holiday breaks. I began organising our annual visit to the Manor House at Okehampton and we’ve been going ever since !


Barry: What have been the highlights for you during your time as an Invincible?


Harry: So many, but several events immediately come to mind:
1. Winning our first REACT Games held at High
Wycombe in 1998
2. Hosting and winning the Games in 2002
3. Double Decker sightseeing coach trip to Bruges in 2004 with 94 Invincibles. What happens in Bruges stays in Bruges!
4. Visually stunning trip to Cologne in 2006 to see “Rhine in Flames’ Festival.

Barry: Harry – thanks for reminiscing with us and thanks, on behalf of all Invincibles past and present for your early pioneering efforts.

Thanks Barry – I’ve enjoyed our chat. Now lets get back out on court so that I can give you a damn good thrashing !

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