|So what do I need to know:
Your name..... Tom Connor
Place of Birth....Rockhampton.
Where you first started playing squash....Boomerang Squash Courts, Hope Street, South Brisbane around 1970.
Your fondest memory of the time....Fondest memory from those early times (for me around 1970-74) was the Boomerang camaraderie around the courts, the local pub after practice and outside under the tree late at night with the beers handy. Fond memories after that period are the competitive and social weekend tournaments, intense battles in fixtures to all hours of the morning and the pain yet exhilaration that went with all of that. The “boom” in squash court centres and the standards of play from locals to national was a great era to be playing in.
Who was your hero back then....Cricket heroes were mostly in mind and anyone who tried for Queensland to win the Sheffield Shield but Geoff Hunt’s book (around 1975) took my fancy for his skill and determination. Locally I was taken by the determined gutsy fighters – at whatever level they were playing at…
Your best achievement on court (dates) that you are so proud of . Probably beating Peter Nance in the Queensland Championship to get a (5th) place in a Queensland team that then won the Australian team titles in 1979 – as an oldie at 31, I was pretty pleased to represent Queensland … but also probably winning a number of early fixtures in A1 No 1 that season when I wasn’t expected to. Winning a rubber (O/35) in an Australian Masters team in about 1983 against New Zealand over there to help a 2/1 series win was euphoric with the pain after 9/7 in the 5th (and obviously stands out in the memory) and another loss in 5 to Trevor Collyer in a Brisbane v New Zealand team match at Jindalee with a poisoned foot around 79/80.
Scores are good if you still remember them.......I remember being zipped (easy score to remember) by Ross Thorne in a second round of fixtures after I’d beaten him in that early stretch mentioned above! He was obviously better prepared….
Your best achievement off court (dates)........probably in engineering. Became National President of the engineering association and received Australian honours (AO) in about 2000.
Did you win any titles - please list them.....Don’t think so in the open era… except some minor or club titles. Isle of Wight 1976 comes to mind. Won some Masters over 35 titles – Queensland around 1982-84 – before Brian Cook got serious. State team won national title in 1979 (but I was 5); Masters National Test win v NZ (about 1983); Brisbane A1 Team Title with Bardon (around 1984?); Qld masters state team won national titles too around 82-86.
Did you represent your state, country (dates)... Qld.... 79 .Aust...Masters to NZ approx 83; Qld in Masters around 82-86
What you want people to remember about you ....Tried hard with limited ability and a desperate team player
If you ventured into administration or coaching or refereeing or managing teams or even masters...... no – played on for a while down the ranks and hopefully assisted some as they passed by
Did you coach a player who achieved wonderful things on court....no. But the intense and competitive practice sessions at Bardon in the late 70s and early 80s led to a number of battlers in grade eventually play for the state - I think Wayne Skinner, Tony Ryan, Ian Freeme, Damian Burke, maybe Gary Freeme?
Who do you admire as the person who has either achieved great things on court or shaped the game off court... I think a few of the court owners and managers of that previous era deserve credit for their support to players; as well as the people who volunteered to run those wonderful clubs that provided the social and competitive environment that we all thrived on. I don’t know many of them but from my perspective Joe Williams at Boomerang seemed to devote his life to nurturing Boomerang teams and has gone on now (with others) to develop the current Boomerang/Gabba web-site. I also saw the passion and support Jock Freeman had for the game and young (and old) players. Re on court players, I came along towards the end of the Wright/Donnelly/Curtis period, saw Dave Prickett and Ken Fraser battle it out regularly at Boomerang, and then saw the emergence, then eminence, of Frank Donnelly, Ross Thorne, Chris Robertson, Rodney Martin and Rodney Eyles. All those mentioned were great to watch in a competitive battle – and the harder the “battle” the better the spectacle.
Funniest moment you remember....Dave or Peter Thomas, or Damien Bourke, would probably have something to do with many such moments. Dave Wright entangling with Barry Whitlock in an A1 semi also comes to mind. As does the singing on stage in Perth of “Banging Away, Banging Away -That’s What we did in WA” with Dave Wright on the guitar.
Name 5 people who should be on the list..... I’m thinking of those not already there …Jock Freeman; Wayne Skinner; Tony Ryan; Damian Bourke; Barry Whitlock; Bob Parker; Joe Williams; Ian and Gary Freeme; Peter Nance
What are you doing now ...Director Engineering for KBR in Australia. Travel outback etc whenever we can. Play a bit of tennis. Work quite a bit in Viet Nam.
Did you get married, have kids ...Yes – Jan, who rapidly went from E5 to A grade and still plays socially on a weekly basis. We have 5 kids who all play a lot of sport but not much squash. A result of the options available nowadays compared to what squash offered as one of the only night-time and weatherproof, minimum 2 person required sports available (and a minimum of 0.08 not frequently policed in that era)
Anything else you think people might find interesting....People may be aware that Joe Williams and Frank Brand have done a great job with the Boomerang/Gabba website and through efforts of others such as Dave Prickett, Ken Fraser and Richard Arnold, there is a monthly lunch gathering. Always an enjoyable occasion to reminisce so best of luck Kim with this endeavour. I’m sure it will be appreciated.