27 Apr Brian’s still courting success
At nearly 83 years old, Brian Sandercock is an unlikely champion. Standing at only 160 cm (five foot four in the “old money”), and despite his age, he can still run around much younger rivals on the squash courts of the Hills District.
“I’m usually playing people quite a bit younger than me,” says Brian, his voice bubbling over with enthusiasm for the sport he’s played for over 60 years. “I like the challenge of trying to win. I have a high lob serve, which was introduced to me by Hashim Khan, the world champion way back in the 50s. I had a hit with him one day at a local court and he gave me that tip. He was absolutely brilliant, a marvellous man. I’m vertically disadvantaged, so that lob works pretty well against tall players. I used to be very fast over the court and run, run, run, but as I’ve got older I get the advantage by also using a drop shot from the back of the court. Plus, I can use the racket in either hand, which helps, too.”
No prizes for guessing that Brian’s had a lot of success as a squash player. He’s won medals at numerous world championships, including the World Masters in Sydney in 2009. Incredibly, only last year at the World Masters in Auckland last year he won a gold medal in the 80-plus division. “I love the challenge of squash, it’s definitely my favourite, but I’ve played tennis all my life and enjoy that too.’
In fact, Brian is on a tennis court three times a week, playing with pals old and new. This might already seem a major achievement to most of us, but Brian also hits the squash court weekly. It’s a fitness regime that’s impressive at any age. “I play tennis with three different groups and we’re very competitive. The groups aren’t small, on Wednesdays we have 28 players, both men and women.”
When he’s not on a court, Brian’s at his villa at Uniting Mawarra West Pennant Hills, where he’s lived for ten years, although he’s been acquainted with Mawarra for a lot longer. “Mawarra is an Aboriginal word that means ‘pleasant place’ and it really is. I first got involved with Mawarra in 1997 when I was on the voluntary board here. Eventually I moved in, in 2008.”
And what would he say to anyone thinking of making a move to independent living at Uniting Mawarra? “I’d recommend Mawarra to anybody, actually,” Brian says. “It’s quiet, and it’s peaceful.”