Winter resident Tony Craven of the Estates of Beacon Woods didn't play tennis until three years ago. For the last two years, however, the Nature Coast Senior Men's Travel Team League has been his game.
"I felt I was too old for skiing, but you're never too old for tennis," joked Craven. "You don't play much tennis in northern Canada. This league gives a good cross-section of our community tennis."
The Nature Coast league is organized by tennis/teaching professional Judy Jeanette of Brooksville and includes eight teams representing the communities of Timber Pines, Sugarmill Woods, Spring Hill and the Estates of Beacon Woods. Each consists of four doubles teams that compete in two sessions of a round-robin format.
"We're not necessarily doing so well," said Craven, the team's co-captain, "but we have some awfully good competitive matches. We're probably around sixth place in the league."
Competing for Beacon Woods on Fridays in the Nature Coast League are Englishman Bob Holgate and Dick Brewer in the No. 1 position, Dallas Hermanson and Rudy Flader in No. 2, Craven and Gene Galleta in No. 3, and captain Harold Wolfing and Lenny Colosuonno in No. 4. Ernie Verity is the most frequent substitute, according to Craven.
Players at Beacon Woods also participate on Tuesdays in an internal league on their hard court facility. There is a mixed Quantum League that bases each week's schedule on the previous week's match results.
Thursdays is the Nature Coast Ladies Daylight Team League. Wolfing's wife Mabel captains the Beacon Woods team and Craven's wife Gerry assists. Currently, Beacon Woods is in the top four among 11 teams.
River Crossing wins: River Crossing's 3.5 women's team eliminated Seminole Lake Racquet Club in a U.S. Tennis Association Senior League playoff Saturday. River Crossing beat Seminole 2-1 on doubles wins by Millie Wehrly and Maureen Sternberg and Phyllis Gari and Madeline Masucci.
River Crossing advances to the state championships May 12-13 at a site to be determined.
Adult league: The River Crossing 3.5 women's team netted its second consecutive win Sunday with a 3-2 decision over East Lake Woodlands Country Club. After winning the two singles positions and losing two doubles, the team match hinged on No. 3 doubles. Jocie Doucette and Midge Spaulding survived a three-set match, winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-4), 6-4.
Singles winner: Mattie Smouse of Spring Hill was undefeated and scored 20 points in the Nature Coast Ladies Singles League. In all, 13 players participated in the round-robin format. Second place was awarded to Jan Lucas, followed by a tie for third place between Marty Ratliff and Terry Guerrero.
More ladies: Smouse and Ora Willams of Hudson are tied for first place in the Brooksville Deuces Ladies Doubles League. A five-way tie for second-place includes Susan Yason, Guerrero, Lydia Babasa, Doreen Chan and Vivien Amabile.
Eleven teams are competing in the Nature Coast Ladies Daylight Team League. To date, Brooksville and C.R. Racketeers are tied for first, followed by Beacon Woods and Sugarmill Woods Oak.
Coming up: A Mixed Doubles Compass Invitational is at Sugarmill Woods Country Club Saturday and Sunday. Call 799-8999.
A Hospice Tennis Tournament is March 19-20 at Citrus Hills. Call 795-2202.