WARD, ALICE (Alice Elizabeth Ward)
Died 17 September 1966
Married Arnott John Fernie on 30 June 1909 in Saint Joseph’s Church, Wellington
[Active circa 1905-1914]
Part of the Kiwi contingent that toured Australia in 1909.
Active circa 1900-10. Alice Ward was the sister of fellow lawn tennis players Mary and Thomas Ward. They were three of the children of Thomas Lawrence Frederick Ward, who was a native of County Down in Ireland, and Mary Elizabeth Ward (née Green), who was also Irish by birth.
Alice Ward’s most notable victory on the lawn tennis court came in the final of the women’s singles event at the Wellington Championships tournament in April 1906 when she defeated Lucy Powdrell in the final in three sets, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
[Bio provided by Newmark401; additional info by Rollo and Peter2003]
WARD, “PAT” (Patricia Evelyn Ward)
Born 27 February 1929
Died 22 June 1985
Married Robert Hales, 28 November 1959
More feared in doubles, she was a surprise finalist in the 1955 US Championships at Forest Hills, losing to Doris Hart 6-4 6-2. The next year she made the semis at Wimbledon. These were her only 2 instances of making the final 8 in singles in the 4 majors.
Pat and Shirley Bloomer reached the 1955 doubles finals at the French (losing to Baker/Hard 7-5 6-8 13-11) and at Wimbledon, losing to Mortimer and Shilcock 7-5 6-1.
At the 1960 French Championships Pat and Ann Haydon lost the doubles final to Bueno and Hard 6-2 7-5.
Ward was ranked in the world top ten in Tingay's rankings 1955 (at #8) and 1956.
Finalist: 1953 - Alexandria, Cairo; 1954 - Roma, Swiss Championships, Venezia; 1955 - US Championships, Beaulieu, British Covered Court Championships, Cannes Gallia, Mentone; 1956 - Istanbul, Queen's Club, Coupe Canet; 1957 - Aix-en-Provence, Asian Champs., British Hard Court Championships, Coupe Pierre Gillou, Dusseldorf; 1959 - British Covered Court Championships; 1960 - City of Paris Championships.
Born in 1929 or 1930 (aged 19 in July of 1949)
Won the 1949 junior girls title at the Australian Nationals in Adelaide. 4,000 to 6,000 witnessed her defeat Pam Southcombe 6-1 2-6 11-9 in an engrossing final on the centre court. She impressed visiting American star Doris Hart with her potential. Doris had also pointed out how difficult it was to develop talent without good coaching or attention-noting that little was done to promote women's tennis by the Aussie LTA.
A strong backhand meant opponents tended to attack Judy's forehand, which she often netted. Several papers refer to her "aggressive" style.
Judy went on to also compete in the Nationals in 1950 and 1953-compiling a 2-3 singles record. After the 1949 junior title her tennis never appears to have developed.
WATERHOUSE, “GWEN” (Gwynneth Jeanette Waterhouse)
Born in 1904 at Chatswood, Sydney
Married Jack Evelyn Cassidy on 19 December 1928 in St Martin's Anglican Church, Killara
[Active 1920s to at least 1931]
NSW player of 1920s. Entered Aussie as early as 1925. She should be equal to the Mrs Cassidy entered in doubles at the 1931 Aussie Championships.
WATERMEYER, “TOODLES” (nee Ethel Prescott)
Born 14 September 1921
Married Watermeyer circa 1944.
Died in 2010
[Active from at least the early 1940s to 1955]
Name Variations: Her nickname has variations, being known as either "Toodles' or "Toots". Ethel was her formal name, as a ship manifest form 1955 provides this and her date of birth.
What is unmistakable is the high quality of her tennis.
Watermeyer was ranked #2 in South Africa in 1949. She went abroad that year, competing at the French and Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round in singles and the quarterfinals in the mixed.
According to her daughter Toodles career lasted into the mid 1950s. She chaperoned a Springbok team to Europe in 1955. This was her second and last Wimbledon. Competing only in the mixed doubles-Toots lost in the quarterfinals with partner Pat Sherwood.
Toodles also represented her province in both golf and badminton.
Her daughter Pam (born circa 1944) also a prominent player in the 1960s.
Apparently Toodles wore special toeless tennis shoes because of foot problems (see the photo below)
3rd May 1949: 'Toodles' Watermeyer from South Africa fastening the special toeless tennis shoes she has to wear because of foot problems. She is at Hurlingham prior to competing at Wimbledon. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Wimbledon Programme 27th June 1949 Maiden Names of lady competitors
WATSON, ALICE (Alice Laura Watson)
Born 08 June 1875 in Melbourne, Victoria
Died 11 December in Saint Kilda, Victoria Married James Reedie Beck on 28 July 1914 in Melbourne
1912 South Australian Champion
"Perhaps the finest doubles player in the Commonwealth, a hard hitter and… her stamina was remarkable."
James Beck was also a lawn tennis player.
From ‘The Observer’ (Adelaide), 16 December, 1916:
Obituaries – Mrs James R. Beck [Miss Alice Watson]
Tennis players and the public generally received with regret the news of the death on Monday last at Saint Kilda, Victoria, of Mrs James R. Beck (née Alice Watson), of Kirkcaldy, Wynarka. Before her marriage Mrs Beck played for the Saint Kilda Club, and had represented Victoria in interstate contests against South Australia and New South Wales for the past eight years. She played with success and participated in, or gained personally, the following tennis championships:–Ladies’ singles 1912; ladies’ doubles, with Miss Lily Addison, 1909, with Miss Pearl Stewart, 1911; and with Miss Gertrude Wilmoth, 1912; mixed doubles, with Mr Rupert Wertheim, 1913. In 1911 she was runner-up with Mr Horace Rice in the same class.
She was perhaps the finest player in the Commonwealth, a hard hitter, and a brilliant exponent of the game. Her stamina was remarkable. Many times she had played in as many as five champion matches in one day, and followed these with severe contests in the finals of the three championships, which usually conclude local tournament matches.
The late Mrs Beck possessed a jovial and kindly disposition, and endeared herself to all who met her. Her retirement from tennis at her marriage was a distinct loss to Victorian tennis circles, and her death is still a greater loss to those who knew her. She had lived recently at Wynarka, on the Brown’s Well Line, where her husband, Mr James R. Beck, has a property. Prior to going on the land Mr Beck was a prominent member of the A.M.P. Society, and was for years actively associated with the Adelaide Hunt Club.
[Thanks to Gee Tee, Jimbo, and Newmark for this information]
WATSON, ELAINE (Elaine M Watson)
Married Bernard I Shenton from July to September of 1956 in Essex.
Elaine played in the Championships almost yearly from 1951 to 1964. She missed the event in 1958, 1961, and 1963-perhaps due to pregnancy. Her marriage is datable as she was Miss Watson in 1956 and Mrs Shenton in the 1957 event.
Her best run was in 1956. Elaine reached the 4R, falling to #6 seed Anglea Buxton 6-4 6-4. Buxton went on to reach the final that year.
Singles: 14-9 (4R in 1956)
WATSON, PHOEBE (nee Phoebe Catherine Holcroft)
Born 07 October 1898 in St Leonards-on-Sea,Sussex, England
Died 20 October 1980 in Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Married (1) Michael Ramsey Watson on 7 April 1925 in Hartley Wintney,Hampshire
Married (2) William Launtson Eriksen Blakstad, 28 July 1933 in Birmingham
Grand Slam doubles titles
United States (1929)
Grand Slam singles highlights
France (1928 and 1929 QF)
Wimbledon (1927 and 1928 QF)
United States (1929 finalist-her sole time competing in the US)
A hard hitting Brit who was most effective in doubles, forming the best team in the world during the late 1920s with Peggy saunders Michell. Together they won 4 majors. The #1 British pairing also represented Britain in the Wightman Cup from 1928 to 1930.
Watson was ranked inside the world's top 10 for 4 years by Arthur Wallis Myers. Her highest ranked was at #2 in 1929. Watson was able to travel to the United States for the first (and in retrospect last) time as part of the Wightman Cup competition, held that year in the United States. Phoebe made the most of her chance, reaching the final to face the invincible Helen Wills. "Knocking the cover off the ball", her forehand raked the court. The New York Times reports that "the gallery was in a fair frenzy of delight" with Watson sent Wills scrambling around the court on the defensive. Phoebe hit 15 winners to only 6 for Wills, but in doing so eventually tallied up too many errors.
Wills won 6-4 6-2, in what looks like a straightforward match on paper. Some context is in ordwer. Wills dominance was so total that when Watson broke Helen's sere it was for the first time in the entire event. All of Helen's 5 other foes had managed only 2 games from her! So when Phoebe broke Wills serve after a 16 point game the stadium rose in a roar. Alas, Phoebe's continually going for broke trying to hit winners off her forehand was rewarded less and less as the match wore on.
Watson competed in 3 matches that day-winning a long doubles semi held over the night before 9-11 6-3 6-4; competing in the singles final in the mid-afternoon, and then returning for the doubles final. Despite being tired Phoebe's drives and Peggy's putaways at net carried them through at 2-6 6-3 6-4.
Also listed as Phoebe Holcroft-Watson in many contemporary sources.
After 1930 Mrs Watson confined her play to doubles only. One can only speculate why, perhaps age playing a factor.
Born July 1901 in [Shildon] Gateshead, County Durham
Probably did not marry.
[Active circa 1919-39]
Ruth was the daughter of the Reverend Ralph Watson, a clerk in holy orders (b. 1869 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and Sarah Isabella Watson (née Adamson; b. 1865 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne). They married each other in their native city in 1896. Ruth appears not to have had any siblings. She was a stalwart of several tournaments in the north of England for many years, including the Durham Championships, the Northumberland Championships, the North of Northumberland Championships and the Carlisle (Cumbria) tournament.
Ruth played at Wimbledon seven times between 1924-31, entering the women's singles event each time, but without ever winning a match in that particular event. She was a little more successful in the women's doubles and mixed doubles events. Her partner in the latter event was usually an R.D. Watson. This might well have been Ralph Douglas Watson (b. 1882 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne) – not to be confused with Ruth's father whose first name was also Ralph. The R.D. Watson in question might have been distantly related to Ruth.
Ruth is sometimes listed as "Mrs R. Watson" in one or two contemporary sources, but she had not married by her early forties, and several English newspapers regularly give her full name as "Miss Ruth Watson" well into the 1930s. She seems to have particularly enjoyed playing at the North of Northumberland Championships tournament, held in the summer in Berwick-upon-Tweed. She won the women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles titles at that particular tournament multiple times. She also later donated a Challenge Cup for the women's singles event at the same tournament.
When Ruth's father, Ralph, died in October 1942 at the age of 42, 'The Berwick Advertiser' newspaper carried the following piece on the twenty-ninth of that month: "At Seahouses on Sunday the death took place of the Canon Ralph Watson, Rector of Houghton-le-Spring, at the age of 73. He intended to retire early next year, and has just completed 50 years in the ministry having been at South Shields, Hartlepool, Bensham and Durham, where he was Rural Dean from 1917 to 1924. He played tennis and cricket and was a freemason. He is survived by his daughter, Miss Ruth Watson, the well-known tennis player. Both Mr Watson and his daughter were well-known players at the North Northumberland Tennis Tournaments held annually in Berwick for many years. They were frequent visitors to Bamburgh and Seahouses."
Below is a list of the main singles titles won by Ruth Watson during her lawn tennis career (excluding those she won at the North of Northumberland Championships tournament):
1920 Ruth Watson d. Beryl Tulloch 6-1, 6-1
1921 Camilla Rimington d. Ruth Watson 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
1922 Camilla Rimington d. Ruth Watson 8-6, 6-3
1923 Ruth Watson d. Camilla Rimington 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
1924 Ruth Watson d. Mary Hart McIlquham 7-5, 6-1
1925 Camilla Rimington Smith d. Ruth Watson 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
1926 Ruth Watson d. M. Thomasson 6-3, 6-2
1927 Ruth Watson d. Camilla Rimington Smith 6-4, 6-8, 6-2
1928 Ruth Watson d. Jean Rankine 6-2, 6-4
1929 Ruth Watson d. V. March 6-1, 6-2
1930 Freda James d. Ruth Watson 6-1, 6-3
Chapel Allerton, West Yorkshire
1925 Kathleen Aitchison d. Ruth Watson 7-5, 9-7
1928 Ruth Watson d. Dorothy Anderson 6-2, 6-2
Durham County Championships, Sunderland
1921 Ruth Watson d. Mrs Helps 10-8, 8-6
1922 Ruth Watson d. Miss Walton-Brown 7-5, 6-3
1923 Kathleen Aitchison d. Ruth Watson 10-8, 3-6, 7-5
1930 Ruth Watson d. Lesley Cadle 6-4, 6-2
1932 Ruth Watson d. Mrs J. Stephens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
1933 Ruth Watson d. Doris Davison 6-3, 7-5
1934 Ruth Watson d. Doris Davison 8-6, 6-8, 6-2
1935 Ruth Watson d. Mrs J. Stephens 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
North of England Championships, Scarborough
1926 [Scarborough] Ruth Watson d. Joan Ridley 6-3 6-1
North of England Hard Court Championships, Scarborough
1924 [Scarborough] Ruth Watson d. Lesley Cadle 6-4 7-9 6-4
1925 [Scarborough] Ruth Watson d. Elsie Holtby 6-2 6-1
1926 [Scarborough] Ruth Watson d. Mrs Wormald 6-1 5-7 6-1
Northumberland Championships, Newcastle
1922 Ruth Watson d. Kathleen Aitchison 6-2 3-6 6-4
1923 Ruth Watson d. Lesley Cadle 7-5 6-2
1928 Ruth Watson d. Kathleen Aitchison 6-1 6-2
1930 Ruth Watson d. Helen Barr 4-6 8-6 7-5
1927 [Edinburgh] Ruth Watson d. Naomi Trentham 6-1 6-1
WATTS, AGNES (nee Agnes Emily Noon)
Born 12 July 1860 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Died 1914 in England
Married Frederick Watts circa August 1878 in Blaby, Leicestershire, England
A note on the Noon tennis-playing siblings, from Leicester in England. They were the children of Charles Noon, a hosiery manufacturer, and Lucy Noon, and had most of their success in the 1880s.
In order of age, they were Agnes (born 1861); Sidney (born 1862); Frank (born 1865); and Effie (born 1866). There were some other siblings, who appear not to have played tournament tennis.
In the summer of 1878, Agnes (Emily) Noon married Frederick Watts, a brewer, in Blaby, Leicestershire, thereby becoming Mrs F. Watts, the name under which she is listed in all contemporary lawn tennis records.