Heart scare forces forfeit

By Adam Hicks

LENNOX Head man Bill Powell suffered a suspected heart attack after winning the men's A-grade doubles semi-final at the Ballina New Year's Tennis Open at the weekend.

The 47-year-old was at home on Saturday evening when the incident happened hours after he and doubles partner, Graham Pitman, defeated 17-year-olds Alex Other-Gee and Luke Such, both of Brisbane, 9-7 in a shortened but rigorous semi-final.

The Powell-Pitman pairing were forced to forfeit yesterday's final while Powell remained in Ballina District Hospital.

Hospital staff declined to comment on his condition.

Pitman said there was no indication that his partner was ailing after the match.

"He said he was just a little bit tired," he said.

Pitman said they were given the option of playing the final immediately after their semi-final but Powell declined saying simply: "I'd rather not."

"His wife rang me up last night and said, 'We're in Ballina hospital and he's on a heart machine'," said Pitman.

Pitman said the tournament provided stiff competition for the pair who usually have a social hit on Mondays and Thursdays and team up for regional tournaments.

"We were pretty keen to play. Because we are older and play a lot of the young kids we were having fun," he said.

"It was reasonably hard competition. These young fellas stretch you out a little bit."

The pair were due to meet Jason Brazier and Jeremy Hallum of Brisbane in the A-grade final and were also due to play in yesterday's B-grade semi-final.

"I'd rather not say that we would've won but I was pretty sure we would've taken out both grades, more than likely," Pitman said.

"Both of us are reasonably hard hitters. I'm a bit disappointed for him. I know he would have liked to win a couple of finals.

"I've been there and done that but I'd still like to have won with him ... Bill, my friend."

Pitman said the incident had shaken him a little.

"I thought I was more of a chance to have a turn than him. He's the younger one," the 66-year-old said.



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