Salisbury Stays Busy with Winter Events
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
Salisbury Country Club, which already hosts the most electric tennis event in the state during the summer, has plenty to keep fans busy during these cold winter evenings too.
How about some of the area’s top players trading ground strokes in doubles? Throw in a delicious buffet meal and a ticketed bar (member charge, guest cash) and you’ve got the ingredients for a fun night of tennis and camaraderie.
The ninth annual Friday Night Lights, scheduled for Feb. 24 at Salisbury Country Club’s indoor pavilion, gives fans a chance to mingle and catch up on the latest news from the area courts while enjoying some excellent tennis and food.
“It’s really amazing how much it’s caught on,” said Scott Steinour, director of tennis at Salisbury and one of the main proponents of the event.
“I think it’s the perfect time of year for an event like this. We pull in other clubs and just have a good, fun competition [on the court]. But along with the clay courts, it’s really a big party.”
That would be the McDonald’s Mid-Atlantic Open Clay Court Championships, held in July at Salisbury, which has developed into the premier tennis tournament in the state and area, attracting large crowds and some stellar men’s and women’s fields.
While there won’t be any out-of-town talent on display on Salisbury’s indoor court, several of the leading players from the area will entertain you while you enjoy cold beverages and food prepared by the Salisbury kitchen.
This year’s menu includes Caesar salad (with chilled shrimp), garlic roasted New York sirloin, penne carbonara (with grilled chicken) and assorted cupcakes for dessert. A mouth-watering array of delectable dishes to be sure!
The preliminary match will feature the Salisbury duo of Steinour and Mike Moyer against the acac pair of Jason Kinder and Al Thomas. The feature match, a 10-game pro set, has two-time city champion Hunter Koontz, top junior Chase Bernstine, former city champ Eric Shulman and ex-Mills Godwin standout Kyle Parker.
The pairing for the latter match will be drawn before the match, which will award $500 to the winner, courtesy of the Perkins Law firm.
“That’s four of the best players in Richmond,” Steinour said of the feature lineup.
While all of this is going on, the Richmond Tennis Association and Virginia Tennis Association will be conducting a silent auction that always features some excellent buys (equipment, lessons, weekend trips) – sometimes well below the normal cost.
“That’s been a good partnership,” Steinour said of working with the RTA and VTA.
Steinour said more than 300 tickets have been sold and he expects that number to grow by Feb. 24.
Tickets are $36 per person, and are available on the RTA website at www.richmondtennis.org/fnl2017/. The evening gets started with cocktails at 6, followed by dinner and matches at 6:30.
For future reference, Salisbury has added boxing to the sporting menu, holding an event for college and amateurs fighters leading up to a pro event. That was held in January for the second year and attracted a crowd of around 260, Steinour said, for dinner and boxing.
Yet another tennis event was held in January, when James Madison and George Mason met in a dual college match. JMU, which lost 5-2, has three Richmonders on the squad – No. 4 singles Brett Moorhead (Cosby), No. 5 Paul Mendoza (Cosby) and No. 6 Tate Steinour.
Whether it’s tennis or boxing, there seems to be something happening at Salisbury nearly all the time during the winter months.