Tennis/Cricket/Athletic/Cycling Clubs

The   Cope family actively supported other sporting activities in the village as   well as football. Records show that Loughgall had a Cricket Club around 1870.   Lennon & Wylie in 1901 report that at Loughgall ‘An Athletic and Cycling   Club has been formed and a very safe grass track has been laid out in the   Demense grounds’. Newspaper articles of the time include reports on cycling   competitions held in Loughgall, with entrants coming from as far away as   Belfast. In 1926 ground just inside the main gates was donated to the   villagers by Canon Sowter and his wife, the former Miss Helen Cope, so that a   tennis club might be formed. There was one hard court made of cement, one   grass court and a small pavilion. Strict protocol was observed when new   members presented themselves. Voting and vetting had to take place and one   black bean in five excluded all undesirables. Among the many incidents of   note over the years, was the case of August Saturday. A play of that name,   set in a rural tennis club, had been written by the author William Trevor.   Around 1989, Mr Kim Kincade, a solicitor, resident of Beechville and a member   of Loughgall Tennis Club persuaded the BBC that Loughgall was the perfect   setting for the play. His idea was taken up and the play was produced and   filmed with a well-known cast. Some of the local children from the Cope   School played minor parts. The play ended with a beautiful scenic shot as the   cast walked off at sunset towards the Manor House. Canon and Mrs Sowter would   have greatly enjoyed it had they lived to see it. The tennis courts have   recently been refurbished and now form a popular part of Loughgall Country   Park.
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