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17 July 2017
Meet one of the Queensland winners of our sports grant competition.
Travel five hours inland from Brisbane along the Warrego Highway and, with the right set of directions, you'll come across a small community with a big problem.
The isolated farming district of Noonga has gone tennis mad, and the local community association can't keep up.
Friday night rallies? That'll draw you a crowd bigger than Ben Hur. Championship matches? They'll start during the day and roll into the evening as the Federers and Djokovics of the Surat Basin vie for glory.
In fact, the tiny community of Noonga has one of the biggest tennis followings in the Maranoa region – coupled with 86 years of continuous history at the club.
It's the only place in the local area for children to play sport, so the junior coaching and tournament schedules play a vital role in the community's wellbeing.
And because neighbouring towns are too far away to make travel for after-school and weekend sport viable, the local residents and families need to make maximum use of its four courts.
That's why the Noonga Community Association used our national sports grants competition to shed light on an issue that's been kept in the dark.
"When the sun sets, we can’t keep matches running," says Polly Leahy, Secretary of the Noonga Community Association. "Installing new lights on our four tennis courts will mean that players can turn up at any time of the day or night."
So when the association asked for $10,000 in our sports grant competition, we decided to return serve and award them a win.
Needless to say, the residents of Noonga are already limbering up in excitement at the rallies to come.
"We are very grateful to Origin for this $10,000 grant," says Polly. "The new lighting will allow more people to use our facilities and we can continue to provide the local area with a friendly, safe and fun place to connect."
So for this close-knit community and their tennis-loving residents, the ball's in their court when it comes to night time tournaments. Now to hunt down those driving directions before the next Friday night rally…