Gary was born in Westport, the youngest of 3 boys. His oldest brother was Peter followed by Leon. He went to Westport North Primary School and Westport Techical High School (now Buller High School). After school he began his pharmacy studies. He was good at sports, especially table tennis and tennis, where he was a junior/senior West Coast Representative.
In 1948 he played a match against former world champion Michael (Miklos)Szabados in Westport and in 1949 played against fomerly World Champion Victor Barna in Westport.
Gary won the West Coast Open Boys Singles (1948,1949 & 1951), Men’s Singles (1953) Men’s Doubles (1951& 1953 with John Allan) and Mixed Doubles (1953 with Miss B Walsh). The Buller Open Men’s Singles (1953 & 1954), Men’s Doubles (1953 with J Allan) and Mixed Doubles (1954 with V Walker). Also the 1954 Buller Closed Men’singles and Mixed Doubles with Miss K Mooney. There was no Buller Open (1950-52) and the 1954 West Coast Open results were not received by Table Tennis NZ.
In 1955 Gary moved to Wellington and worked in 2 pharmacies in the city before moving to High Street, Lower Hutt (1961) where he remained until he retired. He joined the Onslow Table Tennis Club. He won the Onslow Club Singles Champion 3 times (1959-61) and also won the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles 3 times. The Men’s Doubles was won in 1960 & 1961 with Rudd Taylor and in 1962 with Ivan Houghton. The Mixed Doubles was won in 1959 with his then wife Margaret Roselli and in 1960-61 with Madeline Hooker.
He played Wellington A Grade for Onslow. The team finished 5th (1957) 5th (1958), 4th (1959), 2nd (1958), 4th (1959), 2nd (1960) 5th (1961) and 2nd ( 1962).
Gary won reached the Quarter Finals of the 1958 NZ Men’s Singles, beating the 8th seed George Smith (Auckland) and Ron Foster (Otago) before losing to the winner Bob Jackson (Auckland). He was ranked Number 9 on the NZ Men’s Ranking List that year. In 1959 He won the Hutt Valley Open Men’s Singles defeating John Crossley (Wgtn) 3-2 (21-23 21-14 15-21 21-19 21-17). In the 1959 North Island Men’s Doubles Final Gary and Roy Lea (Wgtn) lost to Murray Dunn/John Crossley (Wgtn) 0-3 ( 15-21 19-21 19-21). In 1961he won the Hutt Valley Open Mixed Doubles with Val Smythe (Wgtn).
Gary was ranked on the Wellington Men’s ranking list 6 times (1957 (9) 1958 (3) 1959 (3) 1960 (3) 1961 (2) and 1962 (6). He was selected in the Wellington Men’s Team to the NZ Championships (1958-61). In 1958 Wellington were runner up to Auckland with their match tied at 6-6 (Auckland winning on games 15-13). Wellington were again runner ups in 1959 losing to Auckland 0-12. In 1961 Wellington ( Murray Dunn (Captain, Geoff Jennings, Gary Roselli, John Crossley, Mike Beder) won the Kean Shield ( NZ A Grade Men’s Team) winning all 5 matches including beating Auckland 9-3 in the final.
Gary was in a Wellington Team that won the Croudis Shield against Hutt Valley (1958 17-11 1959 16-10 1960 score not in annual report 1961 19-9). The Claphaw Trophy against Canterbury was won in 1958 22-6 and 1961 15-13. The Gordon Cup against Auckland was won in 1961 at Taumarunui 18-10 which was the last time the Cup was completed for. He was in the Wellington team that beat Wairarapa 1958 12-0 and 1961 32-16. In 1958 he was in the Wellington Men’s Team that beat NZ University 11-1.
Gary later played for the Empire Club and was mainly a reserve for the top team in A Grade interclub (1965-76). He played 4 matches (won 10 lost 2) for the 1972 Empire A Grade No 1 Team (with Hone Ridley, Warren Evans and Keith Pointon) which won the Hutt Valley A Grade. He was in the 1973 A Grade Team (with Hone Ridley and Pat Low) that won the Hutt Valley A Grade where he won 23 out of 36 matches. 1981 was his last year of interclub for Empire for the A Reserve No 1 Team (with Tony Rutledge, Keith Pointon and Merv Allardyce) which finished 3rd.
In Tennis Gary was a Life Member of the Avalon Tennis Club. He won 5 NZ Veterans Men’s Doubles and 4 NZ Veterans Mixed Doubles Titles. They were:
1985 NZ Over 50 Men’s Doubles with Ivan Easton
1986 NZ Over 50 men’s Doubles with Geoff Lankow
1993 NZ Over 55 Men’s Doublies with Viv Hargreaves
2000 NZ Over 65 Men’s Doubles with Tom Wotherspoon
2001 NZ Over 65 Men’s Doubles with Tom Wotherspoon
1993 NZ Over 55 Mixed Doubles with Mary Ryan
1995 NZ Over 60 Mixed Doubles with Ann Stephens
1997 NZ Over 60 Mixed Doubles with Mary Ryan
2000 NZ Over 65 Mixed Doubles with Jean Stevens
In 1990 Gary with Geoff Lankow were runner up in Australian Over 55 Men’s Doubles
Gary represented NZ in the following Veterans teams tournaments overseas
1994 Men’s Over 60 – Von Cramm Cup, Florida USA with Larry O’Neill & Russell Blewden
1995 Men’s Over 60 – Von Cramm Cup, Portschach Austria with Don Tayor & Larry O’Neill
1998 Men’s Over 60 – Von Cramm Cup , Fort Lauderdale, USA with Larry O’Neill, Don Taylor & John Hempsted
1999 Men’s Over 65 – Britannia Cup, Costa Brava Spain with Larry O’Neill & Don Taylor
Information for this article came from Peter Roselli (details on Gary before his move to Wellington) , National Library site, Wellington Table Tennis Annual Reports, Onslow Table Tennis Club records, Table Tennis NZ Website, Table Tennis Review (July & Aug 1959), Avalon Tennis Annual Report. NZ Tennis Seniors website and Tennis Seniors Australia website.
– Malcolm Wong