Brian (left in the image above) was born in Wellington (1947). At the age of 12, with his father and two younger brothers, they started playing table tennis in their garage. Later at age 14 he started playing table tennis at the nearby Northland Community Centre (Wellington). The same year (1961) Brian played A Reserve Grade table tennis for the Northland Club ( with Pat Williams, Colin Brydon and Phil Tessier). The team finished 2nd in the grade with 26 points. Just 2 points behind the winner, Municipal. Brian was a right handed attacking and counter-attacking player. His main weapon was his forehand heavy loop topspin shot.
The next year the team was promoted to the Wellington A Grade. Brian was to be in a A Grade team until he retires at the end of the 1975 season. In A Grade Brian played for Northland (1962-3), Onslow (1964-66), Kilbirnie RSA (1967-73), Kilbirnie United Eagles (1974) and Kilbirnie United (1975). He won the club singles at the Northland and Kilbirnie RSA Club. Kilbirnie RSA won the A Grade in 1971 (Brian Kennedy, Adrian Lust, John Woodcock) and 1973 (Richard Lee, Adrian Lust, Brian Kennedy, Lindsay Ward, Boris Halama). In 1974 Kilbirnie United Eagles (Brian Kennedy, Adrian Lust, Lindsay Ward, Warren Mak) won the A Grade.
Kilbirnie RSA ( R Lee, A Lust, B Kennedy) won the inaugural Rothmans National Club Team Competition in 1973, beating Canterbury University in the final 8-3 at Newtown Stadium, Wellington.. The players invested the $100 prize into the Wellington Association new stadium fund.
Brian first represented Wellington as a junior (1962-65). His first match in 1962 was for the Under 16 Wellington Boys team (with Bruce Young, Ken McNatty, Neil Langley) against Hutt Valley (lost 5-7). In the Junior Boys he was ranked 5th (1963) and 1st (1965). There was no Junior Boys ranking in the 1964 Wellington Annual Report. His brother Paul was also ranked in the Wellington Junior Boys. 10th (1965), 9th (1966) 7th (1967) and 2nd (1968). Brian won the 1963 Wellington Open Under 16 Boys Singles. In 1964 he won the Wellington Open Under 18 Boys Doubles and the Wellington Senior Secondary Schools Boys Doubles (both with Brian Gregory).
Brian was ranked on the Wellington Men’s List 10th (1966), 9th (1968), 6th (1969), 5th (1970, 2nd (1971 & 1972), 3rd (1973) and 1st (1974 & 1975). He was in the Wellington Men’s Team to the NZ Teams Competition (1970-75). The 1970 team was 6th in A Grade and lost the promotion/relegaton match to Northland 2-6 to be relegated from A Grade. His Wellington Team won B Grade in 1971 and lost the promotion/relegation match to Hutt Valley 1-5. In 1972 the team won B Grade and won the promotion/relegation match against Otago 6-0 to regain A Grade status. The team was in A Grade for the next 3 years when Brian was in the team. He was in the Wellington Team the won the Croudis Shield against Hutt Valley (1972 and 1973) and the Clapshaw Shield against Canterbury (1975). He was also in the Wellington Team that won the Lower North Island Teams Tournament (Hawera) in 1973 and 1975.
Wellington Men’s Team to New Zealand Inter-Association Team Championships.
1970 – R L (Ron) Foster, F R (Ray) Foster, Adrian Lust and B D (Brian) Kennedy.
1971 – F R (Ray) Foster (Captain), B D (Brian) Kennedy, B T (Barry) Cross, G R (Gary) Saunders.
1972 – Adrian Lust, B D (Brian) Kennedy, R L (Ron) Foster, G R (Gary) Saunders.
1973 – R E (Richard) Lee, Adrian Lust, B D (Brian) Kennedy, F R (Ray) Foster.
1974 – G R (Gary) Saunders (Captain), B D (Brian) Kennedy, Adrian Lust, Frank Beasley.
1975 – G R (Gary) Saunders (Captain), B D (Brian) Kennedy, K Y (Kai) Lai, R L (Ron) Foster.
Brian has won the following provincial Open Tournaments. 1969 North Taranaki Men’s Doubles with Adrian Lust. 1970 Nelson Men’s Singles. 1972 Manawatu Men’s Doubles with Adrian Lust. 1972 Kapiti Men’s Doubles with Frank Beasley.1972 Kapiti Mixed Doubles with Kay Kelly.1973 Wanganui Men’s Doubles with Adrian Lust.1974 Hutt Valley Men’s Doubles with Richard Lee (C). The 1973 and 1974 Wellington Men’s Singles and Doubles with Adrian Lust.
Brian also won the 1973 and 1974 New Zealand Catholic Men’s Singles and Doubles with Terry Murphy (HV). He served on the Wellington Table Tennis Association Committee (1970-75).
Brian’s Uncle H D (Harry) Kennedy (1906-1984) won the first ever Wellington Open Men’s Singles (1933). He also won the Men’s Doubles with C F (Charlie) Williams, the brother of Tommy Williams (Wellington Chairman 1934-1958, New Zealand Committee (1934, 1940, 1947-1965 including Chairman 1934, 1962-64), and the Mixed Doubles with L M (Leona) Sturrock in the tournament. Harry was also to win the Mixed Doubles with Leona in 1935 and 1941. Leona was later to be his wife in 1939. He was to win the first Wellington Veteran Singles (Over 45) in 1954. Harry with Charlie Williams were to win the first ever New Zealand Men’s Doubles (1934) defeating Errol Cheal/Hec Pyle (A/W) 21-15 15-21 21-16 21-17. He won the North Island Men’s Doubles in 1937 with C Burke and in 1938 with Laurie Wilson (W). Also the 1938 North Island Mixed Doubles with Leona Sturrock.
Harry Kennedy (A pen hold player) played for the Government Life Insurance Team (1933-35), Wellington Club (1936- 37) and Kilbirnie Club (1938 onwards). He was in the Team that won the Wellington A Grade (1933-34 and 1936-37). He was Captain of the Wellington Men’s Team (with M T J (Max) Gosling, Eric Boniface, W McFarlane, L M (Laurie) Wilson, J R Osbaldiston) that won the first New Zealand Inter-Provincial Men’s Teams Tournament (1940).
Harry was a foundation member of both the Wellington and New Zealand Table Tennis Associations. He was on the Wellington Committee (1933-36). He and Dave Hayvice (Wellington Secretary 1935-36) were elected the first Life Members of the Wellington Association at the 1937 AGM.
L M (Leona) Sturrock (1908-1993), won the first ever Wellington Open Women’s Singles in 1933 and retained the title in 1934. She won the Women Doubles (1933-1934 with Miss S Corbett, 1939-41 with Miss D R (Dawn) Croxton) and the Mixed Doubles with Harry Kennedy (1933, 1935, 1941). Leona won the 1940 NZ Women Doubles with Dawn Croxton by defeating May Wareham/M Johnston (W)21-19 21-16 and was runner up in the NZ Women Singles that year to Pat Valk (HV) who won 15-21 21-13 21-15. She was Captain of the Wellington Women’s Team (with Misses Dawn Croxton, May Wareham, M Johnston, A P (Agnes) Knight, J L (Joyce) Strange) that won the first New Zealand Inter-Provincial Women’s Team Tournament (1940). Leona played for the Government Life Insurance Club (1933-35), Wellington Club (1936-37), Technical Club (1938-41).
Brian was also a good tennis player. He was a baseline player. He played Number 1 or 2 for the Wellington Catholic Team/ (1969/70-1977/78) and St Pats Club (1978/79 to 1991/92) in the top Wellington Men’s Grade. The Wellington Catholic Men’s Team won the grade in 1974/75 and 1975/76. In his team was Kevin O’Carroll from a prominent Northland table tennis/tennis family. Kevin won the 1970 NZ Table Tennis Mixed Doubles with his sister Colleen. Brian represented the Wellington Men’s Team and also the New Zealand Catholic team against Queensland and Victoria. He won the St Pats Club Men’s Singles 5 times and the Wellington Catholic Men’s Singles 5 times. Also the Wellington Champions of Champions Singles (1981). Brian formed a successful veterans doubles combination with Gary Roselli, another former Wellington Table Tennis Representative (1958-61).
Brian stopped playing table tennis in his prime and switched to squash. He started off in squash graded C2 and reached B1. He won the Wellington B Grade Squash Singles in 1979. At squash tournaments play would finish about 7.30pm on a Saturday and there would be a few beers, a DJ, dancing and supper.
Brain stopped playing tennis and squash 6 years ago due to injuries. Several years ago he started playing occasional social table tennis again with some of his long-time tennis friends on a Saturday afternoon, after virtually not touching a bat for 42 years!
- Malcolm Wong
Thanks to information supplied from the Wellington Table Tennis Annual Reports, word documents from the late Ivan Houghton, Newspaper Clippings from the late Ken Wilkinson, National Library newspaper clippings, My Heritage website, the Table Tennis New Zealand website, Brian Kennedy and Adrian Lust