On-court battles turned into firm friendship

Friendly foes.

Bill Werry and Neil Tulloch first crossed paths at the Masters Games eight years ago, when the squash players battled on the court.

That chance encounter has created a friendship the pair cherish fondly, catching up at every Games and still facing each other on the court.

"We welcome each other like long-lost friends every time", Werry said.

"Neil’s a lot better than me, but he plays a good game accordingly."

Tulloch, 70, of Auckland, and Werry, 85, of Upper Hutt, hit the court in the men’s over-70s grade, winning silver and bronze respectively, and Werry also picked up gold in the over-80s grade.

But it was more about their friendship — they chat away on the court — instead of medals, or being at their best.

"We always play against each other. We always have a beer and a good chat afterwards", Tulloch said.

Bill Werry (left) and Neil Tulloch have become great mates through playing squash at the Masters...
Bill Werry (left) and Neil Tulloch have become great mates through playing squash at the Masters Games. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Werry has been playing in the Masters Games for more than 30 years, saying playing at the Games kept him young.

"I’m out here, mixing with young people, mixing with everyone and that’s the main reason I come.

"My squash isn’t the best, but my main aim is to just have fun with people.

"I strongly suggest if more people did it, we’d have a better world."

It helped the Masters Games gave him a good excuse to visit "lovely Dunedin", he said.

Tulloch was much the same. He loved visiting Dunedin, and started playing squash through his wife, Janine, who also played at the Games.

They also took part in the Twilight 400 and Werry was out on the golf course this week as well.