All players revelled in the opportunity to play in fine weather as the rain stayed away and the sun came out. As the season winds towards the Christmas break the chance to settle a few scores, flex the muscles and set a position prior to returning next year in what could be a different set of circumstances.
The Mount Gambier juggernaught sits atop of the table beckoning the rest that wish to knock them off the perch. West sits second and will do anything to defeat their cross town rivals. Glencoe and Uniting scrabble below them trading blows but also slowly building in preparation for what may come.
As the weather finally starts to warm up, so does the tennis. The Australian Open is not far off as the best in the world will grace our shores and hopefully inspire more to grab a racquet and play.
A1- Kia Cup
Glencoe 7-81 Def Uniting Church 5-74
There were four amazing sets of tennis that were played among the meadows at Glencoe. Even the cows in the neighbouring paddocks stopped chewing their cuds to watch on.
Chloe Watson and Vanessa Maxwell spent a fair portion of the afternoon exchanging blows in a shot for shot match. In the marathon event Maxwell finally won the set 9-8 with a very close tie breaker deciding the result. Both girls were spent and as they both contemplated their game after the event both knew that tennis certainly was the winner in a fantastic display of serve and baseline tennis.
A “cracker of a game” was witnessed by all those in attendance between young Brad Mitchell and Ian Hopes, both of whom have had not very much luck on the court this season. Each of them both knowing of the opportunity to come out a winner they too went point for point, not giving an inch in again a great display of desperation and shot making. Mitchell got the early break and was up 8-2, Hopes then dug in and won 5 games in a row breaking Mitchells serve a couple of times to get to 8-7. With Dad standing in the sidelines it was going to be Mitchells day and he just managed to get over a gallant Hopes winning the last game and taking the set 9-7
The third battle worthy of a mention was the starter for the day with youth versus experience. Matthew Stark, who is very early in his A1 experience, was up against the consistency of Craig Childs. Both players know what’s needed but it’s usually the elder that tends to make the younger players make the shots and unforced errors. Stark can hold his head up high and this will truly be a game that can turn his fortunes around. He managed to maintain composure against all that Childs threw at him and won 9-6.
In the final notable tussle and possibly a first, the Association treasurer, Peter Mitchell, answered the call and after a lengthy absence from the game decided that he could help Glencoe out and played in the doubles with his son. The Mitchells were up against a determined Stark and Denis Mathews. Peter and Denis have been old adversaries from way back and even team mates. With the air so thick with tension you could cut it with a knife, the match commenced. The dream was realised as they managed to stop Stark and Matthews from ruining the day winning 9-7. Although they may never play together again, the Mitchell household will certainly have something to discuss at the Christmas table for many years to come.
The Edwards and Watson girls, with young Maddy Watson improving to get over Julie Oldfield in the singles, managed to finish off the fairytale day for Glencoe giving them the two sets required to take home the chocolates.
Mount Gambier 7-76 def West Gambier 5-77
It was a packed house at the Mount Gambier Tennis Club with 4 grades playing on the courts. KIA’s were on display and the players relished the shade and grassy knolls around the courts to watch another great display of tennis.
The Mount Gambier men had to play extremely well to stave off a determined West Gambier. Eddie Cook, with mum sitting on the bleachers, hands clasped tightly, hardly able to contain her excitement as her son managed to win over Felix Kacirek 9-7. Paul Griffin, in one of his last games for the club, also had to work hard to overcome a resurgent Ross Bushell. Griffin was pushed all the way and won just 9-6 with Bushell, although disappointed with the loss, happy knowing that he is not far from beating one of the top players in the competition.
With all the Mount boys winning, the West girls decided to up the ante. Wendy Cook was up against the very competitive of Heidi Heemskerk in what was the match of the day. Both ladies were not giving an inch. Cook held Heemskerk at each change played some great cross court shots that were just out of heemskerks reach to take the set 9-7. At the completion of the singles West were up and about with a handy 10 game lead. Helen Kentish and Gabby Hinge were no match for a powerful Joanne Seally and Alice Suve that got West off to the start in the doubles they needed, Brock Egan drawing on the Milstead genes with Cook did not even give Jonathon Bruhn and Kacirek a sniff to level the set scores again.
Renae Cameron has had a tough time this year but with Heemskerk matched up well to put Gambier ahead winning over Cook and Kirilli Cornollo 9-4.
It all came down to the last doubles match and the battle between the top men in the association.
Griffin and Van Den Hurk certainly knew what the result could be as West had plenty of games should the sets be tied. Bushell and Jolley also knew what they were up against and this could be the chance they needed to knock off the top team and put a scare in the Gambier camp.
Although they played some brilliant tennis, the pairing of Griffin and Van Den Hurk broke their serve and that was enough to get Gambier over the line.
West must be confident that come the new year they are certainly around the mark and have every chance to beat Mount Gambier come finals.