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Grand Final - Wrap- Monday 4th April, 2011

Written by Leon Retallick

Bendigo Lawn National are the toast of Bendigo Tennis following a convincing victory over a gallant Spring Gully Brougham Arms, 8 set 78 games to 4 sets 56 games, to take the 2010/11 Premier League Premiership. The win marks the teams 3rd straight title, a record for the premier league format which is now in its 11th season.

For several of the Lawn players, including Curt and Ward Garwood, along with Nick Bath it is their 4th straight finals win, with the trio part of the Strath Park Storm winning team in 2007/08.

The Section 2 battle was a lot closer race, with the match coming down to a cliff-hanger mixed, where the experienced Spring Gully Racqueteers players were able to withstand a strong challenge from their younger Bendigo Lawn Stoser opponents, to snare a 4 game victory, 5 sets 70 games to 5 sets 66 games.

Bendigo Lawn National 8 sets 78 games def Spring Gully Brougham Arms 4 sets 56 games

The seen was set for a cracking final in Premier League, with both teams going in unchanged from the Semi Final’s clash 2 weeks ago, where National held off their rivals to win by just 4 games.

The opening doubles matches were tipped to be close, with the National striking first through Alistair Baker and Nick Bath. In an unexpected result, the National pair played classic doubles to overcome Andrew Lethlean and Craig Nolan 8/4, in a reversal of the pairs Semi Final score line.

The win was the perfect opening for the reigning premiers and was quickly followed up by the Garwood brothers, Curt and Ward, who again proved too strong for Jamie Brown and Travis Toner 8/5.

Attention turned to the ladies doubles, where Tamara Wright and Mandy Connors-Butson (pictured) were successful in mounting a strong comeback, to upset the Broughies Jessica Hartland and Bronwyn Osborne 8/5.

It was the perfect opening for the Lawn’s premiership defence and soon got better with Curt Garwood playing superb finals tennis to dismantle Broughie skipper Jamie Brown 8/0 in quick time.

But the surprise of the day came in the ladies no 1 singles, when Lawn’s Tamara Wright played the tennis of her career to lead the competition benchmark Jessica Hartland 7/1. To Hartland’s credit, she fought tooth and nail to the end, but couldn’t peg back such a huge lead, eventually going down to Wright for the first time in their many meetings 8/5.

With the Broughie down 5/0 and on the verge of defeat, the team rallied, with singles wins to Travis Toner 8/4 over Ward Garwood, and a pair of 8/3’s to Craig Nolan and Andrew Lethlean over Alistair Baker and Nick Bath respectively.

The second ladies singles was the last of the individual sets on the court, with Mandy Connors-Butson having too many options of attack for Bronwyn Osborne to win 8/0, giving the Lawn a 3 sets lead at the mixed.

With the Broughie needing a miracle to close the huge 17 game gap, the teams took to the court for the last 3 sets of the 2010/11 season.

For the Lawn, it wouldn’t take long for the celebrations to begin, with Curt Garwood (pictured) fittingly combining with Tamara Wright to win their mixed set 8/1 over Brown and Hartland, giving the team its 7th set of the day and a 3rd straight premiership.

Nick Bath and Mandy Connors-Butson iced the win for the Lawn National, in defeating Andrew Lethlean and Bronwyn Osborne 8/4.

Craig Nolan and Travis Toner combined well to again defeat Ward Garwood and Alistair Baker, however, it was all too late, as the Lawn team began celebrations.

Mayor Rod Fyffe and BTA President Michael Smyth were on hand to present the teams their winners and runners up trophies, along with $1500 prize money to the two finalist teams.

Curt Garwood and Jessica Hartland capped off their stellar individual season in being crowned as the competition’s man and women Most Valuable Player respectively.

Spring Gully Racqueteers 5 sets 70 games def Bendigo Lawn Stoser 5 set 66 games

Spring Gully Racqueteers capped off a stellar finals campaign in recording their 3rd straight finals win by just 4 games, to capture the 2010/11 Section 2 premiership. The Racqueteers who finished the home and away season in 4th position won their 3 finals matches by 1, 6 and 4 games respectively, to be the first team in memory to win from 4th spot for some years.

The experienced Racqueteers started strongly, with Jacob Grevies and Narelle McPhee overcoming young guns Ryan Lethlean and Lani Hamilton in singles 8/5 and 8/4 respectively.

The doubles pairs then hit the courts, with the Racqueteers extending their lead through Simon Wood and Colin Green, over Andrew Harrison and Jayden Baber 8/6. Before Lawn Stoser finally opened their account in the ladies doubles, through Carmel Harrison and Ashlea Jenkin 8/5 over Jacqui Penbrook and Alison Lugg.

The 2nd and 3rd mens doubles both went the way of Stoser 9/7 and 8/4, to level the scores 3 sets each.

Whilst the men finished off their doubles sets, the ladies were locked in a close battle with Carmel Harrison and Lani Hamilton holding off Narelle McPhee and Jacqui Penbrook 9/8 in a match which went for almost 2 hours.

The Racqueteers were able to hit back in the final ladies doubles, with McPhee and Lugg combining to beat Hamilton and Jenkyn 8/5, giving the Racqueteers a 2 game lead at the mixed.

With the Premier league match well and finished, the section 2 mixed hit the court at 6.00pm to decide who would be the champion team.

Simon Wood and Jacqui Penbrook were the first pairing to finish, defeating Andrew Harrison and Ashley Jenkyn 8/4 to give the team an 8 game margin. With the last mixed at 6/4 in favour of the Stoser team, the Racqueteers had enough games in the bank to take the win.

Best players for the winners included Simon Wood and Jacqui Penbrook, both whom won 2 of their 3 sets.