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Grand Final - Week 3 - Saturday 2nd April, 2011

Written by Leon Retallick
Bendigo Lawn National will have the opportunity to score a hat-trick of premierships at the Bendigo Bank Tennis Complex from 1pm Saturday, when they take on arch rivals Spring Gully Brougham Arms in the 2010/11 BTA Premier League Grand Final.  And if their Semi Final encounter two weeks ago is anything to go by, this should be an absolute cracker, with only 4 games separating the teams in their last fiery clash.

In Section 2 Bendigo Lawn Stoser will also be defending a premiership title, this time against Spring Gully Racqueteers.  Stoser have been the stand out team for the year, with only 1 loss for the season.  However, following two tight finals wins, the Racqueteers will be hoping their experience can counter the youthful exuberance of their opposition.

Bendigo Lawn National v Spring Gully Brougham Arms @ BBTC crts 1, 6 & 7.

Bendigo Lawn National have been the supreme team of the Sportspower backed Premier League for the past 3 seasons and will be desperate to etch their names again on the BTA Premier League trophy.  The core of the side have been together for several years now, and with the inclusions of Alistair Baker, Sam Storer and Tom Metherall, the team seem to get better each and every year.

Bendigo Lawn National: Curt Garwood (pictured), Ward Garwood, Alistair Baker, Nick Bath, Mandy Connors-Butson and Tamara Wright.  Emergency's: Tom Metherall & Sam Storer

Spring Gully Brougham Arms:
Jamie Brown, Travis Toner, Andrew Lethlean, Craig Nolan, Jessica Hartland and Lynda Gallagher.  Emergency's: Bronwyn Osborne & Pete Valentine.

This Season:

Rd 2: Bendigo Lawn National 2 sets 29 Games ma Spring Gully Brougham Arms 2 sets 32 (Match Abandoned)
Rd 7: Spring Gully Brougham Arms 7 sets 65 Games def Bendigo Lawn National 5 Sets 59 Games
Rd 12: Bendigo Lawn National 7 sets 82 Games def Spring Gully Brougham Arms 5 sets 61 Games
Rd 17: Bendigo Lawn National 7 sets 86 games def Spring Gully Brougham Arms 5 sets 68 games
Semi Finals: Bendigo Lawn National 6 sets 72 def Spring Gully Brougham Arms 6 sets 67 games.

Head to head in 2010/11 gives the Lawn National team a 3/1 lead, with their first meeting abandoned due to rain.  However, in the pairs last meeting, in the first semi final, the match rested on a knife's edge, with but 4 games splitting the teams after the last ball was hit.

Bendigo Lawn National: 

Curt Garwood (pictured) - Players stats #1 521.5% - 40 sets for 1 set against
T
he no 1 ranked player in the competition and one of the key contributing reasons that the Lawn are widely tipped to take out the final.  Curt's rock solid ground strokes and never say die attitude draw comparisons with Australia's great Davis Cup champion Lleyton Hewitt.  He is almost a certainty to win his 3 sets for the day and will look to crush his unfortunate opponent in the singles.

Ward Garwood - Players stats #5 187.2% - 25 sets for 9 set against
Ward has a completely different game to his younger brother and relies on his powerful serve and ground strokes to get the job done.  His win over Broughie captain Jamie Brown in the Semi Finals was a classic display and will leave him in good stead for this weeks battle.  

Alistair Baker- Players stats #22 118.1% - 13 sets for 10 set against
Baker is the only change in the Lawn team from last year's premiers, replacing the departed Leroy Miller.  He has commanded the no 3 position in his side and combines well in the men's doubles with partners Nick Bath and Ward Garwood.  Baker had good success in the singles against Craig Nolan in the Semi Finals, which will give him confidence for this weeks clash.

Nick Bath - Players stats #10 145.8% - 19 sets for 10 set against
Another of the Lawn's dual grand finalist winners, Bath has become know as the Grand Final's specialist with his heroics in the past 2 Finals.  He will need to improve on his Semi Final effort two weeks ago, where he was towled up by Broughies Andrew Lethelan in all 3 sets.

Tamara Wright - Players stats #32 96.6% - 18 sets for 18 set against
Wright has had an up and down year, with inconsistent patches in form no doubt frustrating the Lawn's no 1 woman.  Here doubles matches with Mandy Connors-Butson and Curt Garwood in the mixed have been solid of recent weeks, however, she has struggled against the leagues best in the singles.  Tamara will again have a tough afternoon against Broughie's Jessica Hartland, but must find a way to win a few games in the singles against Regional Victoria's best female player.

Mandy Connors-Butson - Players stats #8 161.7% - 21 sets for 10 set against
Connors-Butson remains as one of the premier ladies in Premier league and a big reason as to why the Lawn enter another Grand Final as hot favorites.  Whilst she hasn't carried the same singles form against some of her younger opponents this season, her doubles has continued to be a real feature. 

Spring Gully Brougham Arms:

Jamie Brown - Players stats #37 89.9% - 17 sets for 20 set against
Jamie Brown has been one of the great warriors of Bendigo Tennis for some 20 plus years now.  This weeks match marks Brown's 5th Grand Final appearance of the past 6 years and he will be desperate to reclaim the trophie which he won in 2005/06 and 2006/07.  Brown will leave nothing on the court against his arch rivals the Garwood brothers, and hope with support his team can get the job done.

Travis Toner - Players stats #19 126.7% - 20 sets for 13 set against
Toner has been an ever reliable no 2 for the past 3 years for the Spring Gully team.  He combines well with Brown and Baker in the doubles, and provides serviceable results in the singles. Toner will need to be at his best against foe Ward Garwood, who has had the better of the pairs battles of late.

Andrew Lethlean - Players stats #11 145.0% - 22 sets for 11 set against
Lethlean could prove his weight in gold today, having a stellar finals series, where he is yet to drop a set in 6 matches.  Lethlean combines beautifully with Craig Nolan in the men's doubles and Brownyn Osborne and Lynda Gallagher in the 2nd mixed.  If Andrew can win all 3 sets again today, not only will he be the Finals MVP for 2010/11, but he will go a long way to giving the Broughie a win on the day.

Craig Nolan -
Players stats #4 207.3% - 28 sets for 8 set against
Nolan's charismatic performances are often a barometer of the Broughies overall perforamce.  If Craig is a winner on the day, the team is often a winner.  Played well in the teams last battle winning 2 of his 3 sets, however his singles loss to Alistair Baker after leading 6-3 was disappointing.  Will be hoping a match up against Nick Bath can lead to a stronger performance.

Jessica Hartland (pictured) - Players stats #3 270..5% - 27 sets for 6 set against
Jessica has been the heart and sole of the Broughie team for several years now and has become accustomed to leading her team to victory.  Following last weeks passing of her Father, BTA stalwart Geoff Hartland, Jessica will no doubt be fired up to snare a win in his honour.

Lynda Gallagher - Players stats #36 91.1% - 18 sets for 19 set against
Gallagher has been a solid contributor to her team this year, especially in the doubles where she has combined well with Hartland and Lethlean.  Lynda will have a big job today in curbing the influence of Mandy Connors-Butson, a player who has had the better of there recent battles.

Why Lawn will Win!

Lawn National have been the superior team for 3 season of Bendigo Tennis now.  The men's line up is as good as anywhere in regional Australia, with their women providing terrific support.  The Garwood brothers have dropped only 10 of 65 sets sets between them this season, providing an ominous omen for this weeks match.  Combined with the solid form of Alistair Baker, Nick Bath, Mandy Connors-Butson and Tamara Wright and you have all the combination of a premiership winning team.

Why Broughie will Win!

The Broughie threw everything but the kitchen sink against the the Lawn National two weeks ago, but came up 4 games short.  However, with serveral close sets, which could have gone either way, the Broughie know's it has what it takes to dethrown the champs of Bendigo Tennis.  If they can get the right match ups at 3 and 4 men especially, the Broughie may again be the King's of Bendigo Tennis.

Section 2:

Bendigo Lawn Stoser v Spring Gully Racqueteers @ BBTC Crts 2 & 8

Bendigo Lawn Stoser  also have the opportunity to go back-to-back, when they look to defend their section 2 crown against the dangerous Spring Gully Racqueteers. 

Bendigo Lawn Stoser - Jayden Baber, Andrew Harrison, Ryan Lethlean, Blake Poyser, Carmel Harrison, Kerry Baber, Ashlea Jenkyn and Lani Hamilton.

Spring Gully Racqueteers: Jacob Greves, Matthew Collins, Simon Wood, Bruce Carpenter, Colin Green, Jackie Pembroke, Narelle McPhee, Deb Simmonds, Linda Miller and Alison Lugg.

Bendigo Lawn Stoser and Spring Gully Racqueteers have only met once this year in round 9, with Lawn Stoser taking the win 6 sets to 4, but with only a 4 games separating the teams.   Both sides will be fired up for what should be a close encounter.