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Semi Finals Preview - 19/3/11

Written by Leon Retallick
Friday 18th March, 2011

The Bendigo Tennis Association hits week one of the Saturday senior pennant finals today.  With 2 qualifying finals being played in Premier League and Section 2, six teams will have the opportunity to win through to the Grand Final.  In Premier League action Bendigo Lawn National and Spring Gully Brougham Arms will renew hostilities in what promises to be a fierce clash.

Premier League

Qualifying Final - Bendigo Lawn Nationalv Spring Gully Brougham Arms @ BBTC Courts 1, 6 & 7

The Premier League qualifying final sees a rematch between last years Qualifying Final, with Bendigo Lawn National and Spring Gully Brougham Arms.  Both teams have had terrific seasons, finishing 1 & 2 for the third consecutive season.

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 Bronwyn Osborne.  Emergency's: Lynda Gallagher & 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

The ledger between the teams rests with Bendigo Lawn National holding a 2/1 lead in matches this year, with one match washed out due to the weather.  With 7-5 results each time, this match shold be a cracker

Key Players:
Curt Garwood (Lawn) - Garwood is the key in the Lawn make up, combining well with partners Ward Garwood and Tamara Wright in doubles and is virtually unstoppable in the singles.  Having dropped only 1 set for the season, in a doubles match against this weeks opponents Jamie Brown and Travis Toner, Garwood is no doubt the region's premier player.

Mandy Connors-Butson (Lawn) - Connors-Butson has reinvented herself in the no 2 spot and is yet to be beaten in singles in that position this year.  She and partner Tamara Wright have been inconsistent in their doubles appearances, however, have shown enough to trouble any doubles pair.  Will have her work cut out again today against the tenacious Bronwyn Osborne.

Jessica Hartland (Broughie) (pictured)
- 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.  This year however, there has been a new breed of challenges, with Eliza Long, Ashlea Baker and Rebecca Tweed, on the heals of the competition barometer.  Hartland will need a big performance if she is to turn the tied of Lawn wins over her beloved Brougham Arms

Craig Nolan (Broughie) - Craig was recruited to the Broughie team for the sole reason of winning finals, and specifically to defeat Bendigo Lawn National.  Nolan has been a great inclusion for the Broughie, only dropping 8 of 33 sets played for the year.  Whilst Craig's intensity is a feature of his game, it can also become his undoing.  He will need partners Andrew Lethlean and Travis Toner to keep him in check, to ensure his best foot will be put forward.

Why Lawn will win! 
Bendigo Lawn have been the most consistent team for the year, finishing on top of the ladder following the home and away matches.  With captain Curt Garwood, Ward Garwood and Mandy Connors-Butson at the forefront of the team, they will always be a challenge for any side.  Add to this the good support from Alistair Baker, Nick Bath, and Tamara Wright and you have all the ingredients of a premiership wining team.

Why Broughie will win!
The Broughie are desperate to try to make an indent in the seemingly impenetrable Lawn armory.  Having been beaten by their arch rivals in 2 grand finals, and last years Qualifying Final, the Broughie have all the motivation to come out with a big performance.  With Craig Nolan and Andrew Lethlean as new inclusions in last years sides, perhaps it will be in the 3 & 4 men, where the Broughie can do the most damage..

Elimination Final - Bendigo Lawn Bolton's v South Bendigo @ BBTC Courts 2, 8 & 9

This years Elimination Final sees 3rd placed Bendigo Lawn Bolton's take on 4th spot South Bendigo.  With both teams desperate not to be eliminated week one of the finals, expect a fierce clash between two of Premier Leagues most competitive teams.

Bendigo Lawn Bolton's - Leroy Miller (pictured), Terry Smith, Michael Smyth, Dean Harris, Rebecca Tweed and Tova Penno.  Emergency's: Daniel Watson and Michelle Rodwell.

South Bendigo - Pat McMillian, Frank Ryan, Grant Leader, Simon Kelly, Ashlea Baker and Alyssa Cole. Emergency's: Michael Nhill and Maxine Everitt. 

This Season:
Rd 3: Bendigo Lawn Bolton's 12 sets 96 games def South Bendigo 0 sets 31 games
Rd 8: Wash out
Rd 13: South Bendigo 7 sets 83 games def Bendigo Lawn Boltons 5 sets 82 games
Rd 18: Bendigo Lawn Bolton's 7 sets 85 games def South Bendigo 5 sets 64 games

Bendigo Lawn Bolton's take the edge into their finals match, winning 2 of the 3 battles between the sides this year, and more importantly their last match in round 18, where the side had a comfortable 21 game victory.

Key Players:
Leroy Miller (Lawn Boltons) - Miller has had a fantastic season for the Lawn Bolton's team, with only 10 sets lost in 30 outings this year.  His singles has been flawless, only losing 2 matches to league no 1 Curt Garwood, and has combined well with Terry Smith and Michael Smyth in the opening doubles.  With South not having any genuine match up for Miller, the young gun might prove the difference in the teams.

Rebecca Tweed (Lawn Bolton's)
- Tweed has been a revelation, since returning to Bendigo Tennis after a 8 year absence from the game.  Whilst she has combined well with both Tova Penno and Michelle Rodwell in the doubles, her real strength has been in singles where she has been able to work her opponents around the court.  May find the going tough against South's Ashlea Baker, however, will always give 110%.

Frank Ryan (South) - Ryan has been the pick of the South men this year, dropping only 9 of 31 sets for the season.  There has never been a question over Frank's ability, but has often let himself down through poor preparation and application.  Ryan however, seems to have rejuvenated his love for tennis this year and will no doubt be at his best this week.

Ashlea Baker (South) - Ashlea has't had the greatest of season's since returning from College Tennis in the US, however, will no doubt be set for a big finals series.  Baker has struggled against premier leagues strongest women, including Eliza Long and Jessica Hartland, however has played well against this week's opponents Rebecca Tweed and Tova Penno.   Will need to win her share of matches today for South to be a chance. 

Why Lawn Bolton's will Will!
To put it simply, they are a better team.  When they have had their best team on the park, including Leroy Miller, Terry Smith and Michael Smyth, the Bolton's team have troubled premier league's best.  South Bendigo will be but an obstical for Bolton's on the path to bigger and better things.

Why South will Win!
South might lack the gun players, but have always presented a gun team.  There ladies pairing of Ashlea Baker and Alyssa Cole (pictured) have the ability to win their share of sets, and could give South a big chances at the mixed.  With Grant Leader and Simon Kelly also keen to do well, South may just sneak enough sets to snare a win.

Section 2
Qualifying Final - BLTC Stoser v Spring Gully Sensation @ BBTC Courts 16 & 17
Elimination Final - Epsom DCK's v Spring Gully Racqueteers @ BBTC Courts 18 & 19