The Border Watch : January 10th 2014
32 TENNIS Time to resume TIM DRIVER TIM DRIVER AFTER the Christmas-New Year break, a large number of Mount Gambier and District Tennis Association players will be itching to get back onto the courts. The A1 KIA Cup returns tonight under lights at Olympic Park from 6pm. As a prelude to the upcoming Australian Open, those that want to see some classy tennis, make your way down to the Margaret Street Courts, you will not be disappointed. There will be the KIA net signs and some brilliant tennis played to add to the excitement. Mount Gambier will play against a determined West Gambier and an improving Uniting Church plays the young Glencoe side. The make-up of some of the teams may be different due to player movement but all of the clubs will want to get their best eight players ready to start and settle down and prepare for the fi nals in March. A contingency of players have returned from Adelaide representing the MGDTA after trying their skills against the best in the state in the Country Carnival. A lot of the association players will also be trying their hand at the up-and-coming association tournament to see who are the best men, women and doubles combinations in early February. So how will the teams make up be and what are the aspirations come fi nals time? Who will gain the spoils and who will be wondering “what if” at the end of the season? Mount Gambier ON form, Mount Gambier is certainly the favourite this season. The mix of youth and experience has certainly shone. Paul Griffi n and Andrew Van den Hurk have led the men’s side with great support from a dominant Brock Egan and Eddie Cook. In the women’s, Heidi Heemskerk has been the consistent performer, maintaining a healthy average and winning her share of matches to keep the Blues on top. This will need to continue and the other women in the team will need to lift to help her out as the season edges closer to the fi nals. The mix of the team will be challenged as Paul Griffi n and Helen Kentish have left Mount Gambier for Adelaide for business and family reasons. This is a big hole to fi ll and it will be interesting to see who will fi ll the void. Robert Attiwill or the two new boys from Mount Schank in Drew Pitson or Craig Nesbit would be capable, as is Travis Roach or Gary Jones from the A2 ranks. In the girls, Chelsea McKinnon, Jodie Carey or the young Lacey Burston have certainly impressed with their recent performances in the top grade and in the A2 teams to be rightfully selected. The next eight weeks will certainly be full of headaches for the selectors at Mount Gambier as they try to pick strong teams and maintain the balance and camaraderie that exists at the club. VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Calling all tennis players to get over the better players. Denis Mathews is an example of this. As the elder player in the competition he has the knowledge and know-how and if he can pass that on to the younger players like Matthew Stark, the team will certainly benefi t. Rowan Williamson and Stephen Tomkins are Uniting’s stand-outs this season with neither dropping a set. The men cannot do it alone however. Unfortunately the women’s strength doesn’t match the men and this is where the main difference is between Uniting and the top two sides. Vanessa Maxwell and Karen Mitchell are the best performers that have had a reasonable season so far, but they still need more to push the likes of Gambier and West. Stranger things have happened and fi nals are a different game as expectation and capabilities sometimes get mixed up. Uniting has the players in the club to be contenders. EYE TO THE FUTURE: Glencoe Tennis Club see Chloe Watson as a long time A1 player. Desire to play at the top level and succeed with some good recruiting will see Uniting Church do well. Glencoe A REBUILDING phase is in place at Glencoe at present and this needs to be carefully managed as the team is made up of a lot of young players, that if not looked after could tire of the losses. Some quality is certainly there and will be seen in seasons to come as the Glencoe youngsters mature and develop. Glencoe may snatch a victory here and there, but generally will struggle against the top order teams. With this in mind, the players can learn a lot from the opposition that they come up against. Dylan Childs and Bradley Mitchell are young for A grade, but extremely determined players. They have the shots in their repertoire and are good enough to play at the top level. They have played some great matches against the best in the association and will gain respect in the next few years. The women at Glencoe are young and exciting to watch. Chloe and Madeline Watson will develop and improve, as will Cassie, Laura and Ashlea Edwards in the coming seasons. SHINING LIGHT: Bradley Mitchell is quickly forging a strong reputation in Mount Gambier A1 tennis. West Gambier WEST Gambier is in the box seat. As they watch Gambier possibly implode from the loss of the above mentioned players, they could score back-to-back premierships and take over as the top team in the competition. Like Mount Gambier, West has some quality players and are truly a force to be reckoned with if all are available. It is their women that are the strength that holds West in such a strong position. Alice Suva and Joanne Sealey have had exceptional seasons, both not dropping a set to date. The other women that make up 32 - The Border Watch, Friday, January 10, 2014 the best four are also great players and can support Suva and Sealey. In the men it is consistency and stability that will make the main difference. Felix Kacirek can hold his head up high with his form as he has also had a stellar season. It is the rest of the male players that need to lift and gain consistent form. Ross Bushell has had an upand-down season in his search for form and Jonathon Bruhn has certainly been a worthy addition to the middle order after giving his golf clubs a rest. If West Gambier do fi nd form and continue to win it will be serious contenders for the top spot. Uniting Church THE team from Uniting Church has been the surprise package this season. A big win over a depleted Mount Gambier in the round just before Christmas would certainly raise the Church’s spirits and desire. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the team and they are starting to fi nd some rhythm. They are prepared to try things and challenge the top teams. It doesn’t take much to upset the balance and get under the skin of your opposition to gain the upper hand. In saying that, you still need the skills and intestinal fortitude Persistence and patience will see Glencoe rise to the dizzy heights it desires. The club also needs to ensure that the right people are there playing alongside the youngsters to ensure that the right message is portrayed. This is the new Glencoe and with the right management it will be a strong team in a short space of time. In summary, the MGDTA is excited about the remainder of the 2013-14 season and the coming fi nals series. The new sponsorship signs at Olympic Park have been given the green light from the City of Mount Gambier Council and will soon be seen in place, much to the delight of major sponsor, O.G. Roberts and KIA.
January 9th 2014
January 14th 2014