FRIDAY SENIOR TENNIS STARTS
The 2017-18 senior tennis season started Friday night with some big changes being put into action. After quite a few years of debate it was finally decided that the way forward for the association was to change the summer competition schedule from Saturday afternoons to Friday evenings. The seniors have played on the first three Friday nights resuming after Christmas for the past seven or eight years, this being a great success, was the catalyst for the change to go to the permanent Friday night time slot.
Roches vs Rosewalls
On a cold and windy night for the opening game of the 2017/18 season this match started with two doubles and a single taking to the courts. The singles match was between Roches Craig McLeod and Rosewalls Tyrone Harris, with Craig taking first blood for Roches, being far to consistent for Tyrone, and with his superior base line game took this rubber 7 - 2. In the second double it was Roches Clayton Gilbert and Mark Azzopardi taking on John Dempsey and Leigh Brereton. This was a very close match with many long rallies and lots of excellent recovery shots by all four players. In a match that swayed to and tho it was won eventually the Roches combination 6 - 4, 6 - 4, this giving Roches a handy 2 rubber to 0 lead early in the evenings proceedings. The third double was decided by a tie-break, this one being between Roches Kerry Custance and the return of Rob McAllister after an 8 year lay off due to health issues, welcome back Robert. They took on Liz Ward and Adam Bishop, with this pair ending up being the eventual winners. Kerry and Rob took the first set comfortably 6 - 3, but that’s where their comfort zone ended with Ward and Bishop taking complete control from there on. They dominated the 2nd set taking this one 6 - 1, and with momentum on their side went on to seize the super tie break 10 - 3 and secure Rosewalls first rubber for the evening.
Roches number two player Warren Hard entered the arena at this stage after basketball commitments, this meant that the number 1 double could commence, Warren partnered Craig McLeod and they took on Tyrone Harris and Glenn Clayton, where the latter pair took control early in the first set and never looked back, winning this rubber 6 -1 6 - 2, giving Rosewalls their second rubber for the evening. That concluded the doubles for the evening, with five singles still to play the match was evenly poised. With four of the remaining five singles in play at the same time, in was hard to tell what the outcome would be. The next single to finish was the number four encounter between association president Leigh Brereton and Mark Azzopardi, and with a nod to the captain, another rubber was marked on the scoresheet to Rosewalls, Leigh showing his good form late last season wasn’t just a flash in the pan, and he may be a key player in his side’s quest to finish well at the end of the season. Rosewalls now with a 3 - 2 lead.
Next off the courts was Adam Bishop and Rob McAllister with Adam winning this one 7 - 3. Rob being very rusty after a long absence had a good hit out, and Adam continues to improve the more court time he gets. Rosewalls now led 4 - 2. The number five singles was an all girl a fair when Kerry Custance took on Liz Ward. The smart money would have been on Kerry to snatch this rubber, but with Liz gaining a bit of winter practice in the Wednesday night social comp, she proved a little too consistent for her opponent and edged out Kerry 7 - 5 to give Rosewalls an unbeatable lead of 5 rubbers to 2.
The number three single was played between Clayton Gilbert and John Dempsey and this was a similar outcome as the previous match where on paper, Dempsey would be considered to be the dominant player but with Clayton getting regular practice in the winter competition he edged out John in a tiebreak.
The last match of the night was just a formality as Rosewalls had already clinched the two premiership points, this match was between Warren Hards and Glenn Clayton. The Rosewalls captain was also a benefactor of the extra court time obtained through playing in the winter competition and didn’t give his underdone opponent many opportunities throughout much of the match. Warren did get onto some good ground shots at times, but they were few and far between, Glenn winning this one 7 - 2.
Final result: Rosewalls 6 Rubbers 8 Sets 72 Games; Roches 3 Rubbers 5 Sets 54 Games
So Rosewalls get their season off to a good start and Roches look to get their side settled. There will be some interesting matches coming up in the next couple of weeks as teams rearrange themselves and include players not available yet. It seems that Friday night tennis may be a winner and will surely gain momentum as the season progresses. Next weeks matches: Roches v Saville; Rosewalls v Lavers
Saville 3 rubbers 4 sets 48 games lost to Lavers 6 rubbers 8 sets 70 games
Round 1 started with blustery conditions hampering most players from getting any sort of rhythm. Despite this, all the matches were played to a high standard as the defending champs lost to the runner-ups from last season in the grand final rematch.
Doubles was the first order of the night. In what turned out to be Saville’s only rubbers win in the doubles, top pair Matt Wauchope and Joey Webster accounted for Lavers pair Andrew Smoker and David Green 6-3 7-5. Next was Lavers getting on the board with Andre Sarret and Greg Vlachoulis triumphing over Spencer Williams and Kallum Craig 6-1 6-4.
In the final doubles match, Lavers pairing Andrew Anninos and Sam Custance had a relatively comfortable victory against Chris Margaritas and Tayla Anninos. Anninos and Custance had an effective game plan and they stuck to it winning 6-2 6-4. Singles was next and two old foes in Matt Wauchope and Andrew Smoker locked horns. Predictably, because these players are so evenly matched, the match went to a tiebreak, with Wauchope finding the extra gear to win 7-6 (7-4) for Saville. In what was another epic contest that lasted 90 minutes and resulted in a tiebreak, captains Joey Webster and David Green took the match to the limit. The final score was 7-6 (7-4). Lavers Green was the victor, but both players really deserved the win.
Lavers Andre Sarret had a convincing win over Spencer Williams 7-0. Sarret will be happy with his performance as Williams is a tricky opponent to play against. Greg Vlachoulis defeated Kallum Craig 7-4. Vlachoulis, returning after a long hiatus, is a strong weapon in Lavers arsenal this season as he made a solid return on Friday night.
In what was probably the upset of the night, Saville young gun Chris Margaritas beat Andrew Anninos 7-4. Prior to the match, many on the night thought Anninos’s consistent baseline hitting would force Margaritas into unnecessary errors. But Margaritas held his nerve and kept his patience in check. Sam Custance held his composure for Lavers to dispatch Tayla Anninos 7-0 in what was the final rubber of the night. Custance was far too strong and looks hungry for another victim next week.