Finalists on court for glory

BIG DANCE: West Gambier's jess Stutley and her teammates will take on Uniting in the Division 1 tennis grand final this Saturday. Picture: TYLER REDWAY

James Murphy

ACTION aplenty will be served up at Olympic Park this weekend when the Mount Gambier and District Tennis Association grand finals are contested.

The hub of Mount Gambier tennis will be the main base of operations on Saturday, while Corridale Park and the Mount Gambier Tennis Club will be utilised for the doubles and some junior games.

Uniting and West Gambier meet in the Division 1 decider, which should be a high-quality contest.

Uniting has been the benchmark of the competition this season, finishing on top of the leaderboard with just one loss.

However, that defeat was dealt at the hands of West back in Round 3 which adds some intrigue.

While it was difficult to weigh in on the match properly, seeing as he will take the court for Uniting, MGDTA president Andrew van den Hurk expected both teams to enter with confidence.

“They beat us back in Round 3 I believe, seven sets to five and in Round 8 we beat them seven sets to five,” he said.

“West made the grand final last year as well.

“They are a really young team and they obviously got some good experience out of that last week.

“I’d say they would be pretty confident going into Saturday.”

Uniting will also be confident, with plenty of finals experience throughout the team.

In Division 2 Suttontown/Glencoe will face West Gambier Red.

“West Gambier Red are quite a young team,” van den Hurk said.

“Pretty much all of their team that they have now moved up from Division 3 last year.

“They won the premiership in Division 3, so it is an amazing effort for them to be improving at that rate to be able to make another grand final in the next division.

“Regardless of the result on Saturday, they have done a really good job.”

It will be a tough outing against Suttontown/Glencoe, who have been in fine form this season with nine wins and two losses for the minor rounds.

However, they had a close call against fourth-placed Mil Lel/Reidy last week so West will hope for another close battle.

“Suttontown/Glencoe, they have been quite strong all year and I think they have won all of the encounters with West Red, but not comfortably,” van den Hurk said.

“Finals do funny things and West Gambier don’t really have much to lose.

“That one could go either way really.”

A pair of upsets in the Division 3 semi finals have caused an unlikely occurrence for the grand final.

Glencoe and Uniting/Glencoe will go head-to-head for the season honours which could be another close contest.

“It is not very often the third and fourth team play off in a grand final,” van den Hurk said.

“It is a bit of a derby in a way, because you have a combined Glencoe team there against a full Glencoe.

“They have split their results this year.”

Uniting/Glencoe won the latest meeting 7-5 in Round 11, while back in Round 6 Glencoe was the victor 8-4.

“It really comes down to who is on the court on the day,” van den Hurk said.

“Personally I have no idea who will win that – they have a good mix of young and old in both of those teams.”

On the doubles front, the mixed doubles will be played at Mount Gambier Tennis Club on Heriot Street, while the women’s doubles will take place at Corriedale Park.

All teams will play on the day, with a 1v2, 3v4, 5v6 scenario as used in previous years.

The women’s doubles will have Reidy Park enter as a red-hot favourite against West Gambier.

“Reidy Park have been quite dominant in most grand finals the last few years,” van den Hurk said.

“They have the likes of Rosie Collins and Chris Lloyd in there, who are very good, experienced players who don’t lose too often.”

Reidy has defeated West on all three occasions this season and are yet to lose in 2023-24.

While West has some talent in its list, it will be difficult to tip against Reidy for the premiership honours.

The mixed doubles will have Glencoe and Suttontown lock horns in the 1v2 battle.

Glencoe will enter as the favourite, having finished top of the table with 11 wins and a loss.

Just last week Glencoe prevailed over Suttontown six sets to love, which will fill the side with confidence heading into Saturday.

Earlier in the day the junior finals will be contested, with games played at Olympic Park and Mount Gambier Tennis Club.

Presentations for the junior premiers is expected to take place around 10.30am, while the senior presentations will be held after 5pm.

Senior games will kick off at the usual time of 1pm.