Race for finals spots heats up in Great Southern Tennis

Athleticism: Port Elliot's Will Vincent plays an outstandingly acrobatic return shot during his Division 1 clash with The Valleys. Photo: Jesse Ehlers.
Athleticism: Port Elliot's Will Vincent plays an outstandingly acrobatic return shot during his Division 1 clash with The Valleys. Photo: Jesse Ehlers.

Round 15 of Great Southern Tennis was punctuated by bouts of drizzle amid some great shot play that saw close games, upsets and the odd washout thrown in.

Mere formalities played out in Division 1 where top sides Goolwa and Port Elliot flexed their muscles against lesser opponents in Victor Harbor and The Valleys respectively.

Goolwa in winning by 5 rubbers had great players in Travis Roach, Mike Howard and Jason Ramsey, while Victor's Jeremy Bell flew the flag for the visitors.

Port Elliot went even better, defeating The Valleys by 8 rubbers, with Elliot's Shane Sterzl turning the tables against Joel Pollich in a high class singles encounter.

Luckily for the home side, Stephen 'Shaggy' Holt put on a masterclass to win The Valleys lone rubber. This week's matches pit Victor and The Valley's against each other, while Goolwa and Port Elliot battle it out for the last time before finals.

The Valleys should get the points if they go well in the doubles, while Port Elliot will go hard early to hold on for a one rubber win.

Division 2 and 3 is really hotting up and Round 15 results proved that, with all four matches producing close results.

Inman Valley Blue staved off a determined Mount Compass, winning the deciding doubles encounter to come away with the match by 2 sets.

Back Valley went close to denting Victor's top four aspirations, going down by a mere seven games as the sun started to go down with a late finish at Back Valley.

Myponga-Sellicks continued their finals charge, squeaking home against Inman Valley Red in a thrilling one game win. This extends their unbeaten run to six weeks now.

Goolwa produced a brilliant display to cause the upset win against top of the table Port Elliot by two sets. This was Port Elliot's first loss and maybe a blessing in disguise for them.

Finals have come early with this week's matches set to determine the fate of teams for season 2019-20. Port Elliot host Mount Compass and sadly for the bottom side Compass, Port Elliot will have been stung by their loss last week and I expect them to take full retribution on the visitors for an easy win.

Inman Valley Blue hosts Back Valley, with the visitors only three and half points ahead on the ladder. If Inman wins, they could leap frog Back Valley into double chance contention for the Division 3 finals. Back Valley know the importance of this game and last week's form was no fluke; they'll win a close one.

Goolwa face the visiting Inman Valley Red. Nine points separate these teams, sitting second and third respectively and put simply, it's a must win game for both sides. Inman have to win to have any hope of keeping second spot. Their last game of the season will be against Port Elliot and coupled with Goolwa's last match of the season being against Mount Compass, it means Inman must create a big point buffer this week to stave off Goolwa running over the top of them. The problem is; Goolwa's playing like a second spot team and Inman Red aren't and it will prove to be come Saturday.

Myponga-Sellicks host Victor Harbor who are currently a mere half point behind them on the ladder and it is that half a point determining who is in Division 2 finals and who is in Division 3 finals, come season's end. Both sides play lower ranked teams in their final match of the season, so essentially, this match is a decider. Victor are determined to fight back into the top four and they've been winning the close ones, but so too has Myponga-Sellicks, against some tough opposition and I think a Myponga-Sellicks's win this Saturday will go a long way to sealing their top four spot.

The doubles competition had some big winners last weekend, with John Wesley gaining maximum points in a walkover against Goolwa. Port Elliot Red crushed Victor Harbor to enhance their finals position, Back Valley won comfortably against Normanville and Mount Compass and Port Elliot's game was washed out.

Round 16 matches see Mount Compass, in second, taking on eighth placed Victor. This should see Compass gain a win to keep them in touch with top spot. John Wesley who currently sit first, should win comfortably against fifth placed Back Valley. Port Elliot Red in fourth spot should gain a points boosting win travelling to sixth placed Normanville and Port Elliot Black, holding down third spot should do likewise against the seventh placed Goolwa.