Great Southern tennis starts with a big upset

AT FULL STRETCH: Victor Harbor's Danika Millard leaves nothing to chance chasing the ball down on Saturday. PHOTO: Jesse Ehlers.
AT FULL STRETCH: Victor Harbor's Danika Millard leaves nothing to chance chasing the ball down on Saturday. PHOTO: Jesse Ehlers.

The Great Southern Tennis season commenced and Myponga-Sellicks was off to a winning start in their return to Division 1.

In close a tussle Myponga-Sellicks defeated Back Valley by 1 set after rubbers were even. There were tight matches in both the men's and ladies doubles where the Myponga-Sellicks duo of Craig McCallum and Jack Pacitti overcame Craig Littlely and fill in Paul Martin, while Kellie Galbraith and Nari Wright saw off Back Valley's Kerryn Pearsons and Tanya Milne in a tight two set win.

This gave Myponga-Sellicks the perfect start and while Back Valley did win three of the four singles it was Myponga-Sellicks super fill in, Nari Wright who secured a crucial singles win that ensured that the visitors won the day.

Pt Elliot dominated Victor Harbor defeating the visitors by eight rubbers. With both sides having players missing Pt Elliot found ways to win the close games. Pt Elliot's Kathryn Witcombe outlasted Victor's Jaimee Millard in a close singles while Pt Elliot's Scott McPhee and the wily veteran Gary Orr overcame newly promoted Victor number one Jakob Arbon and Ben Hattam in two tough sets.

Inman Valley travelled to Goolwa and came away with a win by one set. The match of the afternoon was the men's doubles where Goolwa's Travis Roach and Mike Howard defeated Inman's Dylan Wilson and Darren Lush in a competitive super tiebreak. The Inman ladies of Bree Leibhardt and Edwina Baird dominated their doubles, but Goolwa's Kaylene Brook was able to extract revenge winning a tough 6-4 singles against Edwina.

The men's singles showed off a great array of stroke play with Inman's Dylan displaying his continued improvement with an authoritative win against Travis, but Goolwa's Mike edging out Inman's Darren comfortably.

At the completion of round two this weekend, at a minimum, five of the six teams will have notched a win for the season, barring any draws at the completion of it.

Inman Valley welcome Pt Elliot and both teams will be confident after getting their season off to a winning start. Pt Elliot are still a relative unknown but most of their squad have had a plenty of experience in Division one previously and last week showed they are comfortable at this level.

Inman's win against Goolwa suggests they'll be around the mark for a top two finish and if they're legitimate, they should account for Pt Elliot comfortably by two rubbers.

Myponga-Sellicks take on Goolwa at Myponga-Sellicks with both teams showing good early form. Despite last week's loss Goolwa will know they are a good side and they will feel confident of getting their first win. The home side will know after this Saturday where they are placed in the pecking order and with an injury to Amy Veron ruling her out indefinitely, it will make things challenging as the season progresses. Myponga-Sellicks do have the distinct home court advantage of the courts which Goolwa will not be use to and this could frustrate the visitors into some unusual play however if Goolwa are good enough they'll win this match by at least two rubbers.

The final match of the round sees a replay of last season's grand finalists Victor Harbor and Back Valley at Victor, but with the circumstances being very different. Both teams will be hell bent on getting a win after losing in round 1 and with both teams having some personnel changes from last season, this match is a head scratcher of a choice. The stats shows that Back Valley's Kerryn Pearsons has a winning record against the Victor ladies and Craig Littlely in this calendar year of 2021 has won 8 out of a possible 9 singles matches in this division including a 9-4 win over Victor's Jakob Arbon back last January. These stats alone convince me that Back Valley will win this contest but it will be an entertaining thriller at the Victor Harbor courts Saturday afternoon.


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