ON PAPER it might have looked like a mismatch, but top side St Michael’s found the going tough against bottom team Horsham Lawn O’Connor at home on Saturday.
Entering round 10, the Saints had lost just twice for the season but they were made to work hard to avoid a third loss.
Missing regular contributors Angela Nitschke and Brett Ellis, St Michael’s relied on fill-in players Bill Robertson and Taylah Klemm to get over the line.
The home team fell behind early when Lawn O’Connor took three of the first four doubles rubbers.
O’Connor duo Rachel Ivess and Barbarah Crough battled their way to a tough 9-7 win over Kassie Peachey and Diane Hayes.
Ethan McRae and Mick McGennisken combined to beat Saints Peter Hayes and Bill Robertson 9-6.
Only Ian Nitschke and Chris Ellis were able to break through for the home team.
The contest was turned on its head in the singles section, where St Michael’s began to dominate.
Nitschke won his set against O’Connor’s Braden Clark, while Peachey had a 9-6 win over Ivess.
Maree Thompson was the lone singles winner for the O’Connor team, beating Naomi McConville 9-2.
With sets locked at four apiece, it was the Saints who won four of the final six rubbers to take out the match 8-104 to 6-88.
Ellis said his players knew they had to work hard against O’Connor to get a win despite the team’s 1-9 record.
“Lawn has got a pretty consistent men’s and women’s line-up so we knew we were going to have to work hard for it,” he said.
“It was a good effort by the two fill-in players that we had to come up and play well.
“We’re a pretty consistent side right across the club so it’s good that our A Special players can play some good tennis for us.”
With two matches left before the Christmas break, Ellis said the Saints wanted to keep winning and go into the final phase of the season on top of the ladder.
Kalkee has struggled to field its best line-up for much of the season and failed to field one at all on Saturday against Horsham Lawn Massey.
The Kees were forced to forfeit, dropping their record to 5-5 and putting Massey back in the hunt for a finals spot.
Massey trails fourth-placed Kalkee by four points on the ladder, although there is a percentage gap of more than 13 between the sides.
Drung South handed Central Park its third loss of the season with an 8-103 to 6-89 win at home. Drung powered home to win three of the final four sets to seal the victory.
The home side was good in the close rubbers, with Janelle Knight clinching a tight 9-8 singles win over Sophie De Wit and Knight and Kate-Lyn Burford winning 9-7 over De Wit and Olivia Lawson.