Central Wimmera Tennis Association: Drung South through to grand final

DRUNG South earned a shot at redemption in the 2013-14 Central Wimmera Tennis Association pennant grand final by beating St Michael's at the weekend.

Drung beat the Saints 8-99 to 6-88 to book a rematch against last season's grand final conqueror Kalkee.

It was the second successive year St Michael's finished atop the ladder only to crash out of the finals with two consecutive losses.

Drung South got on top early with three wins from the first four rubbers.

Lachie King and Adam Troeth got the ball rolling with an 9-6 win over St Michael's pair Ian Nitschke and Dalton Burns.

The Saints boast arguably the best women's side in pennant competition, but Drung South's Rachel McRae and Sacha McDonald got an early psychological boost for their team with an 9-6 win over Kassie Peachey and Naomi McConville.

Richard Goudie's 9-4 singles win upset against the Saints' number two man Peter Hayes helped Drung South break even in the singles section after its hot start, although Saints Angela and Ian Nitschke both had good wins.

From there Drung South traded sets with St Michael's to qualify for another grand final.

Troeth said the team knew it had to press its advantage against the St Michael's men.

"Their top two men are quite a bit stronger than their bottom two men so we thought we might be able to take advantage of our three and four, which we did in the end," he said.

"That was probably where we were able to pick up that extra set we needed.

"They've got a very strong women's line-up, but Rachel McRae is probably the best woman in the competition and she won all three of her sets, which also helped us get over the line."

Troeth said the team was ready for another shot at reigning premier Kalkee on Saturday.

In A Special competition, Horsham Lawn made short work of Central Park Blue 10-102 to 4-69.

Horsham Lawn did not drop a set until the third rubber of the singles section, with number one woman Mikaela Turvey proving no match for Steffi McDonald in a 9-0 loss.

Andrew Dorman and David Gove led a Horsham Lawn men's section that did not surrender a set for the day, while Central Park fared better in the women's section.

Lawn will now meet Drung South in the grand final.

In A Grade competition Central Park punched its grand final ticket with an 9-94 to 3-74 win over Kalkee.

The Kees won on games in the only previous meeting between the teams this season, with the other scheduled clash being called off because of extreme heat.

On Saturday it was the Parkers who were hot, with number one pairing Ross Tickner and Carly Werner getting the team off on the right foot with a 9-6 win over Karl Schmidt and Hayley Thomas.

Central Park won five consecutive rubbers before Thomas and Trudi Schmidt broke through for a 9-1 win over Werner and Jessica Ladlow.

The Parkers play A Grade powerhouse Natimuk in the grand final at the weekend.

Natimuk was sent straight through to the B Special grand final after Homers were forced to forfeit, setting up a clash with Laharum.

In B Grade competition, Drung South-Horsham Lutheran easily dispatched Horsham Lawn to set up a top-of-the-table grand final clash against Laharum Red.

Horsham Lawn looked up to the challenge when it won two of the first four rubbers, but Drung South-Horsham Lutheran dug its heels in and refused to yield another set.

Alistair Cowie and Tim Popple were among several Drung-Lutheran men to not drop a set. Erin Habel was among the best women.

For Horsham Lawn, Paul Harman, Lyn Hutchinson, Mitchell Crough and Pam Rethus were involved in the two-set wins.

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