Kalkee claims back-to-back pennant titles

KALKEE secured a second consecutive Central Wimmera Tennis Association pennant premiership on Saturday with a hard-fought victory over Drung South.

In a rematch of last season's grand final, the Kees prevailed 9-99 to 5-91 despite some determined and gritty play from their opponents.

While the outcome of the grand final was not decided in circumstances as thrilling as last year's tie-breaker in the final set, the quality was every bit as good.

The opening men's doubles set between Kalkee's Jeff Friberg and Grant Schultz and Drung South's Lachie King and Adam Troeth exemplified the standard of the match.

Both pairs traded blows in a rubber that went down to the wire, with Friberg and Schultz eventually victorious in a 9-8 tie-breaker.

The narrow win tipped the balance in Kalkee's favour in the first doubles section.

Drung South's Rachel McRae and Emma Ryan defeated Anna Lehmann and Debbie Lawson 9-3, but Steve Schultz and Dave Richardson got a 9-3 win of their own for Kalkee over Richard Goudie and Paul McDonald.

Melissa Beddison and Carmen Petering's 9-6 rubber win over Janelle Knight and Sacha McDonald gave the Kees an important 3-1 advantage on sets heading into the singles section.

Kalkee has struggled to field a full team consistently in the past few seasons, but when the team gets its full side on the court, it has one of the best men's line-ups in the association.

The Kees rammed that fact home in the men's singles with two impressive wins.

Number-one man Jeff Friberg fought for a 9-6 win over Drung South

counterpart Lachie King, and Steve Schultz made short work of Richard Goudie in a 9-1 drubbing.

Drung South needed two wins in the women's singles if it hoped to take back the advantage, and it had good reason to be confident with Rachel McRae in the line-up.

McRae had not lost a singles rubber all season and did not let the side down, winning 9-2 against Anna Lehmann.

But the Kees edged even further in front when Melissa Beddison earned a tough 9-5 win over Janelle Knight.

Drung South men Adam Troeth and Paul McDonald pulled off a 9-8 tie-break win over Grant Schultz and Dave Richardson in the second doubles section.

Emma Ryan and Sacha McDonald followed it up by defeating Kee pair Debbie Lawson and Carmen Petering 9-3, but Drung South still trailed six sets to four.

Kalkee continued to grind its way to victory in the final four rubbers, with Friberg and Richardson snaring a 9-7 rubber and Beddison and Lawson winning 9-8 in the final set of the day. Steve Schultz said Kalkee knew Drung South would put up a strong fight.

"We didn't know what to expect at the start of the day because they're a pretty good side and we always knew it was going to be reasonably close," he said.

"All the sets were close all day and even when the last sets were on, they could have gone either way and Drung South could have got over the top of us.

"It was definitely a lot closer that what the end score probably shows."

Schultz said an all-round team performance carried the Kees to the premiership.

"It's an old cliche, but we didn't have any passengers and everyone performed really well which was good," he said.

"Kalkee has had a bit of success in recent years, but it's a different group each time you win. It's good fun it doesn't get old, winning premierships."

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