Upping the ante in central Wimmera tennis

IT is a new-look pennant competition in the Horsham Sports and Leisure Central Wimmera Tennis Association this season.

Three new teams will compete for the premiership this season, taking the total number of teams in the premier grade to eight.

The change has proved popular with players.

Haven will make its return to the top grade when the new season hits off tomorrow.

Haven player Dale Johnson said it had been five years since the club entered a pennant team.

He said their line-up would be similar to last year's A Special team, which was spearheaded by Ross Janetzki and Jodie Kemp.

"We don't know how competitive we'll be, but we'll have fun," Johnson said. "It's good to see there is eight teams back in pennant that is what you need for the premier grade."

Haven starts its season against Horsham Lawn Savage.

Horsham Lawn has entered a second pennant team this season.

Lawn player Barb Crough said their two pennant teams would feature a combination of last year's pennant and A Special players.

"I think both teams will be competitive," she said. "It's a great thing that the association has eight teams back in pennant. It's good for tennis."

Horsham Lawn Bardell meets Kalkee in round one.

Central Park has also added a second team into the competition, with many members of last year's A Special premiership-winning team stepping up this season.

Parkers' captain Brendan Nitschke said the club had retained most of last year's pennant team, which would make up the Central Park Blue side.

It includes talented youngsters Healy Hammerton, Sophie De Wit and Georgina Newcombe.

Central Park Blue opens its season against St Michaels, a perennial challenger.

"It should be a good tussle," Nitschke said. "St Michaels are a pretty consistent side. It'll be a good test to see where we are at."

Central Park Red, which includes four players from last year's A Special premiership team, faces two-time reigning pennant premiers Drung South in the opening round.

Drung South has been strengthened by the inclusion of Rachel McRae, who joins the club from Horsham Lawn.

Drung South's Janelle Knight said McRae would be a welcome inclusion to the side, especially given Kate-Lyn Burford would miss the opening rounds with an ankle injury.

THE junior competition starts on October 13. See page 72 for the girls' draws for each grade. The boys' draw will appear in the Mail-Times next week.

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