THE Central Wimmera Tennis Association returns on Saturday with St Michael’s again the reigning pennant premiers.
St Michael’s have won three pennant premierships in a row and kick off their season with a grand final rematch from last year straight away against Drung South.
There will be some changes to the pennant outfit for St Michael’s, with young star Steffi McDonald to play against the men this season.
Captain Chris Ellis said it would be a good change for her development.
“Because she is so good, she will go up to take our number one men’s spot and her sister Jess will become our number one woman,” he said.
“It will be better for Steffi’s tennis. We have Ian Nitschke who will become our number two man, swapping a bit with Peter Hayes, then myself and Nick and Bill Robertson who can rotate that fourth spot.”
St Michael’s have also picked up Barb Crough from Horsham Lawn to make up for Steffi McDonald’s spot.
Ellis said the group was excited to kick off the season against Drung South.
“We’re pretty keen to get back into it,” he said.
“We aren’t sure what Drung South will look like at the start of the season, but they really pushed us in the grand final last year and will probably have a similar side again.”
Drung South pennant player Ben Brooksby said it was exciting to start the season against last year’s premiers.
“St Michael’s will probably be stronger than us but it will be good to watch Dylan Emmerson playing against Steffi. It will be interesting in the first week to see that match-up,” he said.
“We have our team back to normal this season with Janelle Knight back in. She is back full-time after filling in last year. She will be a singles player but we will get Romi Miller into singles too and she is an up and coming player.
“Besides that it will be the same team. It will be a bit hard in the first two weeks with availability but we will make it happen.”
Haven will welcome Telangatuk East in the first round.
Haven will be without last season’s number one woman player in Sophie De Wit who is now in Geelong, while youngsters Genevieve and Edmund Bush have also moved away.
Lucinda Bourchier and Carly Werner will step up into pennant for Haven.
Telangatuk East comes into pennant this season after claiming the A Special title last season. The side replaces Natimuk, who has dropped into A Special.
In the final game of the round, Horsham Lawn will welcome Kalkee to kick off the season.
Round one senior fixtures
Haven v Telangatuk East at Haven, Drung South v St Michael’s at Drung South, Horsham Lawn v Kalkee at Horsham Lawn.
Quantong v Central Park at Quantong, St Michael’s v Haven at St Michael’s, Horsham Lawn v Kalkee at Horsham Lawn, Brimpaen v Laharum at Brimpaen.
Homers v Laharum at Homers, Horsham Lawn v Kalkee at Horsham Lawn, St Michael’s v Haven at St Michael’s, Quantong v Central Park at Quantong, Brimpaen – Bye.
Horsham Lawn v Haven at Horsham Lawn, Natimuk v Central Park at Natimuk, Drung South – Bye.