What a week it ended up being in the club championships of the WLTC with the semi-finals of the singles taking to the court at the early hour of 9.30am on Sunday.
Brendan Liddell and John Brunner took to court 5 with Brendan showing a clean pair of heels with his athletic prowess overcoming a determined John Brunner in 2 sets.
Court 4 saw an epic with Sam Allen capturing the first set in a tie breaker from Dan Smith and then continued the winning form to comfortably win the second set.
With the two semis completed, it was then up to the grand final which saw the reigning champion in Brendan Liddell take on the up and coming challenger in Sam Allen. It was tight all match with both players giving up little to nothing as game after game went through many a deuce/advantage period. In the end it was Brendan with his fitness and agility around the court who was able to combat the serve/volley abilities of Sam to end up winning the day and the Open grade singles champion status for season 2019/2020 with a score of 6/4, 7/5.
The ladies singles final took to court 4 of which was between Michelle Hill and Maree Sullivan. These two players have met each other in many club champs and tournaments over the years and again they stole the day with some epic rallies, one of which took the crowd in with at least twenty shots from each of their racquets. At then of the mornings play it was Michelle Hill who again took the honours on the day with a 2 set victory.
At 11.30am, the final of the Open grade men's doubles was played, which was a repeat of last year's in Brendan Liddell again pairing with club coach Doug Smith against the father/son combination of Matt and Sam Allen. The first set was sitting on serve with Brendan Liddell stepping up to the mark to serve at 4/5, Matt & Sam started applying the pressure to the server and were able to nudge one down the line and capture the first set 6/4.
Momentum is a wonderful thing to have in a final, but still Brendan and Doug were fighting all the way with Doug hitting some crisp volleys to keep the pair in the match and eventually all four were in a tie break situation. Brendan & Doug skipped to a 4/0 lead in the tiebreaker, but then something clicked in the head of the Allen's who got back into to the set to eventually win the tiebreak 8/6. This match was truly one of the best to be played on the show court with credit to all four for the spirit it was played in.
The game that took some 3 hours to complete was the Open grade women's doubles final with pairing of Michelle Hill and Mandy Allen coming up against the crafty pairing of Maree Sullivan and Anita Malcom.
The match went into 3 sets with firstly Hill & Allen getting the upper hand and winning the first set. Then followed the craft of some lobs by Anita Malcom followed up by a deft volley of Maree Sullivan and all of a sudden the match was tied at 1 set all. The third set was played at breakneck speed, an ace here, and then a passing shot there, and all of a sudden the pairing of Hill and Allen end up winning the third set and the championship. Everyone who watched the match were commenting on what a great standard of play all four players took to the court.
The Open grade mixed doubles final was played on court 3 with Phil Peck & Michelle Hill teaming up against a new pairing in John Brunner and Anita Malcom. The match started with both pairings summing up each of their games. The rallies of Brunner to Hill were there for all to applaud as each continued to play the cross-court game to perfection. The net players in Peck and Malcom being very careful not to intercept at the wrong time as a down the line shot may be the downfall of either pairing.
At end of days play it was the pairing of Peck & Hill who came out on top to win with a score of 10/4.
Not only were the club championships about Open grade but also the B grade. Last Saturday saw the singles final be played against Russel Canning and son Lachie. It was tight throughout the match, with Lachie seizing the moment as the pie van rang his bell for lunch and Russel lost a bit of concentration and dropped his serve. Lachie then gave his father the run around to win the match and the title. At the end of the match, both walked off with an equal smile as not every day you get to play/see a final between father/son.
The B grade doubles final was played in great spirit as a couple of old legends in Pat Flynn & Geoff Davidson came up against the father & son combination of Russel & Lachie Canning. Fair dinkum, the apple does not fall far from the tree as Lachie sent out a roar of well done to emulate that of his father in Russel.
This was enough to throw both Pat and Geoff's concentration as they succumbed to the force known as Canning and drop the set and handover the championship to the Canning's.
Final of the B grade mixed was played with some fierce net volleys and both Anna & Ian McDonald hovered over the net like eagles to their prey. First it was Anna who crossed to cut off a ground stroke, then it was Ian who was heard to say that if you can do it so can I.
This did not worry either Lachie or Andrea Canning as they then started the lobbing game to eventually get themselves back into the match. At the end though it was the McDonalds who took the match and take the chocolates home from the Canning's.
Round 19 - March 8
The Wangaratta lawn tennis courts certainly enjoyed the drowning of rain which occurred on the Wednesday/Thursday of last week with conditions of true bounce and play making for an enjoyable day of tennis for round 19 of aggregate.
Section 1 saw four players take to court 5 with three tight 8 game sets being played. By days end it was Phil Peck who walked away with a glass with a score of 24 games. Coming in second and hitting his serve with the utmost of power was Kevin Callahan on 21 games followed by the drop shot king in mark the brownest of all browns with 19 games. One game separated third and fourth and it came down to a break of serve at 7/6 in the last set to determine the dreaded fourth spot and Brett Goodwin let Phil Peck know all about it at days end under the oak tree as Brett finished the day with 18 games.
Matt Curran not only had his slapping forehand working a treat, but also threw in a few slapping backhands to win section 2 with 24 games followed by the master of slice in Frank Harris with 19 games. Christian McGauran was covering the net like a cat as he secured third position with 17 games from Ian Macdonald on 15/20. The old silver fox in Pat Flynn was questioning and cursing a few close line calls as he ended up in fifth place on 15/21.
Adrian Aldous made the long road trip up from Baddaginnie of which was a successful one as he walked away with a win on 21 games. Coming in second and fine tuning his game for the NERTA finals was Ken Parker with 19 games from Mike Falkenberg on 17 games. Roger Peters and Phil Dryden fought tooth and nail for the remaining places with Roger just edging ahead to claim fourth.
It was a day out for the ladies in section 4 on Saturday as both Maree Sullivan and Anita Malcom did what they wished over the two men with Maree hitting the volley to perfection to win the day with 24 games. Equally, Anita caressed the forehand cross court deep to take second position on 20 games. Now for the men, firstly Russel Canning was at times classed as a statue as he had no answer to the power play of his opponents and finish in third with 18 games. It did not matter what Alan Busk tried, put up a lob, a smash would come back for a winner, a sideline shot, and a volley would slice through. In the end Alan finished in fourth position with 16 games.
There were only four games separating the field in section 5 as Mason Scholes did his aggregate chances no harm as he won with a score of 21 games. Coming in second was the lime green machine in Geoff Allen with 19 games from Russel O’Brien on 18 games. The remaining spots went on games against with Greg Renner taking fourth on 17/18 from Andrew Brew on 17/19.
The rust did not settle for long as a week bathed in WD40 had made a world of difference to the agility of Des Steele as he only lost the one set for the day and that was a tie break as he finished the day with 23 games. Terry Flynn can feel a bit down on himself as he finished in second position with 22 games from John Shanley in third with 20 games. Mark Gorman snuck through in fourth with 19 games from Peter Curran on 18 games.
Peter Ablazej continues to apply the ice to his opponents as he won again on Saturday with a score of 21/14. He did not have it all his own way though as he only got up on games against from a fellow past president in Geoff Davidson on 21/18. The next two in finishing order also had equal games but it was Carl Cutrona who came in with a solid 19/19 from Vu Trinh on 19/18
Max McAuliffe, alias smoky the bear, had a day out to remember as he cleared the smoke from his eyes to obliterate all to finish the day and with the seasons top score of 24/4 to win section 8. Tony Clarebrough was best of the rest to finish in second with 15 games from Irene McGauran on 14 games.
Entries to the aggregate play are needed to be in prior to 12.30 each Saturday and can be done a number of ways; either through the club website www.wanglawntennis.com.au, via phone (03) 5721 2438, or simply by placing your name on the aggregate sheet in the clubhouse.
Your Committee have been concerned about our Clubhouse vulnerability in such a quiet, poorly lit park. Experience at Shepparton regarding repeated break in and theft have suggested that we have had a lucky track record at WLTC.
In seeking better security, we have had a wonderful offer from a great community supporter and good friend of WLTC, Mario Pane of Pinkerton Security. Pinkerton Security has installed a 24/7 monitored security system this year.
Essentially this will only affect you if you are the holder of a clubhouse key. We think we have identified all key holders and given them passwords to turn on/off the alarm as they unlock/lock the door. If you have a key and do not have a password, ring or text Secretary, Michael Falkenberg on 0418392906 or go to our website and use the message option on the “Contact us” page.
This initiative represents a major change for our members. Those intimidated or unfamiliar with the technology, please ask for assistance. We do not want any barriers to members accessing the courts in their own time.
You will notice that unavoidably, we have had to reshuffle numbers on the courts - sorry for the change to tradition!
The technology does not affect you if you just turn up for scheduled events like Twilight, Thursday (Mixed and Ladies), Saturday tennis or any other ‘Light Facilitated’ event we hope to offer this year. On these occasions the gate will be open automatically.
If you want to play casual tennis with friends, one of the party will need to access Book a Court (BAC).
Soon you will receive by email, an invitation to “sign on” to Book a Court – you will then be recognised as a club member (and not charged) when Booking. Those members without a recorded email at WLTC will receive a text - please respond to this text with your email or let us know if you have none.
Thereafter, either from computer at home or from your smart phone (at least 10 minutes before booking time) book a court and time, your PIN will open for the gate from 10 minutes before the booking time. Apart from the fact that you have to book on the half hour, this will be otherwise very easy with a saved web address or use the link on our WLTC website.
There will be signage on the fence to assist non-members and members. In the daytime, your exact court number choice still remains optional after you are through the gate.
Members will play free in daylight, but we ask you to collect green fees ($ as on the hire fee box) from non-members in your party and pay for them, as you have always done.
If (as a member) you book a slot when it will be dark (i.e. the lights will be activated), you will have to pay with your credit card (tick a box to remember your details for easy booking on subsequent times). We decided that the light costs will be borne by “user pays” rather than the general membership. Costs are however reasonable – see table at the end.
Benefits of BAC
The BAC is encouraged by Tennis Australia as part of our lighting system. It has however several advantages for us, that balance the loss of our casual access by having an electronically locked gate.
Firstly, we have realised that since the departure from the Club of the late Bryan Curran, we’ve noticed a dramatic drop in hire fee income from non-members. Many free players are going unchallenged currently. This impacts on the club finances and imposes pressure on membership fees. BAC will alert users that this is a membership club (not RCoW council free facility) that has overheads. BAC can collect the appropriate hire fees electronically for non-member use.
Secondly, our Coach and his staff benefit hugely form light options, and we need this activity to feed in tomorrow’s members and users for tennis generally.
Thirdly, whilst there will be some money in the hire fee box from non-members paying to play with members, parties of non-members, and members using lights will be paying electronically. This reduces our security exposure.
Fourthly, it would be impossible to have ready access to the lights for both members and non-members without a system to turn on the lights (without clubhouse access), as well as quarantining light costs to users only.
Finally, increasingly there seems to be Tennis Australia, Government and Council grants for improvements to Clubs. We have received assistance with several grants towards: the lights (Tennis Australia, RCoW, Sport and Recreation Victoria) Book a Court (RCoW , pending from Tennis Australia) and Hotshots Court Fencing (RCoW community grants).
Initiatives like BAC help us to track participation which is then helpful in future grant applications. With signage and a modest cost structure, increased participation and usage from non-members will be clearly welcomed and tracked – helping our case.
Court Hire Costs