IT’S BEEN 35 years since Central Highlands has hosted the Victorian Country Inter-regional Tennis Championships, but everything has fallen into place for the tournament’s 58th outing starting today.
Creswick’s Mount Prospect Tennis Association has been seen fit to host the prestigious championships for the first time in its history, and with 29 courts – 16 of them grass – it looks well equipped to harness the 250 athletes who will take part over the three days.
The championships will showcase two male and two female players in each age group who will play singles, doubles and mixed doubles for the 11 following regions: Mornington Peninsula, Central Gippsland, East Gippsland, the North East, Goulburn, Loddon Campaspe, Northern Mallee, the Wimmera, Glenelg and perennial benchmark Barwon.
The under-12, 14, 16, 18, open and over-45 categories will be contested.
The host district will field a markedly stronger team than the one that finished last in 2013, and Central Highlands Tennis Network president Jenny Jolliffe believes that it can finish well up the overall ladder.
“It’s fantastic that the Central Highlands has been given the opportunity to host the championships, and it’s a great opportunity for Ballarat to showcase the strength of its tennis,” Jolliffe said.
“It’s all about the honour of playing for your district, and we can only get better than what we were last year, when we put in a very depleted team.
“We’ve got a full team this year and strength across the board, particularly in the juniors and in the doubles.”
All regions however, will be striving towards the standard set by Barwon, which is striving for its sixth straight inter-regional victory.
While the senior players will play on the grass surfaces – as per key criteria – the junior matches will be decided on Mount Prospect’s nine hard courts.
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS PLAYERS
Under-12: Hugh McManus, James O’Sullivan
Under-14: Conlon Love, Tim McConchie
Under-16: Tynan Haintz, Riley Stephens
Under-18: Daniel Waddington, Drew Elliott, Hugh Ebbs
Under-22: Nick Powell, Alistair Stone
Men’s: Blair Hart, Greg Parry
Open: Russell Edwards, Geoff Reese
Under-12: Alix Ford, Sarah Burke, Emily Tinker
Under-14: Samantha Huggett
Under-16: Hannah Heath, Anna Pryse-Smith
Under-18: Zoe Bandy, Teresa Fitzpatrick
Under-22: Courtney Dobbyn, Ashleigh Jolliffe
Women’s: Tracey Amarant, Leanne Purtell
Open: Joanne Beattie, Fiona Williams, Jenny Rogers