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04 December 2019
By Colin MacGillivray
Horsham Lawn Gillespie was the major beneficiary of a round of Central Wimmera Tennis Association pennant action that saw two forfeits.
Lawn Gillespie gained four premiership points for a walkover win against Natimuk, keeping it in touch with the top four with six rounds left in the season, while Drung South also got a day off when Brimpaen was unable to field a side.
Lawn Gillespie is eight points adrift of reigning premier Kalkee, which dropped to fourth place with a loss to St Michaels.
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In a rematch of last year’s grand final the Saints were not daunted by the fact they were missing a third female player, forcing them to forfeit three rubbers.
The undefeated ladder leaders won eight of the nine sets that were played, with Ian Nitschke and Peter Hayes beginning the day with an 8-1 against Kalkee father-son duo Jeff and Jordan Friberg.
Jess McDonald and Angela Nitschke followed it up with an 8-4 win against Anna Exell and Hayley Thomas.
The only interruption of the Saints’ dominance was an 8-6 win by Kee Dave Richardson against Nick Robertson, but Robertson immediately got revenge when he teamed with Nitschke to beat Richardson and Jeff Friberg 8-1.
With the 8-70 to 4-55 win St Michaels maintained a two-game lead at the top of the ladder.
While the Saints’ victory was comfortable, it was anything but for second-placed Horsham Lawn Thompson.
Facing off against Central Park, Lawn Thompson knew it was in for a battle when the Parkers’ Ross McIntyre won a tough 8-7 singles tiebreak against Jordan Toll, helping level scores at two sets apiece.
It was the first of four rubbers decided by two games or fewer, with two going the way of the Parkers and two going to Lawn Thompson.
The momentum swung back and forth throughout the day but three consecutive rubbers to Central Park seemed to set up the home side for a memorable victory.
Bayden Penrose’s 8-7 singles win against Lawn player Ben Hartwich put the Parkers ahead by a set and two games.
With everything on the line, it came down to Central Park’s Blair Penrose against Lawn Thompson’s Cherie Wood.
Wood had been victorious in her two previous doubles rubbers with partners Gemma Walker and Maree Thompson, and came through again when her side needed her most.
Wood’s 8-4 victory was just enough to get Lawn Thompson across the line with a 6-75 to 6-73 win, keeping her side in the hunt for the minor premiership.
Lawn Thompson, with six wins and two losses, trails the Saints by eight premiership points and will face off against Kalkee on Saturday.
Lawn Gillespie will be hoping for a Kalkee loss and a win of its own as it prepares to host Brimpaen.
Natimuk will still be in search of its first win when it welcomes Central Park to its home courts and Drung South will test itself with a match against visiting St Michaels.