|Hopetoun broke its premiership drought when it claimed honours over Antwerp in Saturday’s Dimboola & District Tennis Association grand final.
The minor premier and premiership favourite topped a dominant season when it claimed an 11 sets, 136 games to seven sets, 110 games victory on its home courts at Hopetoun.
Hopetoun, who had played off in the last three grand finals without tasting success broke its drought in front of a healthy crowd in attendance at the picturesque Hopetoun courts.
The contest was a tight battle with honours only decided in the final round of matches when Hopetoun won the final four sets after sets were locked together at seven each.
Saturday’s battle started on an even keel when a strategic mixed doubles section kicked off the day’s play.
Antwerp’s number one pair Tim Jorgensen and Abbey Greig continued their good form when they claimed a 9-4 victory before Hopetoun hit back to claim the next three sets.
A 9-0 win to Taylor Donnan and Dana Schache was followed by a 9-3 win to Tony George and Zali Brown who produced some strong tennis to down experienced Antwerp pair Don Clark and Heather Jorgensen.
When husband and wife team Nathan and Bridget Williams teamed for a 9-5 win, Hopetoun was well placed leading the day three sets 31 games to one set, 18 games.
But Antwerp bounced back when Nathan Jorgensen and Kellie Laverty won a vital tie-breaker over Anthony Schache and Jonti George.
The final set also belonged to Antwerp when Chris Avery and Emily Polack claimed a strong 9-1 win which saw Antwerp level sets at three all, 40 games to 35 in Hopetoun’s favour.
Kicking off the Men’s and Ladies sections, Hopetoun started a dominant day when Donnan and McLean opened with a 9-6 victory which was answered when Antwerp’s Abbey Greig and Sam Baker claimed a 9-7 win in the first of the ladies sets for the day.
At four sets all, the trend of the day continued when Nathan Williams and Anthony Schache claimed a 9-5 win over Avery and Daniel Greig before Laverty and Emily Polack claimed another tense battle when they claimed a 9-7 win over Nicole McLean and Bridget Williams.
Five sets all and the evenness of the competition continued when Hopetoun’s Donnan and Tony George dominated a clash against Jorgensen and Clark which saw a 9-1 win to the Hopetoun pair.
Sets were again squared at six all when Abbey Greig and Heather Jorgensen claimed another tight 9-6 win over Zali Brown and Dana Schache.
At the halfway point of the Men’s and Ladies sections Hopetoun held the lead on games with sets square at six each with Hopetoun leading 67 games to 62.
Kicking off the second half of both sections, Antwerp’s Avery and Dan Polack put their side in the lead for the second time of the day’s play when they claimed a 9-4 win over Nathan Williams and Marco Hallam.
But their lead was short lived when Hopetoun claimed their first win in the Ladies section when Nicole McLean and Jonti George claimed a 9-3 win to have Hopetoun up seven sets, 80 games to seven sets, 74 games.
With four sets to play, the tennis action remained hot on the court when Hopetoun extended its lead as Tony George and Mal McLean teamed for a crucial 9-6 win over Clark and Nathan Jorgensen.
The win extended the games lead to nine but importantly led on sets eight to seven.
Hopetoun then gained a vital break when Dana Schache and Remy George claimed a 9-3 win over Heather Jorgensen and Sam Baker which saw them open up a two set break which would eventually prove match winning.
The final round belonged to Hopetoun who claimed the final two sets of the day when Anthony Schache and Marco Hallam teamed up for a tight 9-7 win over Daniel Greig and Dan Polack.
And when Bridget Williams and Jonti George teamed for another tense tie-break win, the premiership was in Hopetoun’s keeping with an unassailable 11 sets to seven win.
Breaking down each section, Hopetoun claimed all three with its men in dominant form to claim their section five sets, 49 games to one set, 34 games.
Like the mixed doubles, Hopetoun’s ladies claimed a tense three sets, 47 games to three sets, 41 games, winning the last three sets after Antwerp had claimed the first three.
Three sets winners for the day were Hopetoun’s Taylor Donnan and Tony George, while Antwerp’s Abbey Greig won her three sets.
At the conclusion of play, association executives Ash O’Halloran and Sue Bell proudly unveiled the inaugural “The District Cup” and presented to winning captains Jacob Holm and Zali Brown who accepted on behalf of their team who were then presented with winning medallions.
Holm, who underwent a knee reconstruction at the end of last football season, was unable to take the court this season but continued to lead his side from the sidelines and responded in thanking his team with congratulations.
Hopetoun 11 sets, 136 games d Antwerp 7 sets, 110 games.
Mixed - Mal McLean, Remy George lost to Tim Jorgensen, Abbey Greig 4-9, Taylor Donnan, Dana Schache d Daniel Polack, Faye Wilson 9-0, Tony George, Zali Brown d Don Clark, Heather Jorgensen 9-3, Nathan and Bridget Williams d Daniel Greig, Samantha Baker 9-5, Anthony Schache, Jonti George lost to Nathan Jorgensen, Kellie Laverty 8-9, Marco Hallam, Nicole McLean lost to Chris Avery, Emily Polack 1-9.
Men - T. Donnan, M. McLean d T. & N. Jorgensen 9-5, N. Williams, A. Schache d C. Avery, D. Greig 9-6, T. Donnan, T. George d T. Jorgensen, D. Clark 9-1, N. Williams, M. Hallam lost to C. Avery, D. Polack 4-9, T. George, M. McLean d D. Clark, N. Jorgensen 9-6, A. Schache, M. Hallam d D. Greig, D. Polack 9-7.
Ladies - Z. Brown, R. George lost to A. Greig, S. Baker 7-9, N. McLean, B. Williams lost to K. Laverty, E. Polack 7-9, Z. Brown, D. Schache lost to A. Greig, H. Jorgensen 6-9, N. McLean, J. George d K. Laverty, F. Wilson 9-3, D. Schache, R. George d H. Jorgensen, S. Baker 9-3, B. Williams, J. George d E. Polack, F. Wilson 9-8.