|On Saturday, in conditions that were a huge contrast to last weekend, the grand final of the Dimboola and District Tennis Association was played at Hopetoun in front of a great crowd of spectators that were left hanging on the edge of their seats until the final set was fought out.
The season was one for the history books, as the two opposing teams of Warrack Gold and Hopetoun in the final were scheduled to play twice during the season but never actually played each other due to player unavailability during harvest and the latest state-wide COVID lockdown.
As anticipated, the match proved to be an arm-wrestle, with neither team able to gain any significant lead on during the day.
In the Mixed section, the first four sets went on serve, and some competitive games were had, but Hopetoun managed to hold onto the fourth set in a tie-breaker to go to a three set to one lead.
Warrack Gold managed to win the next set to keep the section in the balance, but the home side’s sixth pair fought hard to secure the last set that tipped the scales in favour of Hopetoun, who won the Mixed 4 sets, 42 games to 2 sets, 43 games.
In the Men’s section, Hopetoun came out firing and full of momentum and managed to win the first two sets in some hard-fought games.
The third set played, which involved the top pair, demonstrated the high standard of play fitting of a final, but the Warrack Gold pair of Sean McKenzie and Mitch Greenwood dug deep and stood their ground to claim a vital 9-4 win. The remaining sets in the section fell the way of Hopetoun, giving them the win by 5 sets, 49 games to 1 set, 24 games.
The Ladies section was played out simultaneously with the Men’s, which kept the crowd guessing right to the end of the day.
With Warrack Gold managing to secure a set early in the Men’s, the total sets won went from six all to seven all, then eight all, as the play progressed.
The tension rose as the last set for the day went out in the hot and drying conditions. The Hopetoun Ladies were fighting to win every game, trying to edge ahead in the day, but Warrack Gold proved to be too strong, securing all six sets on offer.
Warrack Gold won the section 6 sets, 54 games to Hopetoun 0 sets, 12 games.
Prior to the final Ladies set, Hopetoun led the day 9 sets, 103 games to 8 sets, 112 games and with Carolyn Morcom having sustained a groin injury in the previous set, Warrack Gold needed to win the final set to win the title.
Emergency Kirralee Rowe calmly stepped up and, with Jan Greenwood, secured the final set 9-0 to secure Warrack Gold its first premiership in five years after winning the inaugural premiership in 2015-16 and finishing runner-up to Hopetoun in the 2017-18, 2018-19 seasons.
The match between the two Henty highway rivals proved to reflect how opposing teams’ make-up can differ so much, yet finally come down to the last set to get a definitive result.
The final result saw Warrack Gold successful 2.5 pts, 9 sets, 121 games to Hopetoun 2.5pts, 9 sets, 103 games.
After winning premierships from 2016-17 to 2018-19, Hopetoun has now finished runner-up in the last two seasons to continue their strong presence, appearing in all grand finals since the inception of the DDTA in the 2015-16 season.
Grand Final Results:
Hopetoun 2.5 points, 9 sets, 103 games lost to Warrack Gold 2.5 points, 9 sets, 121 games.
Mixed: Jacob Holm, Remy George lost to Sean McKenzie, Emma Koschitzke 2-9, Taylor Donnan, Trudi Cook d Mitch Greenwood, Sarah Spicer 9-5, Anthony Schache, Jonti George d Daniel McKenzie, Lauren Kellett 9-5, Lou White, Nicole McLean d Dave Nitschke, Jan Greenwood 9-8, Jonty Bellinger, Bridget Williams lost to Chris Kellett, Rikki Nitschke 4-9, Zac Robins, Tahlia Durie d Harry Allen, Carolyn Morcom 9-7.
Men: J. Holm, A. Schache d S. & D. McKenzie 9-6, L. White, J. Bellinger d D. Nitschke, C. Kellett 9-5, J. Holm, T. Donnan lost to S. McKenzie, M. Greenwood 4-9, L. White, Z. Robins d D. Nitschke, H. Allen 9-2, T. Donnan, A. Schache d M. Greenwood, D. McKenzie 9-0, J. Bellinger, Z. Robins d C. Kellett, H. Allen 9-2.
Ladies: R. & J. George lost S. Spicer, L. Kellett 2-9, B. Williams, T. Durie lost to R. Nitschke, J. Greenwood 5-9, R. George, T. Cook lost to S. Spicer, E. Koschitzke 2-9, B. Williams, N. McLean lost to R. Nitschke, C. Morcom 1-9, T. Cook, J. George lost to E. Koschitzke, L. Kellett 2-9, T. Durie, N. McLean lost to J. Greenwood, K. Rowe (sub) 0-9.