Round 12 of Southern Ports Tennis Association action was a blockbuster with a top of the table clash last weekend.
In the end Naracoorte remained strong to stay undefeated with a 14 sets to 10 win over the Lucindale Koalas.
But it did not all go to plan as Lucindale got on the board early, worrying Naracoorte by taking a 4-2 lead after the mixed doubles.
The singles saw a mixed bag of scores with George White rebounding after last week’s loss, defeating a competitive Chandler Smart 6-3, while 6-0 wins went to Daniel Menzel, Bill Longbottom, Kelsie Moyle-Read and Michele Moyle-Read.
Up and comer Kiele Longbottom had to take the number one spot this week and come up against the other young gun in Poppy Moyle-Read in the match of the round.
The endurance match saw some great shots from both players taking it all the way to a tie-break.
Eventually Moyle-Read just scraped by with the win.
In the doubles, the Smart brothers paired up, stealing sets while the Moyle-Read sisters continued their form with a comfortable 9-4 win.
At the end of the day, Naracoorte was left on top. Naracoorte 14-130 decreased Lucindale Koalas 10-103
The other close match for the round was played at Beachport where Millicent/Beachport managed to jag a much-needed win over Frances/Lucindale Eagles to keep their finals hopes alive.
After travelling to Robe for some trademark coastal conditions last week, Millicent/Beachport hosted Frances/Lucindale for their first home game on the coast for the season.
While the day ended up going Millicent/Beachport’s way, it was tightly contested with Frances/Lucindale starting strong winning 4 of the mixed doubles matches.
After starting 4-0 down Todd Watson and Lucy Corman did not roll over without a fight, eventually succumbing to Flo Burgwin and Justin Lobb 6-4.
With a self-professed combined age of 144, Peter Lawrie and Richard Pilmore’s experience proved too abundant for Shannon Nicholls and Darcy Bateman winning 6-1.
In the singles, Tarrant Fudge and Jake Harris entertained with great tennis on show court with a close finish of 7-6 in Harris’ favour, while Lisa Duldig held onto form taking the win over Tyler Atkinson 6-2.
Jane Haynes beat Nat Chambers 6-2 in a match closer than what the score line shows.
The other matches were one-sided affairs with Lucindale Wombats easily winning over a very undermanned Lucindale Cockatoos side.
It was a lovely quiet day at Lucindale and meant to be a close one with just the one match between the Wombats and the Cocky’s, so it was a very low-key vibe enjoyed by all.
The matches got under way early with Heidi Ware and Heather Pitt starting with their singles which was quite the battle.
Heidi’s calm head kept her in the game, fighting back from 4-1 down to get over the top in the tie-break.
The mixed doubles were all reasonably one-sided except for the very impressive fill-in pair, Mark Woods and Carly Bell taking it right up to Eliza Handbury and Brad Hocking.
A get out of jail free card when Handbury and Hocking were able to break Woods serve sealed the deal, the win going the wombat’s way 7-5.
Young gun Handbury went up the ranks this week filling a third lady position and had a great win.
The singles were also fairly convincing wins one way or the other but the wombats proved too strong getting eight out of the 12 sets.
A great battle between Fluff Legoe and Nicole Hocking was great to watch, both playing a very similar game and both competitive beasts not wanting to give in.
After taking the early lead 4-1 Nicole Hocking had to regroup to hold on after a great come back from Fluff.
It eventually went Nicole Hocking’s way 7-5.
The men’s doubles also saw some great tennis with Russell Robinson and Ethan Hocking just falling short against Jamie Weaver and Matt Johns 7-9.
The top men’s doubles was certainly one to watch with some very impressive tennis from all players.
Big serving, great volley’s, the match had it all, while Brad and Matt were able to dig in to win 10-8.
Meanwhile, Kingston showed its strength with only the one team now proving far too strong for Robe Rebels.
With the count down well and truly on until the end of the season with three games remaining the only team that can afford to lose is Naracoorte.
With three points separating the teams placed second to sixth this will be a highly contested run home.
This round got washed out in the first round so it will be interesting to see the results.
The Robe Roosters will have a task on their hands taking on the inform Kingston Crays while Millicent/Beachport travel back to grass to take on the wombats who will be hard to beat on grass.
The Eagles will be wanting a win badly over the Lucindale Koalas but if the Koalas are at full strength, they may be too good.
Lastly Naracoorte take on the Cockatoos at home and an easy win is expected, while Robe Rebels get the rest this week.
The exciting part of Southern Ports at the moment is the high standard of tennis throughout the teams being from places one to six in both men and women.
It is obviously great to have these young juniors showing so much potential, but it is just as great to see the senior players having highly contested matches with no one being a sure thing for a win.