HOME-COURT advantage could be a key factor for South Bendigo in Friday night’s premier league tennis clash with Epsom.
Round nine in the Quest Bendigo Central-backed competition run by the Bendigo Tennis Association features matches in Flora Hill, Spring Gully and Bendigo.
On a five-game winning streak, Epsom is just two points behind the ladder-leading Spring Gully Butterflies.
Friday’s match is a crucial one for South Bendigo, which is fifth on 19 points, but just two points behind Bendigo Lawn Quest.
A talented Epsom team includes Jono Guy who has a sets win-loss record of 22-13 across six matches.
Jack Baker, Ben Bailey, Mark Semmens and Brad Slingo teamed up with Guy in last week’s win against the Butterflies.
South Bendigo will look for big games in the singles and doubles from the likes of Grant Leader, Jordan Hicks, Peter Somerville and Mick Mulgrew.
The South Bendigo and Epsom match starts at 6.30pm on the Neale Street courts in Flora Hill.
Stung by defeat last round, Bendigo Lawn Quest and Spring Gully Butterflies face-off at Spring Gully from 6.30pm.
Despite an 11-game loss to Epsom in round eight, Spring Gully is still top of the ladder.
A superb season by Jamie Brown has included a 25-14 record in seven matches.
Lachlan Perdon, 16-7 in four hit-outs, and Matt Hartland, 18-11 in five, and Danielle Bowles add to Gully’s power.
Quest’s number one player, Isaac Watson has a 21-9 record in six matches and will play a key role.
Stuart Johansen could also trouble the Butterflies in the singles and doubles.
Bendigo Lawn Rising will play Strathfieldsaye on courts five, six, seven and eight at the Bendigo Lawn Tennis Club.
This match starts at the earlier time of 5pm on the Barnard Street courts.
The third-placed Strathfieldsaye will start favourite against the sixth-placed Rising.
A hat-trick of wins by Strathfieldsaye includes last week’s four-game victory against Quest.
Eliza Long has played just three matches for Rising this season.
The inclusion of Long would lift Rising’s hopes substantially for this match against a line-up that has the experience of Michael Smyth, Tova Penno, Nick Bath, and the power of Easton Smyth.
The play of Lachlan Hewitt, Jeremy Abel and Jacob Grieves will be vital to Lawn Rising’s bid for an upset victory.