Grand final berth at stake as Epsom and South Bendigo meet in BTA preliminary final

A GRAND final berth is at stake when Epsom faces South Bendigo in Friday night’s Bendigo Tennis Association premier league preliminary final.

Spring Gully Butterflies will await the winner of this clash in the Quest Bendigo Central-backed pennant on the Spring Gully courts from 6pm.

Although Epsom finished the regular season higher on the ladder, South Bendigo has a 3-1 lead in this season’s meetings.

A fortnight ago the Jordan Hicks-led South Bendigo defeated Epsom, 8-63 to 7-60.

The preliminary final will begin with the doubles contests.

In round 19, Hicks and Ryan Leader teamed up to beat Guy and Jack Baker, and Ben Bailey and Robbins defeated Grant Leader and Peter Somerville.

Hicks beat Guy in straight sets, and Grant Leader did the same against Bailey.

Epsom’s victories in the singles rounds were Baker against Ryan Leader, and Robbins against Somerville.

After starting the season with consecutive losses and then a washout, Epsom’s first victory of the 2016-17 campaign was a four-game win against South Bendigo in the fourth round.

Since then South has won the duels of the preliminary finalists by two sets, 24 games and three games.

Epsom’s line-up in week one of the finals was Guy, Baker, Brad Slingo and Mark Semmens.

South Bendigo’s winning team was Hicks, Ryan and Grant Leader, and Somerville.

Meanwhile, finals action rolls on to Saturday when Spring Gully Panthers takes on Bendigo Lawn Stingers in the section one preliminary final from 1pm at Bendigo Lawn Tennis Club in Barnard Street.

Play will be on courts five, six, seven and eight.

The record from this season’s duels between Stingers and Panthers stands at 3-1 in favour of the Bendigo Lawn team.

Stingers won in rounds two and seven by 14 and 10 games.

Panthers clawed their way to a six-game victory in the 12th round.

Closest result was in the 17th round when Stingers won 6-68 to 4-64.

It was a memorable start to the section one finals last Saturday.

Panthers pushed Spring Gully clubmates Phoenix all the way.

Phoenix won 5-63 to 5-62.

The Panthers line-up in week one of the finals was Riley Hamilton, Kevin Sourgen, Brendon Taylor, Debbie Bish and Justine Fitzgibbon.

Stingers played brilliant tennis to beat Spring Gully Racqueteers by three games.

The Bendigo Lawn team which kept premiership hopes alive was Andrew Webster, Alex Neave, Paul Henshall, Polly Barnett, Rennae Blencowe and Tayla Hayton.