Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla tennis champs celebrate

Benalla Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club open champions crowned at the weekend.

March 5, 2014 10:32am

Top shots: Alex Rofe (left), 16, is Benalla Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club men’s open champion, pictured with runner-up Adrian Aldous.

It was a 12th consecutive women’s open championship title for Pip O’Donoghue and a surprise victory for Alex Rofe, 16, in the men’s open championship at the Benalla Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Sunday.

Pip O’Donoghue won her 12th consecutive women’s open championship with a straight sets win over Faye Chaszcziwsky 6-0, 6-4.

This was a repeat of the 2013 championship decider and the third time Chaszcziwsky had reached the final.

Any hopes of third time lucky for Chaszcziwsky were dashed with O’Donoghue rushing to a 6-0 win in the first set.

Chaszcziwsky fought back in the second with some good serving and ground shots taking, O’Donoghue to 6-4.

The men’s open championship looked to be going in straight sets to defending champion Adrian Aldous, until Alex Rofe, 16, found his feet halfway through the second set.

Rofe took the second set 6-3 breaking Aldous’ serve on two occasions and then went on to win the third set 6-3.

Aldous was impressed with his young opponent.

‘‘He played well, I was happy with my form and fitness, but when the returns kept coming back with a bit extra on them he made it very difficult,’’ Aldous said.

Aldous was looking for his ninth club championship which would see him just three championships short of Wayne Primmer’s record 12 titles for the men.

It has been a good year for Rofe who represented the Goulburn region in the annual tournament at Creswick in January with the team finishing second. In February Rofe also won the club’s under-18 boys championships.

While Rofe was playing his match, his younger sister Kylie was also playing her championship decider, the under-18 girls against Claire Marriott.

Marriott played strongly to win her third under-18 title in two sets 6-1, 6-4.

With the club championships now completed the Benalla Lawn Tennis Club is now focusing on this weekend’s Labour Day Tournament.

This will be the last Labour Day Tournament for the club which has moved its annual tournament to the Melbourne Cup weekend.

Club president Dave O’Donoghue is looking forward to a good showing this weekend for the final Labour Day tournament.

‘‘Our numbers had been dropping as there was too much competition over this weekend around the region, so we have decided to move our tournament to the Melbourne Cup weekend in November.

‘‘This will be our last tournament over the Labour Day weekend and we are hoping to have some good numbers and some great tennis for the final event,’’ O’Donoghue said.

Michael Thomson

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