Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Almost 300 in Deniliquin for tennis tournament

As well as being a massive success, the Deniliquin Lawn Tennis Club's annual Easter tournament featured several locals playing in grand finals.

April 25, 2014 3:50am

Open men's champion John Zahra with runner-up Joel Smith.

The 73rd Western Riverina Open Tennis Championships welcomed more than 280 players to the Deniliquin Lawn Tennis Club over the Easter long weekend.

The three-day tournament started on Saturday and wrapped up on Monday with many competitors making the trip up from Melbourne.

Deniliquin tennis star Joel Smith advanced through to the final of the open men’s singles, but was eventually beaten by Cranbourne visitor John Zahra, 6-3 6-4.

Another local player, Dylan Moran, who moved to Deni from Coffs Harbour earlier this year, was knocked out in the open semi finals.

Moran had a busy tournament, also taking out the men’s A grade singles.

Deniliquin tennis players also featured in the final of the open men’s doubles. Dean Irwin and Joel Smith, who have won five titles in the past seven years, put up a brave fight against Hayden Fricke and David Newstead, but were eventually overcome by the visitors.

The enthralling match went for three sets, 4-6 6-3 7-5.

Fricke, who has been a great supporter of the Deniliquin tournament for many years, had another win when he partnered Frank Peppard to win the veteran men’s doubles.

Deniliquin’s Barry Barlow and his daughter Gabby played off in the mixed doubles final, but were beaten by Melanie Lasslett and Mitch Benstead, 6-1 7-5.

The open ladies doubles saw Bonnie and Jenny Pearson defeat Judy Hoopell and Sharon Frawley 6-4 6-1 in the final.

‘‘Overall it was a very succesful tournament and we were happy with how everything went,’’ Barry Barlow, one of the event’s organisers, said.

‘‘The round-robin matches in the B grade men’s and ladies, and the B and C grade mixed doubles had very competitive numbers.

‘‘We had quite a number of good comments made from players about the event and some of the visitors said they would be bringing friends along next year.

‘‘I want to thank Barb Lyne for managing the canteen and all the people who worked in the bar; it’s a very tough job when you have so many players here.’’

Barlow said he was also appreciative of the $6000 grant the Deniliquin Lawn Tennis Club received from the NSW Government, which was used to run the tournament, and in particular of Nationals Member for Murray-Darling John Williams who helped secure the grant.

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