Rich River and Rochester 1 will face off in the Campaspe Tennis Association grand final tomorrow.By Geordie Cowan
In a season when Rich River and Rochester 1 were scheduled to meet four times, a large unknown factor permeates tomorrow’s Campaspe Tennis Association section one grand final.
Two of the four fixtures were washed out and the other two were played at Rochester Lawn Tennis Club’s grass courts, with each team securing one win by eight games.
With the grand final to be held on Rich River Tennis Club’s synthetic courts, the home team has a slight advantage, which may ultimately play a part as both captains are expecting a close affair.
‘‘We always finish within six to eight games of each other, so it should be close,’’ Rich River captain Darren Short said.
Rich River earned its spot in the grand final after a consistent season in which it went to the top of the ladder after round two and did not relinquish it.
The team led by as much as 12 points from second place at times. After stumbling a bit towards the end of the season it finished level on points with Lockington-Bamawm United, but ahead on percentage.
Rich River then, in a close semi-final at Rochester, defeated LBU by just three games despite losing three more sets to book its spot in the grand final.
‘‘We had a really good start to the season but then we were patchy for the rest of the way,’’ Short said.
‘‘That (start) put us on top and we hung on until the end and then we were a bit lucky in the first final.’’
Despite the teams’ relative ladder positions, Rochester should be regarded as the favourite, but Rich River would enjoy the chance to play on its home courts, Short said.
‘‘I have to say they’re favourites. Despite being on top, I think they’re favourites given they beat us last time we played,’’ he said.
‘‘They love playing on a lawn surface, whereas most of our players hate the surface — but not the atmosphere — there.’’
Short said he regarded Todd Woodfine, playing as a three or four, to be a danger man, but Rich River had its own experienced player in a similar position with Darren Devereux.
‘‘I think the mixed sets will be the most important,’’ he said.
‘‘We would like to have a good lead to start with before playing those.’’
Rochester 1 has also enjoyed a good season but has had to endure a tougher run into the grand final.
After finishing in third spot, the team defeated clubmates and reigning premier Rochester 2 in the semi-final, before overcoming LBU in the preliminary final at Echuca Lawn last week.
Scores were locked at 54 games each before the mixed sets, where Rochester proceeded to win all four encounters to eventually triumph by 18 games.
‘‘It’s been a good year and we’ve had a good end to the season, so hopefully we work well together (tomorrow),’’ Rochester captain Karen Taylor said.
The captain thought Rich River had an advantage tomorrow playing on its home courts, but was hopeful Rochester could come together to succeed.
The visitors had a good mix to their team, Taylor said.
‘‘We have got some good kids playing. We have a couple of young boys who have played every math and they’ve done well,’’ she said.
‘‘Then we’ve got the older experienced players.
‘‘If the younger boys can turn it on and with Todd (Woodfine), Karl (Hansen) and Brett (Wileman) we have a wealth of experience.
‘‘The girls are fairly evenly matched.
‘‘It’ll just come down to who plays well on the day.
‘‘Hopefully we’ll have a great day, the weather’s good to us and Rochy brings our A game.’’
The match will start at 1pm at Rich River.
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