The Country All-Stars team, which features Shepparton's Luke Dixon, is set to debut this weekend in Tennis Victoria's Premier League.MARC MCGOWAN March 1, 2013 4:10am
Luke Dixon (second from right) is Goulburn Valley’s sole Country All-Stars representative, but the likes of Shepparton’s Nick Gattuso (far left) could contend for a spot in the future.
Tennis Victoria country director Ken Barton says the inaugural Country All-Stars team will be out to prove tonight and beyond its players are just as capable as their metropolitan counterparts.
The All-Stars make their Premier League debut tonight against the might of Kooyong at Royal South Yarra before backing up against MCC at Doveton on Sunday.
Shepparton’s Luke Dixon is part of the 15-man All-Stars squad, but is not playing tonight or on Sunday.
‘‘Traditionally there’s a bit of, ‘Are country players as good as metropolitan players?’,’’ Barton said. ‘‘It will say a lot if this team is competitive and it really does indicate the importance of producing champions from country areas.
‘‘Australia has a strong history of that occurring and sometimes it’s tough for country guys to get the opportunity and feel as if they’re good enough.’’
Barton said the sole criterion for the All-Stars was a minimum of 50 per cent of the team had to be from the country.
‘‘That was put in there to ensure the team was competitive, because there was some concern,’’ he said.
‘‘But what’s happened is the response has been so strong, in terms of players originally from the country, that the (50 per cent) requirement is not as significant as what it was first thought to be.
‘‘The team, on paper, looks very competitive and it will be interesting to see how it does perform.’’
Dixon’s teammates are Australian Junior Davis Cup player Harry Bourchier, Andrew Gregory, Ryan Palfrey, Matt Hicks, Jayde Culph, Mark Shanahan, Curt Garwood, Aiden Fitzgerald, Mitchell Allman, Adam Fleming, Paul Rowbottom, Matt Maloney, Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Robinson.
Bendigo-based Fleming is the team captain.
Barton said Bendigo Tennis Association executive officer Leon Retallick and Tennis Victoria tennis operations manager Nick Hinneberg had played leading roles in the All-Stars’ inception.
‘‘This is a great opportunity where country kids can see that, without going to the city, they have the opportunity to compete in these competitions,’’ he said. ‘‘Traditionally players would have had to secure a spot at a metropolitan-based club, so that’s exciting in that it’s the best country players.’’
The Country All-Stars will compete against Grace Park, MCC, Royal South Yarra, Kooyong Lawn TC, Dingley TC and Waverley.
There are seven rounds before the semi-final and final are held on April 12 and 14, respectively.
Shepparton Gators crushed Geelong Supercats on Sunday to record their 12th straight Big V basketball win in a row
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
MORE than 130 camp oven enthusiasts turned up to the Torrumbarry Hotel for its annual camp oven cook off.
Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
About 7600 residents served by Goulburn Valley Water are affected by a boil-water advisory.
Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The second Koonoomoo Pickers and Packers Charity Ball came to town on the weekend, and was bigger and better than ever.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The second annual National Herd Development Victorian Winter Fair was in action at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre last Wednesday and Thursday.
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