Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Goulburn aims to take out country titles

Goulburn will be looking to go one better than last year’s runner-up effort at the Victorian Inter-regional Country Championships when this year’s competition starts tomorrow at Creswick.

HANNAH DRISCOLL January 2, 2014 4:51am

James Curtis-McDonald, Hope Curtis-McDonald, Jessica Mason and Bruce Ferguson are among the players heading to Creswick for the Victorian Inter-regional Country Championships.

The Goulburn region’s tennis team heads to Creswick today hoping to go one better at this year’s Victorian Inter-regional Country Championships.

The tournament, which will be played at Mount Prospect Lawn Tennis Club, pits the 11 country regions against each other, with points awarded based on how far players progress in their draw.

Goulburn finished runner-up last year to regional powerhouse Barwon, which won for a fifth consecutive time.

David Starling and Hope Curtis-McDonald dominated the 45-plus and 18-and-under events respectively, cleaning up in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

This year Curtis-McDonald will represent Goulburn in the open women category.

All Goulburn players will play singles, doubles and mixed doubles in their age-groups, except in the case of the 22-and-under men.

Nick Fenaughty, who won the mixed doubles last year with Emily Ryan, will only play singles due to a bad elbow, so Matt Starling will play the doubles and mixed doubles and James Curtis-McDonald will play all three.

Several Goulburn players have been seeded for the tournament, and Starling will go in top seed for all men’s seniors events after last year’s clean sweep.

He and Goulburn teammate Bruce Ferguson could once again meet in the men’s seniors singles final after Ferguson was named number-two seed and the pair is top seed for the doubles, while Starling and Sharon Clement are the top-seeded mixed doubles pair.

Vince Godden and Jordon Butts are the top boys’ 16-and-under doubles seed, and Kara Farrow and Jessica Mason are also top seed in the girls’ 18-and-under doubles.

It will be the first inter-regional tournament for Amy Mason, Hugo Kearney, Alex Rofe and Finlay Smith.

Team manager Heather Lees said the group sweltered in hot conditions last year at Swan Hill, but the conditions for Ballarat in the coming days were expected to be quite cool.

‘‘It’s a great event where you can go away as a team and have the senior players like David Starling and Bruce Ferguson right down to the little ones,’’ Lees said.

‘‘It’s a really good experience for them to be part of a team and some of the kids that are now in the 22s, the younger ones look up to those older kids, which I find is really good.’’

The tournament runs from tomorrow through to Sunday.

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