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Shepparton Bears hunting players

Shepparton Bears are struggling to put a team together for the resumption of Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association's Premier One season due to a number of players being unavailable.

HANNAH DRISCOLL January 10, 2014 4:05am

Shepparton Bears face a challenge before it even gets onto the court this weekend — if it does at all.

The Bears’ Bruce Ferguson said the team was struggling to find enough players for the first round of Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association Premier One this year.

Jessica Mason, Kara Ferguson and Hope and James Curtis-McDonald are playing in the Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships at Wodonga, with the tournament running until Sunday, and Issy Gribben is involved with the Australian Open.

Ferguson and John Evans were the only two players confirmed yesterday afternoon to be able to play and Ferguson said he had so far been unable to find fill-ins.

He was not sure if the Bears would be able to source enough players for tomorrow’s match against Kialla Park, but said he would not know until tonight.

‘‘Hoping a couple of them will be out of the tournament by then, not that I want them to lose or anything like that, but if they are then we might only need one or two fill-ins, but it’s very difficult,’’ Ferguson said.

‘‘I’ve been ringing around trying to find people and there’s a lot of people away on holidays and I haven’t been able to find any fill-ins.

‘‘Hopefully we can get a team and hopefully we’ll be right, but I just don’t know.’’

Most of the other Premier One teams were still trying to find players for this weekend.

Cobram and Tatura’s teams were sorted, but Tatura’s David Starling said he had decided not to take a group of players to a tournament in Melbourne this year otherwise himself and two players from his team would have been unavailable.

Jarrod Bingham said the Shepparton Bombers had five players, but only two were from the regular team and they still needed one more woman, and Echuca-Rich River and Kialla Park both needed one more man, the latter because Luke Dixon is at a conference in Melbourne.

Dixon said while Shepparton Bears looked like they would be weakened, he still expected them to put a strong side on the court.

Kialla Park is fourth on the ladder with three wins, but three losses, including in round five against the Bears, were by less than 10 games, and he was confident his players were ‘‘doing all the right things’’.

‘‘There’s been a few matches here or there where one or two sets haven’t gone our way and that seems to decide it for the rest of the day and we lost by a set or a couple of games,’’ Dixon said.

‘‘I don’t think there is anything different they need to be doing, hopefully we can catch a break really and win a couple of those tight ones and that should turn things in our favour.’’

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