Merimbula Tennis Club

Country Week


Bob Warren, Don Goodridge, Dennis Love, Stefan Bertella, Grant Smith, Paul Warren & John Rheinberger

Players from the Merimbula and Bega area again attended the Victorian Country Week Carnival of Tennis hosted this year by the Shepparton Tennis Club.

The club has 22 permanent pristine grass courts at the Shepparton centre and 10 minutes to the west at Mooroopna the club has 10 club courts and the council laid out a further 70 courts on two cricket ovals.

1237 players took part this year in over 200 teams (14 divisions of Ladies and 9 divisions of Gents teams).

The Merimbula Bunnies team this year consisted of the usual players Stefan Bertella, Dennis Love, John Rheinberger and father & son pair of Bob & Paul Warren. Don Goodridge returned after a year’s break and new recruit Grant Smith joined for the first time.

Merimbula returned to second division after a year in third division and reaching the semi finals. Three matches were scheduled for Monday with two each on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday before the 4pm semi finals.

It was decided to play Merimbula’s two best players in all three matches to see if the team could skip away to an early lead.

Paul Warren played with his father Bob and secured two wins 8-3 & 8-5 against the Bendigo All Stars while Grant Smith & Dennis Love picked up the other two sets 8-3 & 8-4 to give a convincing first round win to Merimbula.

The next match at noon was against the Garden Crocs, a made up Victorian team with one player from Darwin, hence the name Crocs. Paul paired with Don Goodridge to win their sets 8-1 & 8-2, Grant followed up with Stefan Bertella with a loss 4-8 in the first set and a convincing win 8-2 in the second set.

The third match of the day at 3pm was against Dubbo who Merimbula lost to last year in the semi-final by one game. Dubbo formed two teams of six each this year and entered their second team in division three. They were way too strong for Merimbula with Paul & John Rheinberger losing 1-8 & 5-8 and Grant & Bob losing 1-8 & 1-8.

This loss was a rude shock to Merimbula however at the end of the day they held second spot on the ladder.

Tuesday Merimbula regrouped against Spring Gully with Paul & Dennis winning 8-3 & 8-5 while Grant & John won the first set 8-5 and were a break down at 4-5 when a shower caused a cancellation of the match. With three sets completed Merimbula were awarded the win and collected a point for each of the sets and two points for the win.

The afternoon match against Traralgon Try Hards was another victory for Merimbula with Paul & Stefan losing the first set 5-8 but winning the second 8-4 while Grant & Don cruised to a win 8-1 & 8-5.

Wednesday’s 9am match was against Albury Ironbark. Paul & Dennis won the first set 8-5 but lost the second 6-8 while Grant & John won in a tie breaker 8-7 and lost 3-8 which gave Ironbark a win by two games.

Merimbula received the bye in the noon match and the team took some time out for the afternoon.

With teams starting to bunch up behind Merimbula’s second place it was decided to play the best team available against Tatura Longhorns. Grant & Don won their first match 8-1 but lost the second 6-8 while Paul & Dennis won 8-0 and lost 4-8 allowing Merimbula to collect the two winning points on games 26 to 17 & two sets all.

With 27 points on the board and the next four teams on 24, 23 & 21 it was decided to play Paul & Grant together against Ballarat Not our Faults in an attempt to gain one or two points and put Merimbula out of the reach in second place. This paid off with Paul & Grant winning the first match in a tie breaker and losing the second in a tie breaker.

However this meant feeding John & Stefan to the lions losing 0-8 & 2-8

The strategy paid off with Dubbo finishing way ahead on 47 points, Merimbula 28, Ironbark 27 and Not our Faults 26.

Without the one set won against Not our Faults, three teams would have finished on 27 and would have resulted in a countback to determine second, third & fourth positions.

As it turned out Not our Faults played Dubbo in one semi and lost three zip while Merimbula with stronger combinations of Paul & Dennis 8-5 & 8-2 and Grant & Don 8-5 excelled with a great win to reach the final on Friday morning.

Paul & Dennis played an outstanding game of tennis to take the first set off Dubbo in a tie breaker 8-7 while Grant & Don struggles in their game losing 2-8 to the much stronger Dubbo pair. Grant & Don doubled up against the other Dubbo pair and although down 2-6 they held on to gain three more games and lose 5-8.

Dubbo only required three games to put Merimbula out of reach of a win and the match was call off when Dubbo broke Paul’s serve to lead 3-2 and take the final.

A great week of tennis in mild weather and excellent courts will see that Merimbula enters at team next year’s Victorian Country Week of tennis at Wodonga.


Players from the Merimbula area again attended the Victorian Country Week Carnival of Tennis hosted by the Swan Hill Tennis Club.

The club has 51 permanent pristine grass courts and another 44 especially prepared on the adjoining soccer field curated and prepared by one groundsman. There was not a weed or bare patch to be seen on the 95 courts.

1200 players took part this year in some 200 teams (120 Ladies and 80 Gents teams) playing 24 grades.

The Merimbula Bunnies team consisted of John Rheinberger, John Gardiner, Stefan Bertella, Dennis Love  and father & son pair of Bob & Paul Warren.

A loss by three games against Bendigo/Horsham out on court 90 started the week but the Bunnies rebounded in the afternoon with a win against Kyabram by five games.

Bob Warren celebrated his birthday on Tuesday morning by playing the morning match against Dubbo with his son Paul and they recorded two victories 8-6 & 8-6. The two John’s followed up with an 8-5 victory and 3-8 loss to record an overall win by two games.

Paul & John Gardiner paired for the afternoon match against Camden and recorded two victories. Dennis & Stefan paired to gain valuable games for the team and record a 3 game win for the Bunnies.

Wednesday morning saw a strong south westerly wind making conditions difficult for all the players however Bob & John Rheinberger were able to play well in the conditions and record an 8-6 first match win. Paul & John Gardiner followed up with 8-6 & 8-4 sets to give the Bunnies a three set to one and two game victory over Wodonga.

Old hands Dennis & Bob paired in the afternoon against Geelong and won both sets 8-6 & 8-7 while John Rheinberger played with junior Paul to pick up the other two sets for the match win.

Thursday’s match against West Wyalong was drawn on court 20, right in front of the clubhouse and gave the match some extra atmosphere. Bunnies came away with the first three sets and the fourth set was unfinished at 4 games all.

This final win enabled Merimbula to move into first place going into the semi finals with Bendigo in second, Wodonga third and Dubbo fourth after losing their first four matches.

All semi finals were scheduled for 4pm and each match allocated two courts.

John Rheinberger & Bob Warren took on Dubbo’s second pairing and played tentative tennis with John dropping all three serves while Bob served well to hold his two serves but they went down 2-8.

Meanwhile Paul Warren & John Gardiner played a very aggressive high level match and skinned their opposition 8-2 to square the match.

The cross over doubles was no better for John & Bob and they lost 1-8, Paul & John continued their high level of play and won 8-2 however it was not enough to cover the deficit and Dubbo advanced to the finals on Friday morning.

Meanwhile Bendigo moved into the final with a 5 game win over Wodonga.

Bendigo defeated Dubbo by five games to take out the Special B 2 division.

A great week of tennis was enjoyed by all and they will team up again next year at Shepparton.


Victorian Country Week of Tennis is the “largest grass court event in the world”;

1200 players taking part,

4700 games played

1728 tennis balls used.

1040 lines were marked using 180 litres of line marker

The curator Daniel Gardner walked over 100 kms during the event.

1000 egg and bacon rolls were eaten by weary morning participants,

500 scotch fillet steaks were consumed.

1500 Dim Sims,

2025 Pies and Sausage Rolls

2450 chicken & salad rolls were enjoyed.

100kgs of Fruit Salad was prepared

500 Salad boxes

2200 sandwiches eaten.

720 wraps were made using 45kgs of carrots and 192 lettuce with many other fillings.

5000 bottles of water kept players hydrated.

50 plus hardworking volunteers from the Swan Hill Lawn Tennis Club working together with Tennis Victoria event managers contributed to the wonderful event presentation that the club displayed.

Swan Hill teams had the shortest drive to get to Country Week.

Others had a bigger trip with players travelling from as far as the United Kingdom, Darwin, Coffs Harbour and Dubbo.

Mick Keogh of Wangaratta is the most senior Country Week player at the age of 80.

(Source Tennis Victoria)