Merimbula Tennis Club

2019 Vic 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.