Teams from three clubs have taken out North West Tennis League titles for 2020, headlined by the Burnie Eagles’ hard-fought A-Grade victory over Devonport City at Burnie Tennis Club on Saturday.
The Burnie side (pictured above) claimed the first two rubbers, with Ben Cawston avenging a regular season singles loss to Devonport’s Sam Whitehead to open the Eagles’ account, followed by a doubles win to Shaun Summers and Connor Parke over City duo Jake Elmer and Jake Gleeson.
Things took a turn when Whitehead and Whitehead teamed up to hand Cawston and Summers their first doubles defeat of the season, and when Elmer won the first set of his singles match against Parkes the momentum had well and truly shifted in Devonport’s favour.
Parkes rallied however, digging deep to take the second set before seizing the super tie-breaker 10-4, along with the title.
The A-Reserve final saw two Devonport Tennis Club sides meet, with the Eugene Street Elks claiming victory over the Back Street Bandits by a single set, with David Robinson a standout for the victors.
Wynyard/Somerset overcame a resilient Latrobe Demons outfit in the B-Grade final, taking out two super tie-breakers and emerging victorious, despite the efforts of division player of the year Jamie Fawkner.
Summers was pleased with the level of support the finals day received from the North West community, with all three deciders held at the Burnie Tennis Club.
“All of the matches were super close and it was pretty loud throughout the day; there was a lot of barracking,” he said.
“The stands were half-full on Saturday, which you never see unless there an international event on.”
Reflecting on the season, Summers sang the praises of the players, singling out the younger competitors for embracing the competition in 2020.
“The improvement in the league over the last four seasons has been out of sight,” he said.
“Sam Whitehead is to be credited with bringing Launceston-based players into the league.”
“He’s played every season and as it’s grown, he’s brought more players with him.”
“Oliver Hadley and Jake Elmer are two of the best under 18 players in the state, and when you add that to the returning US college players we’ve had involved, it’s an impressive standard.”
Players from the region are hopeful of an announcement of a Tri-Series event involving teams from the North and South of the state in the coming weeks.
North West Tennis League Players of the Year Awards:
A-Grade: Shaun Summers (Burnie Eagles)
A-Reserve: Shane Ruffles (Latrobe)
B-Grade: Jamie Fawkner (Latrobe Demons)