Mates bounce back to edge out rivals for A-grade Open victory

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Michael Offerman was part of the winning men’s A-grade combination.
Camera IconMichael Offerman was part of the winning men’s A-grade combination. Credit: Laurie Benson

The dream team pairing of close mates Declan Mountford and Michael Offerman have recovered from a slow start to claim the men’s A-grade title at the annual Albany Open tennis tournament held at Emu Point Tennis Club.

Having grown up here together, the young pairing made the trip back home to take part in the 2019 edition as Offerman made it back-to-back victories.

Offerman won the men’s A-grade title last year, and with a new partner won a very tight finish on Saturday.

Mountford and Offerman made amends for their slow start to finish with 42 points, narrowly edging out Les Bairstow and Vincent Brochard (41.5 points).

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Declan Mountford serves.
Camera IconDeclan Mountford serves. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Bairstow and the hard-hitting Brochard actually beat Offerman and Mountford in their match-up, but the title is decided on points won across all matches.

Sisters Clare King and Alexandra Riggall produced a strong set of results in the ladies’ A-grade to emerge with successive victories after their 31 points were enough to edge out Sam Capararo and Nicky Thompson (25 points).

Glenda Jones and Jackie Brennan formed a winning team in the ladies’ B-grade, as they collected 32.25 points to win the title from Bec Jefferis and Wendy Birch (23.5).

Tom Street plays a forehand.
Camera IconTom Street plays a forehand. Credit: Albany Advertiser

With strong numbers, the men’s B-grade was split into two divisions in the regular games before the top two pairings met each other in a final.

Greg Cook and Grant Baker defeated Ben Adam and Andrew Bushell to claim the B-grade honours.

Khazim Khap.
Camera IconKhazim Khap. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The mixed doubles was played in searing temperatures on Sunday, Riggall teaming up with Nathan Watson to win the A-grade division with 59 points from runners-up Maddi and Aaron Crofts (46.5).

In the B-grade final, Jarrod Capararo and Kellie Bairstow beat Nelson Stanborough and Katrina Perich.

Nelson Stanborough in action.
Camera IconNelson Stanborough in action. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Despite the warm conditions across both days, 80-year-old Dennis Hewett provided plenty of inspiration for players after hitting the court on both Saturday and Sunday.

Tournament co-ordinator Richard Piggott said everything ran smoothly.

“We had 110 players all up, 65 on the first day and 45 on the second day,” he said.

Gail Sprigg plays a backhand.
Camera IconGail Sprigg plays a backhand. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We were delighted, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback plus great support from club members and sponsors and we hopefully can do it all again next year.”

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