Tennis champs dominate final

Albany Advertiser
Aaron Crofts stretches to return.
Camera IconAaron Crofts stretches to return. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany tennis champion Glenn Thompson has atoned for last year’s loss in the Albany Open men’s A-grade final by teaming with Katanning’s Peter Rundle to take the 2015 title in dominant fashion.

While entries were down for the region’s biggest annual doubles tennis tournament, there was a star-studded field in men’s A-grade with a host of past winners and runners-up taking to the courts.

Despite their best efforts, they were no match for the heavy top-spin and consistent ground strokes of Thompson and Rundle, who didn’t drop a match all day.

Playing a round-robin format on Saturday, the pair amassed a whopping 66.25 games, well clear of eventual runners-up Nathan Watson and Aaron Crofts on 42 games.

The big-hitting combination of Watson and Crofts struggled for consistency at times during the day, but were able to play their best tennis often enough to finish second, just ahead of Les Bairstow and Stephen Kerr who made a late run and finished on 41 games.

Michelle Cook and Maddi Crofts teamed up again in women’s A-grade and went one better than their runner-up result last year, taking the title ahead of Cathy Beach and Vicki Eaton.

Like the winning top-grade men’s pair, Cook and Crofts dominated play, winning all their matches to finish on 52 games, almost 12 ahead of Beach and Eaton.

It was a closer result in women’s B-grade, with just over two games separating the winners from the runners-up.

Accumulating 32.35 games, Bec Jefferis and Kirsty Pearce pipped Clara Willock and Michelle van der Brugge on 30.25 games for the title.

Like last year, the men’s B-grade was full of entries and split into two groups, with the top pair from each group playing off in the final.

That pitted Mark Loveridge and Russ Cooper against reigning champions Ray Willock and Greg Cook.

It was an entertaining final, with both sides producing some of their best shots to the applause of onlookers, but despite their best efforts, Willock and Cook could not get the result on the day and Loveridge and Cooper were crowned the new champions.

Mixed doubles was played on Sunday, with the A-grade field the strongest line-up in many years and again stacked with past champions and runners-up.

The result reflected the depth of talent, with less than a game separating the top three teams.

At the end of play it was brother-sister combination Aaron and Maddi Crofts who were on top, taking the title for a second consecutive year, while Les Bairstow and Vicki Eaton were runners-up, just ahead of Glenn Thompson and Rachel Bowman, with last year’s runners-up Nathan Watson and Michelle Cook in fourth.

B-grade mixed doubles was again split into two divisions, Chris and Kelsey Wright facing Ray and Clara Willock in the final.

Despite some big-hitting from Chris and the youthful energy of Kelsey, the Willocks’ experience won out.

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