BDTA | Second time the charm for Avenel’s D2 team

By Meg Saultry

Avenel Tennis Club’s division two team earned redemption on Saturday, rebounding from a bitter grand final loss last season to hold off Benalla Lawn by four games in the 2019/20 Benalla District Tennis Association final.

Coming into the match, Benalla were considered hot favourites for the title after dominating the regular season to finish three matches clear of the second-placed Avenel.

And things started well for the home team, with Benalla’s Janine Rofe and Kylie Rofe combining for a comfortable 8-4 women’s victory, though Avenel’s Andrew and Lachie Rutherford ground out a tough 12-10 tiebreaker to win the first men’s rubber, 8-7.

With results continuing to roll in, Benalla and Avenel could barely be split, though it was Avenel who held the slight break, three games up ahead of the mixed.

And another two victories in the final three rubbers, including a second tiebreaker, meant Avenel held its margin by four at the end of the day.

Avenel’s Sally Littlewood said her team was incredibly happy to bring home the win.

“We came in thinking we hadn’t beaten Benalla before,” Littlewood said.

“On the day we managed it. We were happy to beat Terip Terip (last week) even to get to the final.

“We’re not always the most confident team so we were very happy to have a win here.”

Benalla Lawn’s Anthony Burgess said his team’s likely downfall came in the third men’s rubber, when Avenel’s Andrew Rutherford and Angus Murray took Burgess and Pitty to task for an easy 8-2 victory.

“That third men’s, we started off alright but then fell into a bit of a heap,” Burgess said.

Following the match, Avenel’s Andrew Rutherford won the best men’s player of the season.