Following a complete non-starter of a season in 2020 and a series of unofficial competitions in 2021, The Galbraith Tennis Leagues are back and underway, writes Hamish McBain.
In the first round of matches, the Elgin women’s B team scored an overwhelming victory, defeating their Kingussie visitors 7-2.
Teresa Tait and Angela McWilliam won their matches 6-4, 7-5, and 6-4, 6-2. Jenny Murdoch and Isla Dickinson claimed a 6-4, 2-6, 10-8 and played out an unfinished match 3-6, 7-5.
The club’s other two teams were involved in much tighter affairs.
The first string overcame a tough challenge from Inverness A to win 5-4.
Jasmin Taylor and Dawn Phillips set the team on course to victory with two fine wins: 6-3, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-0.
However, June Buchan and Tanya Mackechnie did not fare so well, losing heavily to the visitors’ top pair but, in their second rubber, the Elgin couple did exactly what was required of them – win one set.
Indeed, they came mighty close to winning the rubber only losing out by two points (9-11) in the match tie-break.
Meanwhile, also playing in the Highland capital, the Elgin C side went down 5-4 to Inverness B.
Lisa Nairn and Jenny Milne set the team on course for a victorious evening but the loss of a set in their contest with the homesters’ number ones was to prove crucial as the second pairing of Sarah Macdonald and Carol Tafi lost all four of their sets.
The Elgin men’s A team, on the face of it, cruised to victory over a strong Grantown foursome.
As is so often the case, the visitors did put up a fair fight as the individual rubbers show.
Keith Meisner and Richard Wormald won 6-1, 7-5, then came out on top 7-5, 6-4.
Zen McClure and Tom Elwick won their first contest 7-5, 6-4 and their second one 6-1, 6-3.
Elgin’s team has been strengthened this year with the return of Keith Meisner.
The big challenge this season for all the Division 1 teams comes from the newly promoted Bellfield Park. Can Meisner’s presence help the Duff Avenue outfit get the better of their Inverness opponents?
At Forres Tennis Club, the opening evening was to produce even more excitingly close encounters.
The Forres A women were edged out in the derby match, at home, against Nairn B.
Sarah Henbrey & Shona Marshall lost 6-3, 3-6, 4-10 and played out an unfinished 6-2 match. Janette Ker and Joanne Lang lost 3-6, 5-7 but then won 6-1, 1-6, 10-7.
The Forres men’s A team were also at home, playing Inverness A, settling for a 5-4 scoreline, the big difference being that the result was in favor of the Forresian team.
After the first-round, honors were even as Matty Douglas and Eric Janousec stormed to a 6-4, 6-2 win but second seeds Steve Barker and Gavin Ross 3-6, 0-6.
So, it was all to play for. The first seeds Douglas and Janousec scored a double victory with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 win over the visitors’ second pair.
Barker and Ross did enough, taking one set to ensure the three points went to their team.
Rothes Tennis Club’s opening fixture resulted in a crushing 8-0 win for the women at home to Grantown.
Johanne Dunn and Maureen Turner won 6-1, 6-1, then 6-0, 6-0. Alannah Ayres and Marjory Stronach won 6-2, 6-2 in the first, 7-5, 6-3 in the second match.
The mixed league kicked off on Monday evening with the Rothes A team at home to Inverness B.
The whiskey towners have been pipped at the promotion post several times, and will no doubt be out to get the job done this year.
First up for the Rothesians in their quest to reach the topflight, was the visit of Inverness B.
The club’s top pairing of Michelle Fraser and Peter Scott made short shrift of the opposition in their own inimitable way 6-0, 6-1, then 6-1, 6-0.
Maureen Turner and Martin Johnston lost out to the visiting top seeds, but they needed a second set breaker to gain the win.
Turner and Johnston then had a big tussle against the Inverness second couple.
Having lost the first set 3-6, they fought back to draw level 6-2. The match breaker was never in doubt with the Rothesians taking it 10-4.
Four young members of the Rothes club – Bradley Scott, Fraser Scott, Liam Anderson and Jack McConnachie – have been representing Speyside High School in the Scottish Schools Cup.
In the first round they overcame the challenge from Elgin Academy without dropping a set.
They then had to travel to play Aboyne Academy, and in a very tight contest they won by four rubbers to two; 8-7 in sets.
Bradley Scott lost 5-7, 6-7, Fraser Scott won 4-6, 6-3, 10-8, Anderson was 6-1 ahead when his match was conceded, then McConnachie won 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.
The two Scotts lost 5-7, 6-7 before Anderson and McConnachie won 6-7, 7-6, 11-9.
According to the draw the quartet have a trip to Edinburgh to look forward to. They play the winner of the match between George Heriot’s School and Fettes College in the quarter-final.
Two Moray clubs have entered this year’s Scottish Cup men’s and women’s events.
The Rothes women’s team play host to Cults (Aberdeen) on Saturday from 11am and the men, also at home, start at 2pm against Dunfermline.
Elgin’s men have also entered on the national stage.
Women, Division 1
Inverness A 4 Elgin A 5
Elgin B 8 Kingussie2
Forres A 4 Nairn B 5
Inverness B 5 Elgin C 4
Moray & Strathspey
Rothes 8 Grantown 0
Elgin A 8 Grantown A 0
Forres A 5 Inverness A 4
Elgin C conceded Lossiemouth w/o (counted as 0-5)
Inverness B 5 Kingussie 6
Rothes A 6 Inverness B 3
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