In a decidedly strange finish to the division one Barossa Light Gawler summer tennis season, the final week of the minor round saw a dress rehearsal for the first week of the finals, an effective ‘playoff’ between fifth and sixth, and a week of respite for the seventh, and last-placed team.
The unbeaten Xavier Saints travelled to Nuriootpa in a battle of first and second on the ladder.
In a result foretold by Xavier star Robert ‘Complete-o’ Polito only two weeks ago, Nuriootpa 10-92 dealt Xavier 6-77 the “loss they had to have” just seven days out from the playoffs.
Xavier went into the match without Indi-Arna “three wins” Morris, Mel Leeflang, and ‘Complete-o’ Polito himself.
This result smacks of an orchestrated loss, designed to release the pressure that a 17-week unbeaten run would place on the peerless Saints.
With Morris and Leeflang due back for Xavier this weekend, normal service should be resumed and see the Saints safely through to the grand final in two weeks time.
Third-placed Kapunda hosted fourt-placed Tanunda, with the Bombers taking out a convincing 13- 96 to 3-56 victory.
Kapunda is flexing its muscle at the business end of the season with classy spearheads Tom Christley and Georgie Rowett striking ominous form this week.
Tanunda were without Trent ‘The Baker’ Reilly and top lady Julia Smith, but even with their imminent return, it would take a brave person to suggest that Tanunda could reverse a season long three-match head-to-head losing streak against the red-hot Bombers juggernaut in this weekend’s elimination final.
Fifth-placed Tod St 12-97 took predictable revenge on South Lyndoch 4-67 following a round 13 upset win by Lyndoch, which derailed Tod St’s entire season.
As usual, Tod St’s men were ridiculously good, winning all eight sets with consummate ease.
“In division two, Willaston and Roseworthy look destined to meet in the grand final this season”
The two faces of South were plain to see this week, with Sue Ruciack most prominent with a pair of doubles wins.
For South, the chasm between their best and their worst was simply too vast this season.
For Tod St, this was a season, and sadly an opportunity, lost.
Seventh place Vine Vale had, and for the most part this season were, the bye.
Unless they recruit aggressively in the off-season, Vine Vale should be forced to swallow their pride and take up the challenge to division two heavyweights Willaston and Roseworthy next season.
In division two, Willaston and Roseworthy look destined to meet in the grand final, with Lyndoch and Tod St Blue standing little chance of toppling either in the next fortnight.