A clear divide is emerging in the Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association’s premier one competition.
The penultimate round before the Christmas break was played on Saturday, with the division’s top three sides all tasting success.
Pacesetter Tatura produced a fine display on the road to take care of Shepparton Bulls by a commanding 16-game margin.
Tatura prevailed 6-58 to 2-42, with Katie Ferguson featuring in the Bulls’ two winning rubbers.
Ferguson downed Sharon Clement 8-3 in a singles tie before partnering Damion O’Callaghan to a hard-fought 8-7 mixed doubles triumph against Tim Lanyon and Clement.
David Starling, Lanyon and Brooke Starling ensured Tatura got off to a flying start in the singles rubbers.
The battle between David Starling and Tim James was billed to be an epic, but Starling controlled proceedings throughout for an 8-3 result, one of three wins he enjoyed for the day.
Brooke Starling also went through undefeated, highlighted by an 8-5 singles success against Issy Gribben.
Shepparton Hornets remain in second spot after accounting for a plucky Echuca combination.
The team from the border headed across the Goulburn Valley looking for a first win of the campaign and threatened at times in the tie.
Harley McCarthy’s contribution delivered Echuca two rubbers, the first coming courtesy of an 8-3 singles win against Nick Gattuso.
He then partnered Regan More in an 8-5 men’s doubles defeat of Gattuso and James Curtis-McDonald.
But the Hornets responded when required as Hope Curtis-McDonald and Gabby Dwyer recorded an 8-4 victory against Leanne More and Jordan Townrow.
The Curtis-McDonald twins then combined for a mixed doubles triumph, the first of two for the Hornets in the 5-50 to 3-35 result.
The closest match of the top-flight round came at Numurkah where the home side Warriors sealed a narrow 4-53 to 4-47 victory against Shepparton Lakers.
Nick Fenaughty set the tone for a bold showing from the Warriors, downing Lakers ace Luke Dixon in a cracking encounter 8-6.
The tie saw the rubbers traded as the Lakers worked their way into the contest before Numurkah found another answer to reply.
Fenaughty and Helene Steward’s 8-4 defeat of Dixon and Olivia Quigley sealed the points for the Warriors.
●In premier two, Dhurringile-Stanhope and Kialla Park remain unbeaten following their seventh straight victories on Saturday.
Dhurringile-Stanhope thumped Cobram by 58 games and the Parkers got the job done at home, defeating Tongala by 17 games.
Shepparton Lawn Giants, Numurkah Raiders, Shepparton Lawn Jets and Shepparton Lawn Saints also recorded wins in round eight.