Long floats like a butterfly, McGann feels sting of bee

April 03, 2018

Eliza Long capped a spectacular summer by holding up the Cheryl Cottrell Open Women’s Plate at the Shepparton Easter Tennis Tournament yesterday.

Eliza Long produced a fierce showing to take out back-to-back Easter tournament wins.

Five time Shepparton Easter Tennis Tournament winner Carolyn McGann has been runner-up the past two years.

Carolyn McGann was stung twice in yesterday’s Shepparton Easter Tennis Tournament top tier women’s grand final.

One came from Eliza Long, with the Bendigo-based player claiming back-to-back titles 6-1, 6-3.

The first sting though came after conceding the first set with McGann having to overcome an obstacle in her quest to turn her form around.

Thanks to some stellar sportsmanship from Long, McGann was back playing her best tennis after being stung by a bee.

‘‘I think it was at the start of the second set and she said ‘I’ve just been stung by a bee’ and I had a look and there was a stinger there, so I removed it for her, but that’s my Good Samaritan duty done for the day,’’ Long said with a smile.

‘‘I actually think she started playing better, she got a bit of extra pace on her serve out there.

‘‘She’s a lovely girl, very easy to get along with, we’ve played a lot of enjoyable matches together and there’s always fair calling, so it’s just all about the good tennis.’’

The match did not look like the whitewash the scoreline indicated, with five-time previous winner McGann displaying why she has been a champion so many times on the Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club courts.

A classy point placed in the corner of the court could only draw applause from Long who defended her title from last year.

In similar circumstances, Long claimed her second championship having last year defeated McGann 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

But Long did not put any expectations on herself heading into this year’s edition of the tournament, as the personable player was happy to again be on Shepparton’s courts.

‘‘I suppose I didn’t really think about it, I think for this tournament I get excited more for the fun aspect of it and tennis is kind of the side perk, so I didn’t feel too much pressure,’’ she said.

Along with her individual success, Long held up the Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association pennant flag along with her Shepparton Bulls side this season.

Adding the class of Long to the side greatly enhanced its chances of winning the title, although she will be winding down her tennis commitments in the coming months.

‘‘I obviously really like these courts, it’s more the atmosphere and the way everyone can sit on the courts and watch, I think it brings out your best tennis when you’re enjoying it,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ll have a bit of a rest, it’s been a long summer of tournaments, so I’ll be in a pennant team (in Melbourne over the winter).’’

Long will be aiming to claim another win over McGann in the Melbourne competition, with McGann’s side defeating Long’s in the most recent grand final.

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