GM1 premier - Numurkah Warriors

By Tyler Maher

A thrilling finish to the Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association GM1 season capped a brilliant summer for the competition.

After ruining Tatura’s unbeaten season in the first final, Numurkah Warriors doubled down on their efforts to snare the ultimate glory at Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday.

The Warriors held on for a one-game win against the Cockroaches, despite losing the final two rubbers.

The Tatura combinations of David and Brooke Starling and Bruce Ferguson and Leanne Moore won the mixed doubles clashes to finish the grand final, but the ability of the Warriors to stay in the battles eventually had them crowned champions — alongside two other Numurkah outfits.

‘‘It was a fantastic weekend for our team and our club with the other two teams winning as well. It was a great feeling,’’ Warriors captain Mark Mills said.

‘‘We went into the mixed doubles five games up, so we had a tiny bit of room to breathe, but we knew it was still going to be a tough slog.’’

Mills and Emily Ryan lost to Ferguson and Moore 6-8 before joining the huge crowd on the sidelines to cheer on Nick Fenaughty and Helene Steward against the Starlings.

‘‘We were quick to finish our (rubber),’’ Mills said.

‘‘The other mixed was 5-5 when we finished and Helene managed to hold her serve to get us to six and we knew if our maths was right that would be enough.

‘‘Everyone else had finished, so the crowd was big and it was a great atmosphere.’’

Earlier in the decider the Warriors and Cockroaches had traded blows consistently, with each team taking half of the rubbers on offer.

David Starling and Ferguson claimed the men’s doubles 8-4, but Steward and Ryan struck back with an 8-5 women’s doubles win.

Steward and Fenaughty then gave the Warriors plenty to cheer about with 8-3 singles wins, while Mills and Ryan crucially battled deep into their respective individual defeats against Ferguson and Moore to give Numurkah enough games to claim its first top tier flag since the 1980s.

‘‘To Tat’s credit they knew they had to lift from the previous week and came out firing,’’ Mills said.

‘‘It was a close battle throughout the day and came right down to the end, which is what a grand final should be.

‘‘I’m super proud of my teammates, we put together a great finals series and a great grand final and it was great to get the win.

‘‘We had lot’s of fun celebrating a great season.’’