GMLTA | GM3 Open premiership heads to Kyabram

By Tyler Maher

Kyabram went into Saturday's Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association GM3 Open decider as the underdog — but emerged as the premier after a hard-fought victory.

Although the Kamikaze had the better of Tongala in last week's semi-final to win their way straight through to the last match of the season, it was at that stage the only time this campaign they had defeated the minor premier.

But the young Kyabram outfit doubled down at Tatura Lawn Tennis Club at the weekend to secure the flag.

“They did play really well, we've had a lot of injuries and had only beaten them once, so I don't think we went in expecting to win,” Kamikaze captain Dee-Ann Dodos said.

“But I think everyone played their best game of the season which is what you need on grand final day.”

With the majority of Kyabram's team falling between the age range of 13 to 16, Dodos filled the role as non-playing leader this season to help out her children and their teammates.

“Until Jason (McMeekan) came along and started filling in the eldest player was only 16, so as well as a taxi to games they also needed someone to help organise them,” Dodos said.

“The youngest player is 13 and the eldest out of the kids is 16, a couple of parents have filled in throughout the season as well because you need six to play, but we only started with five.

“I think they've really enjoyed each other's company.”

Kyabram eventually claimed victory 6-63 to 3-51, but went into the final three rubbers with just a six-game lead.

But the combinations of Natasha Dodos and Tom Bruhn — as well as Mitch Dodos and Josh Marke — fought hard to extend their side's advantage and secure success.

Sam Campbell and Blake McMeekan were also important throughout the contest, as was the support of emergencies Jason and Dylan McMeekan after helping Kamikaze reach the decider.

For Tongala it was the likes of Leyton and Sharynlee Shenfield, Jay Court, Michael Whitley, Grant Rayson and Mia Fort battling well.

Kyabram was also thankful the association was able to go ahead with its summer finale despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the premiership likely headed elsewhere if matches did not proceed.

“We were a bit concerned that they would call it off and award the premiership to the minor premiers, which would have been Tongala,” Dodos said.

“So we're very spoilt to have been able to play and win because that wouldn't have been the case.”