Sport

Unique event returns

By Benalla Ensign

The 2019 Benalla Gardens Annual Singles Championships are right around the corner.

The tennis championships are set to take place over the next four Sunday and Monday nights, beginning Sunday, February 10, and continuing Monday, February 18, and 25, with finals scheduled for March4.

Benalla’s top 12 tennis players have been invited to compete in the local unique singles competition, which will determine the winners of the Hardcourt Open, Plate and under-18 champions.

The club said the tournament, which was supported by the Benalla Bowls Club and Sportspower Benalla, was now establishing itself as the district’s premier singles competition.

‘‘It is hoped the tournament will promote participation in the sport, use of the club, and inspire locals to continue seeking to develop their skills to the top level in town,’’ the Gardens Tennis Club said.

‘‘Ultimately it is about promoting wellbeing through activity and participation, only this occasion it is at the more competitive end of the scale.’’

Players who enter the tournament will be seeded before competing in the first round of matches.

There will be three separate pools, with each player taking on every other player in their pool once.

The results from the first round will determine whether the players qualify into the upper open or lower plate divisions.

The second week will see players from the open and plate divisions compete to qualify for a position in the semi finals, which are best of three set knockout rounds.

Finals are then scheduled for the week after.

Each night’s matches will kick off at 7pm, with the last games finishing under lights.

The club said any tennis lovers were welcome to pull up a chair and take advantage of seeing Benalla’s most competitive players in action.

‘‘You can bring the kids, ask the club about becoming a member, or join one of the social competitions, which run over autumn and winter,’’ the Gardens Tennis Club said.

Junior coaching is set to return back at the club for the first time in several years, with members being urged to enjoy the club’s facilities all year round.