Saints scale the heights

March 20, 2018

GM2A premier Shepparton Saints (back) Luke Turcato, Matt Carroll, Tyson Coombes, Andrea Muskee, (front) Ronnie Habel, D’Arcy Curtis-McDonald, Tilly Dalton and Katie Christopher.

Shepparton Saints held on for a hard-earned win in GM2A, capping a remarkable run to the grand final with an 11-game win against Dhurringile-Stanhope.

They were fifth on the ladder in the run into finals, but found a way to sneak third place, and in one of the competition’s most even divisions, flicked the switch to steal the premiership.

The Saints won 6-73 to Dhurringile-Stanhope’s 5-62, having worked hard to lead during the day.

Captain Tyson Coombes said the day had gone to plan.

‘‘It played out pretty perfectly for us in the end,’’ he said.

‘‘One of the keys to success for us was to do well at singles because Dhurringile-Stanhope are a very strong singles side.

‘‘Being able to match that put us in a good position because we feel we are better with doubles.

‘‘The Dhurringile-Stanhope ladies are strong in doubles, so it was a great effort from our guys there, and it helped us go into mixed 14 games up.’’

All four singles matches remarkably went to tiebreakers, with John Evans, Taylor Apps and Yvonne Maxwell winning for Dhurringile-Stanhope and Tilly Dalton winning for the Saints.

But strong showings in doubles helped the Saints build a lead, with Coombes’ 8-2 win playing with Luke Turcato one of the standout results.

Andrea Muskee and Katie Christopher each won two doubles sets for the Saints, as did Turcato and Coombes.

Coombes, named best-on-court, said it had been a brilliant way to cap the season.

‘‘It was extremely even, a lot of teams there were saying depending on your day, anyone could beat anyone, and it was a very even standard in our division especially,’’ he said.

‘‘We only just scraped through to finals, but from there we won every match.

‘‘We just started to get our strongest side every week, and we were pretty confident having that side we could be one of the best teams.’’

But more importantly than simply winning, Coombes said his team had a ball doing it.

‘‘It was heaps of fun for us, we’re probably not the most competitive side and we’re not extremely serious, but we always try our best and have a lot of fun,’’ he said.

‘‘We said to each other before the grand final that win or lose it had been a fantastic season, so to win the grand final as well was really enjoyable.’’

Coombes was named male MVP for the division, while Shepparton Lion Anna Reynolds won female MVP.

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