Gunnedah showed its tennis prowess when Inverell played host to 175 players over April 8-10, and the clay courts resounded with 600 matches contesting 32 events over the three days.
Local woman Gabby O’Gorman, 18, took out the women’s open against 15-year-old Naomi McKenzie from Brisbane. Gabby came into the tournament seeded first, and retained the status after a good round with the younger player, 6-1, 6-3. She and doubles partner Chloe Costelloe together won the women’s doubles.
The AMT/JT tournament drew ages from 12-18 in the juniors, and open competitors to the mid-40s. Inverell Tennis Club president Rowan Butler said the lights were burning late into the evening.
“On Saturday night they didn’t finish until 10:30pm, 11pm on Sunday night, and 6.30pm on Monday night, so it was a big tournament,” he said.
Players arrived from Brisbane, Sydney, QLD and NSW for the event on the main tour offering ranking points to gain steps up the ladder.
Byron Bay’s Louise Clark won the men’s open singles title against friend and Will Maher of Brisbane. The two hadn’t played against the other in a few years, and agreed they were evenly matched before they battled in the final.
Results for north west NSW competitors were: Sahra Dennehy, Armidale -16 girls singles; Vitorio Sardinha, Gunnedah - 3rd place in 12 boys singles and won 12 boys doubles; Camille Maunder, Moree - 3rd place 12 girls singles; Aaron Osmond, Gunnedah - 3rd place 14 boys singles and won 14 boys doubles; Isabelle Moore, Gunnedah - 2nd place 12 girls singles; Kaeccia Beattie, Tamworth - 3rd place 14 girls singles and won 14 girls doubles; Danielle Bishop, Tamworth - 4th place 14 girls singles and won 14 girls doubles; Conor Dennehy, Armidale - 3rd place 18 boys singles; Andrew Osmond, Gunnedah - won 18 boys consolation.
Inverell’s Ben Butler was seeded first in the under 14s, but stalled out in the quarter finals. Other district locals results were: Tom Murphy won B grade mixed doubles with Casino’s Katlyn Frazer, and the team of Rowan Butler and Chris Maunder of Moree won B grade men's doubles.
The tournament is one of the club’s two major events. Rowan said they hold a gold-level juniors competition in October, leading into the clay-court nationals.