Report by Andrew Fowler
The Ballarat team was represented by Michael Williams, Mark Hartnell, Wayne Spring, Will Hoskin and Jon Hamer. Hobart produced a formidable side which included Kieran Booth, Al Ramsay, Patrick Dunne and Graeme Bradfield. On paper, the handicaps looked a big advantage to the Hobart team, but to Ballarat’s credit, they threw everything at their opponents and challenged admirably.
The first singles saw the match-up of Will Hoskin v Patrick Dunne. Will played with great vigour and composure, was unlucky not to take a set of Patrick, but eventually went down 6/4 6/4 6/5. The next match, agreed to be best of three sets instead of the usual five, was the clash of Wayne Spring v Graeme Bradfield. In the previous meeting of these two in Ballarat, Wayne took the points, so Graeme was out for revenge and talking up his big game! To Graeme’s credit he was strong from the outset and never let Wayne into the match winning 6/2 6/3. Mark Hartnell was next up against a very strong opponent in Al Ramsay. Al proved too strong for Mark in all areas of the game, winning 6/3 6/1 6/1. Al’s consistency on the serve and return of serve were key elements in his decisive win. In the final singles rubber we witnessed the “clash of the Titans match” between Michael Williams and Kieran Booth. This was an awesome display of controlled hitting, technique and touch around the court. They both hit every winner in the book, but Kieran just had that final composure when it counted, prevailing 6/2 6/4 6/5. Great entertainment guys!
Sunday was doubles day. The number one pair for Hobart were Kieran and Al and they proved far too strong for Mark and Will, winning 6/0 6/2 6/1. This then set up the most anticipated final doubles rubber: could the legendary pair of Wayne Spring and Jon Hamer give Ballarat some hope in the final rubber against Patrick and Graeme? The match could have gone either way, with many twists and turns and changes in momentum. First set went to Hobart 6/5, the second set to Ballarat 6/5, and Hobart claimed the crucial third set 6/4. Hobart then cruised to a 4/0 lead in the fourth set, but Ballarat fought back, levelling at 4/4, only to be stripped of the set 6/4.
Well done to Hobart for a comfortable win against Ballarat. All matches were played in a great spirit and we look forward to coming to Hobart next year.