Orange Ball returns

Drysdale Orange Ball tennis stars Eliza and Adam (Supplied)

Local tennis by Donna Schoenmaekers

This week marked the second week of the Tennis Geelong winter season, and the first week of the Orange Ball competition.

Thirteen teams of the freshest juniors from 10 clubs are participating in term two’s six-week round robin event designed as an introduction to match play.

The teams, split into two sections, play on a reduced-sized court with parents acting as scorers and ball retrievers, while the kids play Fast Four format singles and doubles matches, developing their skills in serving, ball striking and placement.

This term Surfcoast Bellbrae has two teams, Blue and Aqua, with players entered for their first term. Geelong Lawn has two teams, White and Green, with one team of new players and the other with a mix of new and returning players, while Point Lonsdale, Clifton Springs, Barwon Heads, Drysdale, Grovedale and St Mary’s have a mix of new and returning players in their teams.

In cold windy conditions the teams competed well, and while the event is scored, the main purpose is the introduction to the rules and scoring of matches rather than the results, and having a focus of fun on court.

Geelong Lawn, Barwon Heads and Clifton Springs were all hit by illness this week, but the available players got there and enjoyed their matches.

It was also encouraging to see so many parents on court helping and directing the kids, despite the weather.

While the focus isn’t on winning at this level, it was great to see the players and their improvement since last term, and that everyone had some success with all teams winning at least one set, and four of the six matches tied at three sets all.

It won’t be long until these budding players are ready to move into the junior competition proper.