Junior ranks point to a great return

LEADING Albury coach Phil Shanahan believes a spike in numbers in the Sportspower junior series is proof the sport is fighting its way back.

After several years of declining numbers, officials have been pleased with the resurgence with 70 and 80 players taking part in the opening two rounds at Albury and Wodonga.

Shanahan said he was confident the trend would continue with players coming from as far away as Griffith and Wagga.

“It’s been up on last year which is good,” Shanahan said.

“We got up to 120 at one stage, but tennis is back booming in the area at present and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got up there over the coming Sportspower events as well.

“All sports go in cycles and, up until two or three years ago, tennis was really big in the area and it slowed up a little, but I think it’s definitely on the rise again.”

Shanahan said the introduction of an eight and under division this year had been a plus with children keen to try the sport at a younger age.

The series will continue at Wangaratta on Sunday with many of the region’s leading youngsters including Isaac Dallinger, Ashley Wurtz, Mahnee Przibilla and Mercy Eze set to take part.

They won their respective divisions at Wodonga last weekend.

“The standard has been good,” Shanahan said.

“We have a lot of our Margaret Court Academy players involved and there are a lot of good kids coming through in the region.”

After Sunday’s third round at Wangaratta, the action moves to Albury (December 9), Yarrawonga (December 16), Yarrawonga (February 10), Wodonga (February 17), Albury (February 24) and Wodonga (March 8-11).

Entries for this weekend can be emailed to wanglawnsp@gmail.com or phone (03) 5721 4348.