Quick start key to stopping Lecontes

PUTTING early pressure on the opposition will be the key to winning this morning’s Country Week final, according to Wodonga MCTA star Jade Culph.

MCTA takes on The Lecontes in the A-Grade decider at Wodonga Tennis Centre and Culph, who has played a starring role with teammate Mark Shanahan all week, said it was vital his unbeaten team got off to a flyer.

MCTA progressed to the decider with a strong win over Gippsland Warriors in the semi-final late yesterday.

“If you get off to a quick start and mount pressure on the opposition, it makes the job a whole lot easier,” Culph said after yesterday’s triumph.

“We’ll be looking to get on the front-foot early on and really get out of the gates quickly.

“We’ve really returned well this week and had a high percentage of first serves and that really makes a huge difference out there.

“It mounts pressure on the opposition and it’s been working for us.

“We’ll just continue to do that.”

Despite being unbeaten all week, Culph said his team was more than wary of its opposition, with MCTA’s previous clash with the Lecontes closer than it looked.

“We had a close one against them which ended up being a 3-1 result,” he said.

“But it was quite tight mid-way through.

“But we’ve got to be prepared as they’ve got a lot of quality in their side.

“The best team will win — it’s as simple as that.”

Culph, who will pair with Shanahan again today, said MCTA had a slight home court advantage.

Fellow Border stars Cameron Meagher and Brandon Vescio will almost certainly make up MCTA’s other pairing.

“We’re all obviously fairly familiar with the conditions,” Culph said.

“It’s fairly quick out there at the moment after having played on them for five straight days.

“The ball is fizzing around quite a bit but we’re accustomed to that.

“Shayne Reid’s done an amazing job with these courts.

“They’re phenomenal.”

Culph doesn’t believe the team’s unbeaten run has placed any extra pressure on them to perform in the decider.

“I don’t know about added pressure,” he said.

“We’ve just played consistent tennis throughout.

“We knew that if we did that we’d be good enough.”

Jade Culph.

Jade Culph.