Sport

Tour-riffic

Grafton player Eli Fahey warms up in readiness for the Optus Junior Tour tennis tournament that gets underway at the Grafton Tennis Centre tomorrow.
Grafton player Eli Fahey warms up in readiness for the Optus Junior Tour tennis tournament that gets underway at the Grafton Tennis Centre tomorrow. Adam Hourigan

A BUMPER field of 80 players have nominated for the Optus Junior Tour tennis tournament to be held at the new Grafton Tennis Centre courts this weekend.

It is the first time a junior event of this stature has been held in Grafton with competitors in the older age categories (under 12 and under 14) vying for Australian ranking points.

Local player Taylah Beckman will be looking to improve her national ranking when she lines up in the under-14 girls division.

The division's No.1 seed, Beckham is currently ranked 191 in Australia.

Others expected to figure prominently in the division are Moree's Kayla Wicks, and Gunnedah duo Gabby O'Gorman and Emily Osmond.

O'Gorman heads into the tournament in top form after winning the Open Women's event in Glen Innes last weekend.

Grafton girls Rachel Fahey, Georgia Allen and Bonne Moon, and Nikita Avery from Junction Hill, will also be aiming to impress.

Wicks and O'Gorman have teamed up to head the seedings in the doubles event, ahead of Beckham and Allen, and Osmond and Avery.

In the under-14 boys event, Sydney's Corey Gaal, ranked 773 in Australia, is the No.1 seed.

Maitland product Andy Bullent and Matthew Ellis and Liam Dougherty from Coffs Harbour are rated his main dangers with Josh Crispin the only local player in the division.

Bullent and Matthew head the seeding in the doubles while Gaal has teamed with Dylan Thompson from Coffs Harbour.

The under-12 boys division has attracted the tournament's largest field with 23 nominations.

Will Maher from Brisbane heads into the tournament as favourite but faces a strong field including Sydneysiders Andrea D'Aprile and Mitchell Maloon and Gold Coaster Tommy Hamilton.

Local representatives include Eli Fahey, Izaiah Gilbert and Jacob Hegedus (Grafton), and Jamieson Nathan (Yamba), all of whom have at least another year in the age group.

Lisa Mays is top seed in the under-12 girls event, ahead of fellow Sydneysider Ebony Gaal, Coffs Harbour's Lily Pade and Kaitlin Pardoe of Junction Hill.

Other local competitors in the division include Charley Tkalec and Tianna McGarvie (Grafton), and Olivia Blanch and Mackenzie Trickett (Junction Hill).

The under-10 divisions will be contested as round robin events, and even though no national ranking points are up for grabs, the competition should be hot.

The boys event has attracted 11 players including Junction Hill duo Ben Crispin and Logan Trivett, and Grafton's Noah Fahey.

The under-10 girls event has attracted a strong local field including Lily Allen, Grace Ford, Norah Hegedus, Celina McGarvie, Whitney Moon, Charley Tkalec and Gabby Marshall.

The tournament is scheduled to commence at the Grafton Tennis Centre tomorrow afternoon with play to be finalised Sunday afternoon.

Topics:  optus junior tour tennis tournament, taylah beckman, tennis


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