Grafton players courting success
GRAFTON players shone as tennis looks to be thriving on the Far North Coast.
The Casino AMT Tournament, which concluded yesterday, received 168 entries - 10% up on last year - making it the biggest tennis event in this region for three years.
Even more positive signs point locally with the success of the Grafton contingent.
Jacob Hegedus defeated Casino's Miles Brown 6-1 in the final to win the under-16 boys singles.
Benjamin Crispin in under-12 boys singles and doubles, Lily Allen and Celina McGarvey in under-12 girls doubles and Charlie Tkalec and Olivia Blanch in under-14 girls doubles all finished runners-up.
Meanwhile in open women, Ashleigh Elward played out a three-set battle lasting more than two hours in which both players had to contend with rain breaks and swirling wind.
Gold Coast's Lara Tupper won the clash but praised her opponent after the contest.
"I'm overwhelmed," Tupper said.
"I haven't done that well in a tournament for about a year. This is massive for me.
"Ashleigh played amazing.
"She's a great player and a great person.
"Every sport is hard, but tennis has those hard moments because you are alone on the court.
"You just have to push through the barrier."
Lismore's Brendan Moore claimed the men's singles crown.
Meanwhile, several finals were cancelled due to worsening conditions, including the women's doubles which was to feature three Grafton players. Instead Elward and Amanda Jones shared the spoils with Georgia Allen and Amber Molloy (Tweed).
Other winners included Brad and Amanda Child winning special mixed, Jason and Oliva Blanch won B Grade mixed and Brad Child and Jason Blanch were runners-up in special doubles.
Grafton's top 100 Australian ranked player Taylah Beckman recently won the biggest tournament of her career.
She pocketed about $1200 for her open women's singles title at the Inverell Silver AMT tournament. She and Alexandra Taylor also won the women's doubles.
Beckman did not play at Casino, instead preparing for the Platinum-level Toowoomba AMT to be played over Easter.