Saints marching in

Haydn Leo

XAVIER Saints will charge into the first round of finals full of confidence after defeating title rival Nuriootpa 8-77 to 8-67 in Barossa & Gawler Combined division one tennis on Saturday.

Xavier’s ladies, fronted by outstanding efforts from Indi-arna Morris and Jayne Polito, swept six of the eight sets available.

A six set to two domination was mirrored by Nuriootpa’s male quartet, albeit against a Xavier attack missing some serious talent in Jayden Ruediger and Roger Buckby.

Xavier go into the play-offs riding a wave of confidence, with back-to-back wins over fellow finalists Tod Street and Nuriootpa, while Nuriootpa will look to regain form quickly following back-to-back losses against Kapunda and Xavier.

Meanwhile, Kapunda finished the minor round with an emphatic 10-91 to 6-58 victory over minor premiers Tod Street.

Tod Street will be bothered not by the loss, but rather the manner in which its men were routinely dismantled by the ruthless Kapunda posse of Tom Christley, Mick and David Matters, Grant Prior and Chris Dunnicliff.

Jose Len took a sole singles win for Tod Street on the day, while the side’s ever-reliable trio of Amy Turner, Georgie Rowett and Jess Szulc fought a rearguard action to claw back some of the deficit.

Kapunda moves into the finals confident in its ability to beat all comers, while Tod Street may need the double chance that top-spot has granted it, if current form is any indicator.

In the final division one match, South Gawler (4-46) was handed the wooden spoon by Tanunda (12-85) in the final match of the season for both teams.

Lady luck has not smiled on South this season, but, at the same time, it has often played some inspired tennis throughout.

A return to form by South next season would be a big positive for the competition.

Finals begin on March 18, with minor premiers Tod Street taking on Xavier in the preliminary final – the winner of which will advance directly to the grand final – while third-placed Kapunda takes on fourth-placed Nuriootpa in a do-or-die elimination final.

Meanwhile, in division two, Angaston, Xavier and Tod Street entered the final round within a point of each other in the battle for the final play-off spot.

Third-placed Vine Vale (9-81) denied Xavier (7-70) victory, ending the Saints’ hopes for the season, while Tod Street (11-96) edged out Angaston (5-81) in a very close match, securing the final play-off spot.

Minor premiers Willaston now faces Lyndoch in a preliminary final, while third-placed Vine Vale takes on fourth-placed Tod Street in a cut-throat elimination final.

Lastly, in division three, minor premiers Roseworthy will battle Lyndoch for a grand final berth, while Virginia battles Tod Street in an elimination final after the latter made a late-season charge to sneak into the four.