Champions converge for junior tennis tournament
TIANNA McGarvie said she would love some cold, hard cash for her 14th birthday on Sunday.
While the North East Champion of Champions doesn't offer up prizemoney to the winners of its junior divisions, the Under-15 Girls' silverware could be the next best thing.
"I don't mind, just as long as I get to Inverell," Tianna said.
Tianna and Gabby Marshall (Under-13 Girls) are two of the local hopes in the tennis tournament being played at Grafton City and Junction Hill courts today and tomorrow.
The tournament features the top eight boys and eight girls from the Upper (Grafton to Tweed Heads) and Lower (Coffs Harbour to Forster) regions of the North East zone going head to head in the under-9, -11, -13, -15 and -17 age groups.
The top eight in each division progress to the North West-North East Combined Championships at Inverell, and from there play to qualify for State finals.
Tianna has won her age division in previous years at both Grafton and Inverell and is confident of another strong display on her hometown courts, where she won the North Coast Under-14 Girls' title on June 8.
"I'm mostly confident and am in good form at the moment," she said.
"But there is one player, Ashley Allman from South West Rocks, who I used to beat but she has improved a lot."
Fortunately for Tianna, her rival was a late withdrawal on Thursday night due to injury. Other contenders in her division include Maddison Morrissey and Olivia Blanch.
Gabby is also quietly confident of progressing in the younger division.
"I think I can go all right," said Gabby, who started playing tennis when she was six.
"But Montana Taylor usually wins a lot of these events."
Tianna and Gabby were part of Grafton High School's NSW CHS Open Girls Tennis come from behind grand final triumph last month and will head to Albury in September for the NSW All Schools finals with teammates Georgia Allen and Rachel Fahey and coach Kelly Blanch.
The pair trains at Junction Hill under the tutelage of Darren Crispin, who is overseeing his final Junior Development Series tournament after stepping down from his role as a Tennis Australia North East delegate after 10 years of service.
Grafton High School students Georgia Allen, Rachel Fahey and sisters Tianna and Celina McGarvie were all selected in the North Coast squad of nine players at trials held on Thursday to represent the zone at the NSW CHS Girls Tennis Championships at Wollongong on September 8-10.