5 December 2023

Griffith tennis champions crowned in shadow of 132-profiterole strawberry pie trophy

| Oliver Jacques
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tennis players gather behind a giant cake

Kat Pickering, Phillip Johnstone, Gail Colling and Bruno Salvitti starred in the B-grade championship. Photo: Supplied.

The champions of Griffith’s annual midweek tennis competition were crowned last Wednesday (29 November) in the shadow of a giant trophy-shaped, 132-profiterole strawberry pie made by club member Xavier Boucher.

The Frenchman’s team Strings Attached won a tense A-grade final against a side filled with town sporting legends. But once again, it was his spectacular presentation night dessert that was the talk of the club.

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Boucher has no formal training as a chef, but each week of the season has wowed other players with a new pastry, including a clay-court replica triple-chocolate mousse cake last month. He exceeded that effort for the final, making each profiterole by hand in a process that took three days and was just as pressure-charged as the tennis.

“You have to get it exactly right. If you fail one phase, it’s all over,” he said. “On the first day, the temperature in my oven was slightly too high, so I had to start over and redo a batch of profiteroles.”

profiterole cake

The 132-profiterole cake up close. Photo: Supplied.

His final product impressed his teammate Brendon Augustus.

“The cake was the size of a small child … it was so delicious, like a crunchy toffee apple with a vanilla filling. The strawberries were delicate and it wasn’t too sweet. If you have any nut allergies, you can’t eat any of Xavier’s food, he loves his nuts.”

Alongside Jaz Kaur and Jamie Mitton, Strings Attached won the A-grade title by edging the more-fancied Bits and Pieces – a team that featured former world top-10 squash player Robyn Polkinghorne and club veteran Lorraine Maxwell, whose name features on the club’s honours board at least once over the past five decades.

tennis champions behind cake

A-grade champions Jamie Mitton, Jaz Kaur, Brendon Augustus and Xavier Boucher. Photo: Supplied.

Carlos Ballester and Jack Lefebvre rounded out the runner-up squad.

“They were by far the toughest team we played,” Augustus said. “We lost to them earlier in the season and it came down to the final two rubbers of our last match to determine the winner.

“We won those matches 6-5 and 6-4. Jamie pulled off a ripper half-volley on a crucial point. That was a turning point.”

tennis players with cake

A-grade runners-up Robyn Polkinghorne, Jack Lefebvre, Lorraine Maxwell and Carlos Ballester. Photo: Supplied.

B grade was won by the team Ned: Bruno Salvitti, Chloe Hughes, Harry Johnstone and Phillip Johnstone. Second place in the lower division went to Super Cool: Gail Colling, Steven Amery, Kat Pickering and Angie Poli.

The season’s wooden spoon went to the team Super Star, featuring Sophie Romeo, Elsie Barton, Gabby DeLucci and Rylan Scarfo. This squad was made up of junior players who did well to compete in a tournament dominated by participants more than twice their ages.

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Jimmy Binks, son of legendary Griffith cricketer Roy Binks, won the season’s ”Best and Fairest” award.

“They say it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. I showed the big dog has a big fight in him,” Binks said.

Manuella Bordin took the prize for “Super Sub”, Rylan Scarfo was named “Hero Helper”, while Matt Hockings was chosen as “Club Person of the Year”.

“Matt did a massive amount of work in getting the grant for new lights at the club as well as organising the Tuesday social competition,” Wednesday comp organiser Robyn Meehan said. “Rylan helps me get everyone organised on Wednesdays.”

Several participants also paid tribute to Meehan herself, for running the Wednesday night competition so efficiently for the past few years.

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