1 March 2013

Hareb Deken Oakura will travel to play Icon Sports Pukekura this Saturday for the first semi-final, while title holders, Sandfords Manaia will travel to AWE Huatoki.

Pukekura have been the dominant force in this year's competition, thus for Oakura to produce an upset in the first semi-final would take a very special effort.  Pukekura will be without Callum Old & Chris Jury his weekend, but with strong depth, are still expected to come through.  The No.1 men's match will see Michael  Fleming battle Graeme Mitchell.  Fleming has had it easy all year at No. 2 and not been tested, but Mitchell will certainly do that.  A close encounter is in store. The No. 2 match between Jaime Simpson and Craig Waite will have Simpson favoured to win.  However, Waite is a crafty player, and will test Simpsons' patience.  Dennis Reid has been languishing in business house ranks, but should still have too much experience for Len Adamson at No. 3.  Matt Bayly at 4 takes on Charlie Lewis, with the Boys High student in great form, and likely to overpower Lewis with his height and reach.  In the No. 1 women's match Louise Waite  takes on Sue Oldfield. Waite has been in good form and won well last time they met.  Kirsten Adam will be favoured against Jackie Keenan, however, Keenan has had some good wins and will be more than competitive.  In the No.3 match, Linda Reid will have the edge over Chris Davies, while Donna Thorne should be too powerful for Rebecca Scott in the No. 4 women's match.  Pukekura will rely on their doubles and combines to shine through and it could be all over after the doubles.

Manaia could be hard pressed to make another Soffe Cup final next weekend as their depth will be sorely tested by a powerful Huatoki lineup. With a host of Taranaki reps in both teams, there will be no love lost in this encounter.  Amrit Rai takes on Jordan Fleming at No.1; Fleming is favoured but Rai has found some maturity this year and could surprise if Fleming is off his game.  The No. 2 men's match will pit young upstart, Ajeet Rai against the slugger,Cameron Koch.  Rai will hope Koch is thinking about the rugby season rather than tennis, otherwise it could be all over quickly.  Andrew Sangster at No.3 should account for Manaia stalwart Michael Gates, but Gates has performed well in finals rounds and won't be easy to bowl.  Chris Popata won't take Beauden Fleming lightly; Fleming one of this seasons big improvers.  However, after the singles it could be 2 all.  The No.1 women's match between Nicole Koch  and Alice Caskey will be favoured by Koch, having won their all previous encounters.  In the No.2 women's match, Sophie Robertson is 0-1 on head to head with Trudy Vince, but she seldom loses on home turf and will want to  make up for the last meeting.  Chris Wilson will battle Georgia Bartosh  in the No.3 match with Wilson favoured, due to her experience . The No.4 match between Ellen O'Byrne and either Dayna Corbett or Bridgid Annabel could be a close one.  The doubles and combines will be very close and it could come down to a count back at the end. 

Other  semi final matches to be played: 

Wilson Trophy Top Semifinals

Pukekura v Waiwaka
Inglewood v Stratford

Wilson Trophy Bottom Seminfinals

Matapu v Rotokare
Okaiawa v Huatoki

Sumpter Trophy Semifinals
Pukekura Green v Huatoki-Oakura
Pukekura Gold v Hawera

A4 Semifinals

Huatoki 1 v Waiwaka

Huatoki 2 v Pihama