4 November 2009

The second round of Soffe Cup promises to be equally as entertaining as last weekend’s inimitable results.  With each team stamping their own respective mark on this competition the challenge is now set to see who can maintain their standard of play.


Tariki Icon Sports Pukekura will host Hareb Deken Oakura in a moment of apparent vulnerability, steering the ship without their helmsmen No1. Michael Fleming.  Pukeura’s No. 2 Callum Old will also be competing in a Central Invitational Representative tournament in Wanganui.  Such a loss could be critical to any of the teams on display; such is the unyielding nature of this year’s competition.  Pukekura will require Meto Snegirev to fill the void at the top while their experienced campaigners, Nick Steventon and Paul Simpson will also carry an added workload this weekend. Oakura will look to take full advantage of this ill-fated situation for the home side.  Graham Mitchell will strike an imposing figure at the top and will be favoured to chalk up three wins for his side.  Sue Oldfield meanwhile will have history on her side against Linda Reid having beaten her in both matches previously last season.  The No. 2 and No. 3 ladies matches will be features of this tie with Donna Thorne to play Miaana Walden, and Kirsten Adams to meet Becky Bruckner in which both matches could go either way.


2007 finalists AWE Huatoki and Central Finance Rotokare face off in the battle of the two inner-city clubs. Huatoki will be buoyed by the return of No.1 Jonathan Ussher from university in Dunedin, although that may be off-set by the loss of Amrit Rai this weekend.  Alice Caskey’s inclusion will moreover add starch to the side following her absence last weekend.  Caskey will carry good-form into this weekend having recently won the 16/u section of the Taranaki Junior Open.
Rotokare will be out to show why they are the two-time defending champions with a commanding performance at the Huatoki courts.  Ben Pollard will bounce back from last weeks shock defeat with particular ferocity.  Blair Crowley will likely play Neil Bridgeman at No. 2, while Kyle Crowley may line-up against David Geange at No. 3.  In the women’s match-ups the highlight will be Rotokare’s Catherine Stevenson clashing with Saori Han.  Karen Cranston will play Chris Wilson at No. 2 in what may also be difficult to separate.


In the final match-up of the day Stumble Inn Waiwaka will be severely tested at home against Sanford’s Manaia.

The feature match will undoubtedly be the confrontation between Michael Lace and Taranaki’s top junior Jordan Fleming.  Lace will be coming off a priceless victory over Ben Pollard, while Fleming suffered at the hands of his namesake Michael Fleming.  Lace will edge out Fleming as opening favourite primarily due to his experience and recent form, but expect Fleming to showcase his unquestioned ability on the weekend.  In the intervening time, there will also be quality match-ups across the courts; Krystal Oakes will play Nicole Koch, David Lace may find himself up against Jacob Gopperth, while Michael Gates should lead his team well by picking up some valuable points at No. 3 for Manaia. The doubles will be the litmus test once again for Waiwaka if they want to pick up their first victory of the season in Soffe Cup.