8 Dec 2017

Soffe Cup will wind up its first round this weekend. Then is plenty to play for and every single Soffe Cup player knows it.

Stratford will be taking on Pukekura.  The men for Stratford are likely to be Bruce Cleland, Grant Kite, Michael Boland and Ross Slinger.  They will face Pukekuraís Brady Simpson, David Barnard, Michael Erb and Dennis Reid. The Stratford women are Lynn Stanners, Katie Stanners, Courtney Tippet and Kristen Lourie. They will take on Nikayla Barnard, Ella Rogers, Caitlin Haylock and Maree Malcolm.  It will be important for Stratford to contain matches early and press home any small advantages.  It is likely that, having lost last week, Pukekura will be wanting a strong, positive showing to finish the round.  Pukekura still has a mathematical chance of finishing at the top of the first round but it would take a performance where the team conceded only one match to get ahead of Oakura.

Pihama take on Rotokare this week. With Jordan Fleming away, Beauden Fleming, Kyle Crowley, Sean Edmonds and Kerry Desmond will take on the Rotokare men of  Ajeet Rai, Blair Crowley, Scott Campbell and Baxter Rogers. It will be Raiís first outing in Soffe Cup this year.  He is a player who is training and travelling with New Zealandís Davis Cup menís team.  If spectators were wanting to see one of the countryís most promising juniors then they would have to look no further than this young man.  Pihamaís women are Catherine Blom, Ngakuira Osbourne, Grace Kelly and Peggy Lawn. The Rotokare women are Chantelle Peters, Tania Atkinson, Julie Foley and Helena Goodin.  Both sides will not want to lose touch with the top teams and a strong showing this Saturday is the best way to insure that happens.

Huatoki are at home to Okaiawa/Manaia.  Okaiawa/Manaiaís men are Mark Laurence, Vince Baylis, Josh Murdoch and Ryan Stockman. The Okaiawa/Manaia women are Lauren Mekalick, Sheri Hughes, Helen Johnston and Jaimee Baylis. The Huatoki team is still to be confirmed.

At present there is very little to separate Huatoki from Stratford at the bottom of the table. Depending on how this last week of the first round pans out, either club could be relegated for the second round.