8 March 2013

Soffe Cup Final - Tariki Icon's Sports Pukekura vs AWE Huatoki . Saturday 9 March . Kick off 10:00am, Pukekura  Tennis Club

The two form teams of the competition this year will fittingly meet each other this Saturday as Pukekura and Huatoki battle it out for the championship. 

Pukekura have not won the Soffe  cup since 1999, when younger versions of Dennis Reid, Linda Reid, Mike Fleming and Donna Thorne beat Manaia in the final.  Murray Keast, now part of this years' Huatoki squad, was part of the winning team as well.

Huatoki were the losing title holders that year, in the semis, and last won the cup in 2007 with Rakesh Rai, Amrit Rai and Chris Wilson, part of that winning squad. 

In the one match these teams have met previously this summer, it ended in an 8-8 draw and this years final could go the same way, with a count back on the cards.  Both teams will be at full strength, full of Taranaki reps, full of experience and skill, but also full of youthful exuberance.

The No. 1 men's match will see the 'sorcerer versus the apprentice'.   As Callum Old is away working, Huatoki's Amrit Rai will come up against Mike Fleming.  Mike Fleming showed in last weeks semi win over Graeme Mitchell that he's still a major force in Taranaki tennis.  Rai will rate his chances but if he is off his game, it could be over very quickly.  Huatoki No. 2, Ajeet Rai, on the other hand displayed talent beyond his years to push Cameron Koch all the way, and must be in with a chance of an upset against the steady Chris Jury.  Huatoki's  Andrew Sangster is rated a 50:50 chance in the No. 3 match against Pukekura's Jaime Simpson.  Simpson will be sharp after a week of top level secondary school tennis, but he will have to be, as you can be sure Sangster will be a dangerous proposition.  Veteran, Dennis Reid, comes in at No. 4 for Pukekura, but he will need to call on all his experience to get past a focussed Chris Popata, who he has not beaten before. 

The No.1 women's match will see the next round in the rivalry between Pukekura No. 1, Louise Waite and Huatoki's Alice Caskey.  Waite took the line honours last time, in a closely fought match, and it will be close again.  Pukekura No. 2 Kirsten Adam leads Sophie Robertson 2-0 head to head and must be favoured, however if Robertson can keep the ball in play it could get interesting.  The No.3 match will pit club legends, Linda Reid versus Chris Wilson.  Reid is unbeaten this season and should carry on her successful run but Wilson can surprise with one-off wins.  Reids' tag team partner over many years, Donna Thorne, will take on Huatoki rising star, 14 year old Ellen O'Bryne,  who she easily beat last time.  O'Byrne is primed to put on a better performance, however Thorne, on form, should win - but then again, it is finals weekend and anything can happen.  If Huatoki are to have any chance of taking  the title, they will need to at least grab a share of the doubles and make their move in the unpredictability of the combines.  Whatever the outcome, it should be a tantalising spectacle well worth getting out to support. 

Wilson Trophy Top final

Pukekura v Stratford  

Pukekura by a country mile.  Players to watch - Brady Simpson, Randall Croon and Holly Pearson.  Stratford - old campaigner Bruce Cleland and Stratford legend Lyn Stanners.

Wilson Trophy Bottom final

Matapu v Okaiawa

Look  for Okaiawa to upset Matapu in a closely fought match.  Players to watch Matapu rock, Craig Werder, Brooke Coxhead. Okaiawa- underrated Andrew Baylis and another old campaigner, Malcolm Baylis.

Sumpter Trophy

Pukekura Green v Pukekura Gold

Pukekura Green have slayed all before them and are favoured to take the title.  Players to watch Caleb Fleming, Alexandra  Spurdle, Rebecca Wormald.