10 Nov 2011

Top of the table Sandford Manaia hosts Central Finance Rotokare this weekend.  Should Rotokare field the same squad as they did last week against Pukekura, Manaia may be troubled.  Manaia's top 2 men, Jordan Fleming and Cameron Koch should be too strong for Malcom Elder and Chris Popata respectively.  The bottom men's singles could go either way between Tommy Death (Manaia) and Mike Roberts (Rotokare) and a must see match if you're in Manaia.  In the ladies, Tania L'Ami will have to play at the top of her game to beat Manaia's number one Nicole Koch.  At number two Maree Gopperth (Manaia) will play Rotokare's Karen Cranston.  Gopperth, with more match-play than her opponent, should keep her un-beaten record this season. 

With this weekend being combined doubles, Manaia should finish well having the more consistent team and combinations.

Hareb Deken Oakura travel to New Plymouth City side AWE Huatoki.  Huatoki may be fielding their strongest team yet with the return of Chris Wilson at 3 and Megan Van der Poel at 4 for the ladies.   Wilson previously lost her last match against Oakura’s Louise Brankin 6-3 6-3, and may be looking for redemption on Saturday.  Van der Poel should be untroubled by Chris Davies.   If Jono Ussher and David Innes are available  for Huatoki, the team should be confident in the win.  Ussher should be too strong for Tei Walden (Oakura) and Innes faces Len Adamson.  Jeremy Wichman may find himself in his familiar role at Number 4, however, any day on the court opposing Craig Waite of Oakura. is not any easy day.  The number 2 ladies match sees two ladies who have both taken Manaia's Maree Gopperth to a third set tie-breaker this season only to loss.  Sophie Robertson (Huatoki) will meet Becky Bruckner (Oakura) and the match will be the closest of the day here.

Icon Sports Tariki Pukekura are at home to Farmlands Okaiawa.  Amelia Weir (Okaiawa) will have Linda Reid in her sights having had some success already this season.  Andrew Powell (Okaiawa) also will fancy his chances against Pukekura’s  youngster Callum Old.  Chris Jury (Pukekura) will be steady at three and Vincent Baylis (Okaiawa) will need to be at his most consistent if he wants to take a win in his singles against Jury.  Okaiawa have a proven record with their combined doubles from season's past and this may play a large factor in the result, however, with only 4 of the 12 matches in the day being doubles, they may fall short.

There are twelve teams in the A2 competition (Wilson Trophy).  Although this is the second tier of players, it is the breeding ground for Taranaki's premier players.  Many proactive clubs have adopted a formula that sees previous top players moving down through the grades to play along side up and coming juniors.  Many of the teams in the A2 have members who you may recognise.  The likes of Alaistair Murdoch of Manaia, Meto Snegeriv of Pukekura, Shane Devlin and Helena Goodin at Rotokare, Conrad Heron at Hawera and Yvonne Chamberlain of Waiwaka, and the list goes on.   The talented juniors in this grade can only have a brighter future due to the efforts of these senior players.  Currently Icon Sports Tariki Pukekura leads the competition on 22 points with Oakura and Hawera close behind with 21 points each.  Sandford Manaia follow with 20 points.  The season in only three weeks in and there isn’t much separating the top 6 or 7 teams.

In other Tennis news, Taranaki Juniors are playing in one of the four local tournaments to be held this season. The North Taranaki Grand Prix is open to all children who are members of any Taranaki Tennis Club and is an opportunity for juniors to be selected for representative honours. The Taranaki Tennis Association host the tournament and offers events for children as young as 8 through to the eldest group of 16 and under.   The range of talent (including Ajeet Rai in the Boys 14 and under and Louise Waite in the Girls 12 and under) will be on courts this Sunday at Pukekura Park & Huatoki Tennis Clubs from 9am.