11 Dec 2011
Tennis Central Hexangular
Over the weekend the Hexangular was held in Palmerston North in fine but strong breezy conditions making it testing on all players. Teams involved were Taranaki, Wanganui, Kapi Mana, Manawatu, Hutt Valley and Wellington, which was split into two pools of three according to the previous years ranking.
First up, Taranaki played their old foe Manawatu, which always promises a close contest and so it turned out. Manawatu had a very strong ladies line up winning three out of the four singles with Nicole Koch at one, stopping their momentum with a very good win over Shani Te Mata Frost and gaining parity over last year's loss. The Taranaki men countered by winning three out of four singles led by Jordan Fleming with a solid two set win. The doubles and combines were shared making it 6 – 6 all but because a winner had to be found Manawatu won on count back.
The afternoon round saw Taranaki up against one of the favoured teams, Kapi Mana from Wellington. The doubles and combines were played first with Jordon and Neil McCann, having an excellent 7-6 7–6 win as did Tania L'Ami and Alice Caskey 7–6 6–3. Both combines had narrow losses so the score was level going into the singles. Jordan and Cameron Koch got the team off to a good start with strong wins but Kapi Mana camed back to share the mens' results. Nicole was dominant at one and was supported by Caskey and Miaana Walden playing at three and four to provide the edge for a 7–5 overall win. Had there been a 6–6 draw, Taranaki would have lost on countback and been playing off on Sunday for 5th and 6th.
Sunday morning Taranaki had the bye but had to endure watching the result of Manawatu and Kapi Mana to see if we were in the final or playing off for third and fourth. Knowing a 6–6, 7–5, or 8–4 result to Kapi Mana would put us into the final, it was a tense watch. Manawatu led 5–4 with three to play. The last match gave Kapi Mana a 6–6 third set two-point tiebreaker win. With each team having a one win one loss record, on countback Taranaki went through with the narrowest of margins by one point into the afternoon final.
Wellington were the opponent for Taranaki in the final after surviving their own 6–6 win over Wanganui.
Taranaki kept up its strong momentum sharing the men's singles with Callum Old and Andrew Powell picking up wins. The ladies were too strong for Wellington proving the difference between the sides and were unbeaten in the singles, doubles and combines to finally over power Wellington 9-3.
Outstanding player for Taranaki was Nicole Koch playing at Number one and top combines winning five out of six matches.