11 Dec 2015

Round six of the Soffe Cup competition is the first of the reverse draw matches with home draws the opposite of the first round.

Competition front-runners Oakura will host fifth place Farmlands Okaiawa/Manaia and Oakura will be keen to get a bigger win than last round's 10-6 victory.  The combined side will be trying to achieve as many rubbers as possible to move themselves up into semi-final contention.  Two quite different line-ups will take the court from the teams that played in the first round.  Oakura siblings, Jamie and Brady Simpson top the order for Oakura and they will interesting match-ups against Hamish Mead and Andrew Powell.  Oakura's Beauden Fleming will play Josh Murdoch at no.3 and should have a slight edge whereas the no.4 pairing of veteran's Oakura's Len Adamson and the combined sides' Alaister Murdoch could be taken out by either player.  For the ladies, Oakura's Jackie Keenan will lead things off for her side with a probable victory over Lauren Fraine.  The remaining matches could go to either side with whoever is prepared to dominate gaining the valuable win.  Oakura's Chris Davies, Ana Spurdle and Poppy Mitchell will take on Caroline Jackson, Georgia Jackson and Helen Johnston respectively. 

Second place Huatoki are away to fourth placed Thomson O'Neil Stratford and the city side will have a much strengthened line-up whereas Stratford are weaker overall than they have been recently.  NZ's no.1 U18 player, Ajeet Rai, makes just his second appearance this season and will be far too good for Bruce Cleland.  His team-mates of Jayden Harrison, Alistair Nairn and Chris Popata will likely also be too good for Grant Kite, Michael Boland and Ryk Ferguson.  Not much respite for Stratford in the ladies side of the draw where Stratford's Lyn Stanners should be able to pick up a sole singles victory when she plays Tracey Old.  Huatoki will have too much depth in the rest of the ladies where Ellen O'Byrne, Chris Wilson and Lorraine Heerdegen shouldn't be too troubled by Mylie Thwaites, Reagan Boland and Kristen Lourie.  A doubles win by Stratford would be an upset so Huatoki can expect to have a big victory and press for the lead on the Soffe Cup ladder.

In the remaining match, last placed Central Finance Rotokare will be looking for just their second win this season when they host fellow city side RE/MAX Pukekura who lie third on the table but have been without a win since Nov 7th.  Rotokare's no.1 man Blair Crowley has had an up and down season and he will have to be at his peak to bowl a gritty Meto Snegirev.  At No.2 Kyle Crowley also meets stiff opposition when he plays Pukekura's David Barnard.  Rotokare's no.3 Shane Devlin's experience may be the difference in his match with Andrew Hood whilst at no.4 Laurie Jordan will have to bow to the form of Kerry Dwyer.  In the ladies side of the draw, Rotokare's no.1 Karen Cranston may not be a starter this week but if she does get on court, she will be a good bet to beat Kirsten Adam, making her debut this season.  Rotokare no.2 Julie Foley should get the better of Jeanette Harding but Pukekura will be favoured in the remaining two matches with Nikayla Barnard and Alison Gadsby, on paper, appearing to have the measure of Tania Atkinson and Chantelle Peters.  If Cranston is unavailable, then all the Rotokare ladies will move up the order and Helena Goodin will slot in at no.4.  Whichever team holds an expected narrow lead after singles play should be able to turn that margin into an overall victory after doubles play.