11 Nov 2016
In what has started out as a highly competitive Soffe cup competition this year, this week's matchups look set to be more entertaining and tightly fought ties. Top of the table Pukekura meet newcomers Pihama in Pihama's first home game, Rotokare host Okaiawa/Manaia and Oakura travel to Stratford.
Pukekura look to have real strength in their womens' line-up and are likely to be too strong for Pihama in the top three ties with Louise Waite, Kirsten Adam and Linda Reid set to play Donna McCarthy, Brianna Matthews and Peggy Lawn. Jeanette Harding returns to Soffe cup tennis at No4 for Pukekura and meets Pihama's Amy Padilla.
The men's line-ups look more evenly matched and may end up going two each way wins to Pihama's Jordan Fleming and Jacob Gopperth over David Barnard and Andrew Hood but Pukekura may well prevail in the other two matchups with Mat Garnham v Beauden Fleming and Sasha Milentejevic-Vague v James Padilla. Pihama are introducing Rob Haveswood, Paddy Stevenson and Matt Symons into the doubles and combines mix to try to counter Pukekura's overall strength.
The Rotokare v Okaiawa/Manaia match is likely to be another tight encounter with Rotokare using the new playing order rules well. Based on last week, they could change their playing order to better suit the matches on the day. Overall Rotokare's women look to have a slight advantage whereas the men's may be more evenly matched with Okaiawa/Manaia missing David Baker at No1 leaving Mark Laurence to play Blair Crowley, Vince Baylis to face Kyle Crowley and Josh Murdoch and Guillermo Gomez versus Shane Devlin and Bill Husband. Rotokare tend to pick up additional matches with sound doubles and combines combinations so the final score is likely to depend on these results.
In the Oakura v Stratford match Oakura appear to have more overall firepower. Sue Oldfield is likely to be too strong for Kristin Lourie at one however the number two women's matchup while on paper looks likely to favour Bailey Bruckner, Stratford's Katie Stanners is currently unbeaten and this could be a close game. Stratford is fielding Courtney Tippett at 3 and she plays Miaana Walden who has previously represented Taranaki in junior tennis and netball and is returning to tennis after some time off. The no.4 women's tussle will be one of youth versus experience between Stratford's Anna Hutterd and Chris Davies from Oakura.
Oakura's men's line-up of either Jaime Simpson or Graeme Mitchell at one, Brady Simpson, Matt Stringer and Len Adamson suggests wins for Oakura in most spots although Michael Boland may pull one back for Stratford against Len Adamson.The bye this week goes to defending champions Huatoki.