12 November 2009
Round 3 of Soffe Cup gets under way this weekend with each fixture neatly comprised to provide for some top draw tennis over the weekend.
Hareb Deken Oakura will play Sanfords Manaia in a top of the table clash that will have Taranaki tennis fans salivating at the prospect in Oakura this Saturday. Oakura will field another consistently strong side while Manaia are building into the sort of form that has been at the heart of their dynasty over the last decade. There will be some titanic battles in store including a cracker of a match up between Oakura's Graham Mitchell, and Manaia's Cameron Koch. The No. 2 male contest between John Hardie Boys and either of Jason Mills or Jordan Fleming could very well be equally as enthralling. On the women's side of the ledger Sue Oldfield will likely meet Nicole Koch in the No. 1 line-up. Shae Martin will also line-up for Oakura this weekend against either Helen Johnston or Grace Kelly and will be tough to beat at No. 4.
This tie will undoubtedly boil down to the quality each team brings to the doubles and combines, where they have both historically shown themselves to be quintessential exponents of the disciplines. Oakura will begin the match as slight favourite.
Central Finance Rotokare will contest Tariki Icon Sports Pukekura at the Rotokare courts in another dangerous prospect for the defending champion. Mike Fleming and Callum Old will return for Pukekura and therefore will be a different side to the one humbled by Oakura last weekend. Chris Popata has returned to the Rotokare squad for this match and will provide much welcome depth to their overall balance in singles and doubles. Popata will square-off against Mike Fleming in a heavyweight meeting between two former Taranaki representatives. Meanwhile Catherine Stevenson will play Linda Reid in the top ladies singles match. Fleming and Reid will start as favourites based on previous results; however Stevenson has demonstrated some terrific early season form and will provide formidable opposition for Reid. The remaining matches will be difficult to pick on paper, and will ultimately come down to each side's passion on the day.
AWE Huatoki meets Stumble Inn Waiwaka at home in a match where each team will be eager to post their first win of the season. Both sides have come agonizingly close in their first two matches (Huatoki losing 7-9 on both occasions, and Waiwaka 7-9 and 6-10 respectively), and therefore adds a certain degree of significance to this tie for a victory if either side wishes to stay in touching distance of the two top spots. For Huatoki five of their regular ladies are either in doubt or confirmed unavailable due predominantly to injuries. They are further hampered by the unavailability of four men from their regular squad.