The interclub tennis season gets underway
tomorrow when the Soffe Cup kicks off. With the return of two city teams,
the demise of a South Taranaki team and the amalgamation of two Central
Taranaki teams, the competition looks to be stronger this season.
not field a team and Stratford and Midhirst, who both struggled with a lack
of women last season, have combined.
Only six teams
entered originally this season but Rotokare, who did not have any A Grade
teams last season applied, and have been granted direct entry by the
Taranaki Tennis Association Board. They have got a strong line-up and the
Board saw the merits of including them in the competition. Their team
includes several A or B rep players, Leith Atkins, Mike Roberts, Chris
Popata and Mark Atkins.
Huatoki are in
the Soffe Cup for the first time since 2002/03 having won promotion last
season. They have a strong line-up having Jonathan Ussher as their top
player. Ussher played for Midhirst last season. Former Soffe Cup player Neil
Bridgeman will be available for some games and their women's team is strong
with a squad of Saori Han, Janice Taylor, Chris Wilson, Robyn Hinton and
Sara Hamilton. All but Han have a lot of experience in Soffe
Manaia will still be the ones to beat, spearheaded by Jason Mills and
Taranaki No 1 Nicole Koch. Missing from last season are stalwarts Irene
Cruikshank and Cindy Death who are playing in the lower A Grade Divisions.
They have made way for the youngsters and the women's line-up is all
teenagers, Alesha Ford, Ginny Death, Ashlee Murdoch and Shinae Bailey.
The rest of the
men's team has a familiar look about it, Thomas Luxton, Alaister Murdoch ,
Michael Gates and Kelvin Tosland are all experienced players.
Pukekura will no doubt field the same team led by Taranaki rep Zac Wills.
The rest of the men's team is Tony Radich, Ben Aves, Meto Snegirev and Quin
team has not changed for several years and would be the most settled of any
team ; Donna Thorne, Linda Reid, Kirsten Adam and Janette Harding.
lost several top Taranaki players, Aaron Hine who, it is believed, is going
to be playing A2 for Oakura, Chris Popata ( Rotokare), Nicki Mills (not
playing Soffe Cup) and Clare Fairey (overseas).
They will find
the going tough; their No 1 man is Taranaki B player Jordan Stayt, followed
by Stuart Wood who is making a comeback, David Geange (when he returns from
university) and Rhys Sutton. The top two women's players are Jayden Bruce,
Stratford/Midhirst have a strong team, especially the men with Gavin Phelan,
Chris Brown, Elliot Campbell, (when he returns from university) Grant Kite,
Michael O'Sullivan and Bruce Cleland making up the squad. Kathryn
O'Sullivan will be the No 1 when she returns from university, followed by
Lyn Stanners and Shelly Childs.
likely to have the same team with Crichton Parker and Andrew Powell as the
top men and Joanne and Megan Gyde being the top women.
In the games
tomorrow the four city sides play each other with Rotokare hosting Pukekura
and Waiwaka at home to Huatoki.
Stratford/Midhirst host Okaiawa at Midhirst. Early season form is hard to
pick but likely winners are Rotokare, Huatoki and Stratford/Mdhirst. Manaia
have the bye this week.
the other divisions of A Grade gets underway on 4 November.
Jonathan Ussher, Neil Bridgeman, Rakesh Rai, Craig Nairn, Stuart Nairn,
Han, JaniceTaylor, Robyn Hinton, Chris Wilson, Sara Hamilton
Manaia - Jason
Mills, Thomas Luxton, Alaister Murdoch,Michael Gates, Kelvin Tosland
Nicole Koch, Alesha Ford, Ginny Death, Ashlee Murdoch, Shinae Bailey
Andrew Powell, Crichton Parker, Murray Mead, Andrew Baylis, Vincent Baylis
Joanne Gyde, Megan Gyde, Clare Goldsworthy, Michelle Powell,
Donna Thorne, Linda Reid, Janette Harding, Kirsten Adam
Rotokare - Mike
Roberts, Greg Hareb, Mark Atkins, Kevin McLoughlin, Chris Poapta, Shane
Leith Atkins, Michelle Atkins, Beccie Atkins, Val McLoughlin, Kanae Murakame,
Stratford/Midhirst - Gavin Phelan, Chris Brown, Elliot Campbell, Grant Kite,
Micheal O'Sullivan, Bruce Cleland
Kathryn O'Sullivan, Lyn Stanners, Shelly Childs,
Kylie Jury, Tracey Zimmerman, Kelsi Bevins
Jordan Stayt, Stuart Wood, David Geange, Rhys Sutton
Jayden Bruce, Yvonne Chamberlain, Alison Chamberlain, Ana McSeveny
The midweek 4s
competition got under way on Monday with 49 teams competeing, down from 51
last year. It would be good to get a photo of one of these games - in
New Plymouth the most likely venues would be Huatoki or Rotokare.