13 Dec 2019
The last round of Soffe Cup before Christmas will be on show this Saturday at clubs around Taranaki.
Oakura will be doing battle with South Combined in Oakura. In their first matchup, South Combined were too much for Oakura but things could be very different second time around. Abby Ross will be away, meaning all the South Combined women will have to step up a place. That said, it seems likely Hamish Mead will be available for the South Combined men, meaning they will be bolstered at number 1. Unfortunately, Mark Laurence will be unavailable, leaving Vince Baylis, Josh Murdoch and Ricky Clement to fill the remaining spots. If Jaime Simpson is available for Oakura, along with Graham Mitchell, it could well be an intriguing Saturday of tennis in Oakura.
Rotokare will be hosting Pukekura. With a fired-up Nikayla Barnard playing in the top spot for Pukekura, Rotokare’s women will need to play to their full potential to stem the Pukekura attack. Caleb Fleming made himself available for rep duties, so it seems likely he will also be playing on Saturday. If this is the case, the Pukekura men will also be very strong. That said, Ajeet Rai will be available for Rotokare in the top men's spot. With a player as strong as this, it means an automatic 3 wins to Rotokare. It will be interesting to see how Pukekura manages the matches against Rai, particularly with how they choose to play their combines match ups. It seems likely Nikayla Barnard will drop down the order, as the women are allowed to play wherever they want in the combines. It would make sense to sacrifice the combines at the top of the order in favour of winning the other three. However, Rotokare may also bank on Rai being able to win with any partner and may also move their no.4 woman up to the top combines. As an unbeaten team, Pukekura will be looking to keep this winning streak going.
Stratford will be at home to Huatoki. At present these are the two teams at the bottom of the table. Both teams will be looking for strong performances to get them back on the winning path towards a place in the top 4 and a semi-final.
In the Wilson Trophy, South Combined are at home to Rotokare, Pukekura will host Inglewood and Waitara will welcome Oakura to their courts.