13 Feb 2015
Huatoki host RE/MAX Pukekura Park in the culmination of the Soffe Cup competition. Both sides are at full strength and an intense battle is expected before a victor is found.
Taranaki's top male and female juniors, Ajeet Rai for Huatoki and Louise Waite for Pukekura, are on show and play in the No.1 spot for their respective clubs. They should both come up with victories to put both clubs on the board. Ajeet Rai takes on Shaun Alborough, and Rai has already recorded two comprehensive victories against Alborough this season. Louise Waite takes on Hikaru Han and whilst they haven't played against each other for several years, Waite should be too strong.
The No.2 men's match is between Pukekura's Mat Garnham and Chris Popata for Huatoki. These players have never met and this will be one of the key matches where a victory will swing the expected end result in favour of their team. The No.2 ladies match is between Pukekura's Kirsten Adam and Sophie Robertson for Huatoki. Adam got the result last time they met but that was two years ago and Robertson is capable of a reversal.
The matchup of the No.3's looks like they could both head the way of Pukekura. Meto Snegirev plays Huatoki's David Innes whilst Linda Reid takes on the challenge from Tracey Old. Snegirev has been too good for Innes in the past and Reid has a much higher ranking than Old.
Overall victory for either side will hinge on gaining a lead in the singles rubbers and the No.4 matchups may be critical to achieving an advantage. Huatoki's Murray Keast will be using his experience to try and quell the youthful exuberance of Pukekura's David Barnard whilst Pukekura's Donna Thorne will be using the same techniques to suppress Huatoki's Ellen O'Byrne. Keast and Barnard have never met on the court but Keast, with the higher ranking should deliver for his team. Donna Thorne was a victor over O'Byrne last time they met but that was three years ago and that result could be easily overturned.Going into the doubles matches, the tie is expected to be tied at 4-all or with one of the teams having a 5-3 lead. The doubles and combines matches will be extremely hard-fought and the tension will rise with each result posted until a winning margin in reached. If the overall result is a tie then the winner will be decided by a countback of sets won and then games won. Shane Devlin will be the referee for the tie.