14 Dec 2019
Taranaki was treated to another exciting weekend of intriguing tennis, where tactics played a big part in the winning and losing of ties.
The most tightly contested battle came as Pukekura visited Rotokare on their
home courts and Pukekura came out the winners 9-7. There was a very clear
split between the strength of the Rotokare men and the strength of the Pukekura
women. Spearheaded by Ajeet Rai, all four of the Rotokare men posted
victories over their Pukekura counterparts. David Barnard was so
comprehensively beaten by Blair Crowley 6-2 6-2 in the number two spot he was
heard to say, “This may be the last time I turn out for Pukekura this season.”
It is highly likely these were words uttered in the heat of the moment.
Nikayla Barnard won comfortably at the top of the order for the Pukekura women
against Tania Atkinson 6-1 6-1. The rest of the Pukekura women followed
suit to leave the score at 4 matches apiece after the singles. The doubles
played out in the same fashion, with Rotokare winning both men’s clashes and
Pukekura accounting for both women’s matches. This meant it was all to play for
in the combines. Unfortunately for Rotokare, tight matches went the way of
Pukekura and they won both the No.3 and No.4 matches, both 9-7. The second
spot saw Nikayla Barnard dropping down to play with her brother David and they
won easily 9-1. Ajeet Rai won with his partner Lucy Atkinson in the top
spot but Pukekura had already won the day. Perhaps the telling difference
between the teams was the well thought out strategy by Pukekura team captain
Mike Erb. Erb sacrificed himself in the top spot against Rai all day and
made sure the combines pairings maximised the chances of wins for Pukekura.
Oakura hosted South Combined and ran out comfortable winners 13-3. The
most exciting match up was the battle between Graham Mitchell and Hamish Mead in
the top men's spot. Mead won the match 7-6 6-7 7-5, with the only break of serve
at the end of the 3rd set. Unfortunately for South Combined three singles
were to be all they would manage for the rest of the day, with all the doubles
and combines going the way of Oakura.
Stratford were at home to Huatoki and Huatoki ran out winners 12-4. It was
relatively evenly poised at 5-3 after the singles but Stratford could only
manage one more win in the combines for Michael Boland and Katie Stanners.
In the Wilson Trophy, South Combined lost at home to Rotokare 9-7, Pukekura lost
at home to Inglewood 10-6 and Waitara lost at home to Oakura 10-6.
In the Sumpter Trophy, Oakura lost to South Combined 10-6 at home and Pukekura beat Huatoki 11-5 at home.