15 Dec 2016
The last weekend before the festivities of Christmas sees the first games of the second round of Soffe Cup tennis. With points after the first round halved, table leaders Pukekura host Pihama, with second place getters Oakura away to Rotokare and the final matchup between third and fourth place getters Huatoki and Okaiawa/Manaia.
The Pukekura/Pihama clash looks to flavour Pihama in the men's and Pukekura in the women's so after singles the scores could be even. Pihama's Jordan Fleming is yet to lose a match and would seem too strong for Pukekura's David Barnard. Beauden Fleming, Jacob Gopperth and James Padilla round out Pihama's team with likely wins to Fleming and Gopperth however Pukekura may well get a win from Sasha Milentijevic-Vague over James Padilla. Louise Waite is also unbeaten so far this Soffe cup season and Pihama's Grace Kelly is unlikely to be able to challenge this record. Kirsten Adam and Ella Rogers are likely winners over Marina Gopperth and Peggy Lawn with Marlene Foreman playing at no.4 for Pukekura and Pihama yet to name their fourth women. No specialist doubles players have been named and it could well come down to the doubles and combines results to separate the teams this week.
Oakura are fielding Jaime Simpson, Graeme Mitchell, Brady Simpson and Len Adamson versus Rotokare's Blair Crowley, Mike Roberts, Shane Devlin and Buzz Campbell. Simpson was too strong for Crowley when they met last round but that result means little with both having more games under their belt now. Mitchell will come up against Mike Roberts who hasn't played Soffe Cup in some years with Mitchell the likely winner although Roberts shouldn't be underestimated. Brady Simpson would hope to make it three men's wins for Oakura over Shane Devlin and the final battle will see Adamson versus Campbell. The women's games could be more evenly contested with Sue Oldfield versus Tania Atkinson likely to go Oakura's way but then Bailey Bruckner, Miaana Walker and Chris Davies play Chantelle Peters, Brittaney Carr and Julie Foley. Oakura are introducing Simon Spurdle, Gary Bruckner, Ana Spurdle and Becky Bruckner into the specialist doubles mixes to rest the Simpson boys, Graeme Mitchell, Sue Oldfield and Bailey Bruckner who all represent Taranaki in the Christie Cup versus Wanganui the next day.
The final clash between Huatoki and Okaiawa/Manaia will see a replay of the game that lasted nearly 3 hours, 2 weeks ago between Jayden Harrison and Mark Laurence this time with Harrison having the home court advantage. Huatoki's men's lineup is rounded out with Alistair Nairn, Murray Keast, and Luis Silva and they will be hoping for wins against David Baker, Vince Baylis and Josh Murdoch but these games could go either way. The women's looks to favour Huatoki with them fielding Marcella Jones, Tracey Old, Chris Wilson and Lorraine Heerdegen to play Georgia Jackson, Dayna Corbett, Jaimee Baylis and Laurel Scott. Huatoki also have players playing the Sunday representative fixture but are not so fortunate to have specialist doubles players available this week however on paper it appears they may go to the doubles with a lead after singles which they will hope to extend on.
Soffe cup tennis will then take a break until 28th January 2017.