16 Feb 2013

The penultimate round of  Soffe Cup before the semis, cracks into action this Saturday with  the battle of the top two teams, Icon's Sport Tariki Pukekura at home taking on last years winners Sandfords Manaia; Central Finance Rotokare host Hareb Deken Oakura while Farmlands Okaiawa travel north to AWE Huatoki. 

Manaia are again missing a number of key players, while Pukekura is at full strength and firing.  Nicole Koch will have her hands full with the talented Louise Waite in the battle of the No.1 women while Trudy Vince will have to be at her retrieving best  to outpoint Pukekura No.2 Kirsten Adam.  Soffe Cup debutantes, Georgia Bartosh and Dayna Corbett at 3&4, face an uphill battle against Pukekura stalwarts Linda Reid and Donna Thorne in a baptism of fire.  Manaia's No.1 Jordan Fleming should get past Callum Old, but his running mate, Cameron Koch is unavailable, therefore Michael Gates has to take on the indomitable Mike Fleming.  At 3and 4, Manaia's youngsters Beauden Fleming and Josh Murdoch will relish the experience to come up against tough Chris Jury  and Jamie Simpson, but probably not the outcome.  The doubles and combines should  be dominated by Pukekura. 

Oakura will be looking for a win over a depleted Rotokare team in the race for the fourth semifinal spot.  Oakura's No1 Graeme Mitchell should prove too good for Malcolm Elder in the men's No.1 match.  Rotokare's young Cole Hareb steps up at  No.2 but will find Oakura's Len Adamson  a wily customer.  Buzz Campbell  at No.3 should have a good battle with Oakura's Charlie Lewis, likely to go close, while Cory Sutherland's young legs may just pull him through past Rotokare's Laurie Jordan.  Rotokare's women's line-up will have Francis Gray, fresh from her senior rep debut  at No.1 to face Sue Oldfield, while Beccie Atkins will be confident to take on the well performed Jackie Keenan.  Michelle Atkins and Helena Goodin at 3 & 4 for Rotokare could go close against Chris Davies and Rebecca Scott.  Oakura might just have the edge in the doubles and combines a close match overall in store.

Huatoki are wondering who to leave out , with a  full strength men's squad to pick from.  Amrit Rai at No.1 will  take on Okaiawa's Andrew Powell.  Ajeet Rai at No.2, could find Okaiawa's  Mark Laurence tough but should prevail while Andrew Sangster and Chris Popata playing at 3 & 4 will stretch Okaiawa's Vincent Baylis and Ryan Stockman.  In the women's, Alice Caskey will take on  Okaiawa's No.1, Amelia Weir. Weir is confident after a good win last week and this could be close.  The balance of the women's matches should go Huatoki's way with Sophie Roberstson, Ellen O'Byrne and Lorraine Heerdegen, all having the edge over Jo Gyde, Jaimee Baylis and Shannon O'Brien.  Huatoki are favoured to dominate the doubles although Okaiawa have had some good combines wins.