16 Jan 2021

Rotokare were far too strong for Inglewood, Okaiawa narrowly lost to Pukekura and Stratford went down to Oakura.

Rotokare started the first round of the new year at home and never let Inglewood in with any kind of chance. The closest Inglewood came to a set in the singles was Inglewood’s David White in the top spot against Rotokare’s Blair Crowley.  It was 7-6. The second set saw Crowley shut White out of the match 6-0.  The rest of the day was no better for Inglewood, with the final score coming about 16-0.

The matchup between Okaiawa at home and Pukekura was a far closer contest.  Pukekura were able to field a strong women's line up, whereas Okaiawa were without their top player Abby Ross.  However Pukekura’s men’s line up was weaker than usual.

This resulted in the classic split of fortunes where all of Pukekura’s women won their doubles and singles and nearly all of Okaiawa’s men won their doubles/singles.

The only match to go against this trend was the number two men’s match up between Okaiawa’s Mark Laurence and Pukekura’s Tomi Avery.  Avery showed determination and poise beyond his years to recover from losing a tight first to win 4-6 6-4 6-4.

The mixed doubles were evenly split at two rubbers each and so the difference really was the men’s singles match that Avery had won earlier in the day and gave Pukekura the narrowest of wins 9-7.

Stratford were at home to Oakura and some exciting tennis resulted.  The match of the day was between Stratford’s top man, Callum Old and Oakura’s Caleb Fleming.  Whilst Old struck first by claiming the opening set 6-4 it was Fleming who held his nerve through the second set tie break and just managed to claim the final set for a final score of 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5.  It is encouraging to see Fleming maturing as a player.  A younger Caleb Fleming may well have lost his mental edge after losing a close first set.  Oakura proved to have too much depth for Stratford overall and eventually won the day 10-6.

Next week will see Soffe Cup move to Sunday 24 January as there is a representative tennis fixture against Hawkes Bay on Saturday 23 January at Pukekura Tennis Club.  Oakura will be at home to Inglewood, Pukekura will host Huatoki and Okaiawa will welcome Stratford for the southern derby.  Rotokare has the bye.