18 November 2009

Round Four of Soffe Cup gets under way this weekend.

Stumble Inn Waiwaka will meet Hareb Deken Oakura at home in an opportunity to prove their credentials as a genuine contender in this competition.

Waiwaka may welcome back Michelle Lace- a pivotal member of their title winning side in the Wilson Trophy last season. Lace will add the depth to their side that could help turn the tide in their season. If she returns this Saturday she will play against Miaana Walden, who has taken over the No.1 spot in Sue Oldfield's absence for Oakura. Walden has been one of the standout performers in the early rounds of Soffe Cup and will relish the opportunity to face Lace in what should be a quality encounter. Louise Brankin should line-up at No. 3 opposite to Shuna Giles and will begin as favourite. On the men's side Oakura have been strengthened by the arrival of Josh Walden who has returned from university.  He will have a tough opponent in his comeback against David Lace.  Both players bring very consistent games to the fore and thus will combine for a proficient match-up.  Meanwhile Aaron Hine will be extremely hard to beat at No. 4 when lining up against his former club.  Steve Lloyd or Simon Momich will meet him and will undoubtedly have their work cut out.  Oakura will be determined to reverse last weekend's loss and thus will be favoured to claim the tie this Saturday.


Tariki Icon Sports Pukekura returns home to play AWE Huatoki this weekend. Pukekura will be out to show the rest of the competition they are not done with in season 09/10.  Huatoki on the other hand will be focused on staying with the three leading clubs while widening the gap between them and fifth-placed Waiwaka.  The defining matches could well be played in the lower half of the singles and doubles due to the fluctuating availability for each team.  Meto Snegirev will likely play Jeremy Wichman at No. 3, while Paul Simpson may come up against Quinn Rosa.  These ties could be split 1-1.  The doubles between these pairings will be of interest - Wichman and Rosa will start as favourites based on last weekend's showings.  In the ladies matches either Kirsten Adam or Jeanette Harding will play at No. 3 for Pukekura and will likely meet Diana Carswell or Alice Caskey.


Sanfords Manaia will provide the sternest challenge yet for reigning champions Central Finance Rotokare when they travel down to the South Taranaki town to play the in-form side of the competition.  There is an incentive for both these teams to grab hold of this match and therefore strike an exclusive outpost at the top of the points table.  Catherine Stevenson will meet Nicole Koch in the top women's match of the round.  Stevenson will surely test Koch all the way and will be more than capable of causing an upset over Taranaki's No. 1.  Koch however is the consummate professional in her commitment for her club and will start as favourite in the match.  Karen Cranston conversely will be favoured against Sarah Kelly although she will do well to heed the threat of her younger opposition.

Cameron Koch will play either Chris Popata or Mike Roberts in the top men's tie and should provide for entertaining theatre either way.

Manaia will be favoured to pick up at least two of the other men's matches and will therefore make life difficult for Rotokare to pick up a result in this tie.