19 Feb 2012
Sandford Manaia arrived at Pukekura Park Tennis sporting a different squad from their usual. Without Cameron Koch, Sarah and Grace Kelly or Maree Gopperth, it was a tall ask for the South Taranaki side to win by the 4 matches required to gain the top spot in the semi-finals next weekend. Manaia's number 1 Jordan Fleming gained redemption with an easy win over Callum Old 6-1 7-5. Pukekura's Michael Fleming and Dennis Reid dispatched off their opponents (Michael Gates and Tommy Death) convincingly with 6-0 6-0 and 6-1 6-2 wins respectively. Manaia's stalwart Alister Murdoch, playing at 4 gained the win over Meto Snegirev 6-1 6-3. Nicole Koch had the predicable win over Linda Reid 6-0 6-0, with Pukekura's Kirsten Adam and Donna Thorne having to work hard for their wins. Adam played Trudy Nielsen winning 6-2 7-5 and Thorne defeated another stalwart member of the Manaia Club, Anne Putt 6-3 3-6 7-6. In another close match, Manaia's number 4, Helen Johnson, scraped past a determined Jeanette Harding 7-5 5-7 7-6. Combined doubles went two matches each way, leaving the day a 6-all draw.
AWE Huatoki hosted Farmlands Okaiawa on Saturday. Okaiawa were without their number 1 man, Andrew Powell. This meant that Mark Laurence stepped up to play an in-form Amrit Rai. Laurence accounted himself well but lacked the experience to force a win in the third set match tie-break, going down 6-2 4-6 10-2. At two, Huatoki's Jeremy Wichman played Vincent Baylis. Wichman's experience just didnít out weigh Baylis' fitness, with Baylis the victor 6-2 7-6(5). Murray Ritchie (Huatoki) played Ryan Stockman winning 6-1 6-2. Due to junior representatives being away, Huatoki called on the number 1 of their A2 team, Aaron Ritchie. He played Okaiawa's Les Symes, who also stepped up from Okaiawa's A2 team. Symes was just too consistent and showed greater fight in his match, winning 6-1 6-2. Amongst the ladies, Okaiawa No.1 Amelia Weir added a new scalp to her ever growing collection this season, defeating Chris Wilson 2-6 6-1 10-8. Janelle Wilson (Huatoki) won a see-saw match at 2 against Joanne Gyde 6-0 1-6 10-8. The number three match also went to Huatoki but Aroha Beattie (Okaiawa) had a convincing 6-1 6-1 win at No.4 to leave the tie at 4 matches each after the singles. The combined doubles were tied 2 matches each to leave a 6-all draw.Hareb Deken Motors Oakura had been depleted by the return to school of their university students, but managed to put together a fairly good team on paper. However Central Finance Rotokare put together what is becoming a more consistent squad. Malcolm Elder headed the Rotokare team at 1 playing Graeme Mitchell. The score indicating a very closely fought match. Mitchell winning 7-5 7-6. Rotokare's ladies were just too strong for Oakura, winning all 4 singles with three of the four being large margins. Tania L'Ami at one beat Sue Oldfield 6-2 6-2, with Karen Cranston winning 6-0 6-2 against Chris Davies. At four Juliet Farquar played Jackie Rood winning 6-1 6-2. Oakura's Bex Scott started slowly against Frances Gray losing the first set 6-1, but fought back to push Grey in the second, eventually losing 6-1 7-5. Three Combines went the way of Rotokare and this resulted in them winning 8-4 overall.