1 Apr 2012

The inaugural Taranaki Tennis Sports Awards were held Sunday night at the Stratford Club.

Ajeet Rai won the Junior Sportsman award over fellow nominees, Jayden Harrison, Tim Neild and Brady Simpson.  Over the past year, Rai was the 2011 NZ Junior Masters Champion 12 Boys; won the 12 Boys title at the Tennis Central Masters; won the Taranaki Open 12 Boys singles and 14 Boys Doubles; won the 14 & 16 Boys singles at the Taranaki Junior Summer Open; won the Wanganui Junior Open 12 Boys singles and was selected in the Tennis NZ Age Group Squads which is part of their High Performance Strategy.

Louise Waite won the Junior Sportswoman award over fellow nominee, Alice Caskey.   Waite won the 12 Girls title at the Tennis Central Masters, reached the semi-final of the 12 Girls doubles at the NZ National Championships and achieved the biggest rise in rankings of any junior girl in Taranaki.

Taranaki's No.1 man in the Representative team, Jordan Fleming, took out the Senior Sportsman award, winning the title over Tristan Stayt.  Fleming was a semi-finalist in the singles at the Dunlop Slazenger Open in October and won the open doubles title.  He also competed at the NZ 18 Boys championships and was a key component of the Taranaki team which won the Christie Cup and the Tennis Central Hexagonal.

Another key component of the Taranaki Representative side was Taranaki's No.1 woman, Nicole Koch.  Koch won the Senior Sportswoman award over Tania L'Ami and Kirsten Adam.  Koch had a 16 win / 1 loss record in all interclub singles and representative matches.  Koch was the Taranaki Open Woman's Singles Champion winning the title for the 3rd time, as well as leading the Manaia club to another Soffe Cup title.

A popular winner on the night was the Davis Cup Ball Kid team, who took out the Team of the Year.  The ball kids operated at the Davis Cup held in Hawera last year.  They were awarded the highest possible rating by the International Tennis Federation Referee and received glowing reports from the International Chair Umpires and Tennis NZ management.  They won the title over fellow nominee, the Okaiawa Soffe Cup team.

Club of the Year was awarded to Pukekura Park, who edged out Rotokare and Oakura.