20 Nov 2014

Competition leaders Farmlands Okaiawa/Manaia host 3rd place AWE Huatoki.  The home team's men appear to have a slight edge on paper and the home, hard-court advantage may be all that helps to consolidate matches their way.  Mark Laurence and Vince Baylis, at the top of the order take on Huatoki's Alistair Nairn and David Innes respectively.  Josh Murdoch should have the edge over the tall stature of Chris Avery at No.3.  The No.4 match sees Rhys Butler take on 12 year old Jayden Harrison making his Soffe Cup debut for Huatoki.  Harrison recently finished 2nd at the Tennis Central Masters and it will be interesting to observe how he manages to cope against an adult at this level.
The Huatoki ladies consisting of Hikaru Han, Tracey Old, Chris Wilson and Ellen O'Byrne are all very accomplished players and would be expected to dominate, however in most of the matchups the Okaiawa/Manaia ladies have similar rankings to their opponents and it may not be all one way traffic.  Grace Kelly returns from university and slots in at No.1, pushing Lauren Fraine, Capree Wineera and Carolyn Jackson down the order.
The team that can pick up three doubles matches may have an strong advantage going into the combines and could hang on for a victory. 

4th placed Inglewood Club Inglewood have their 2nd home tie against 2nd placed RE/MAX Pukekura Park and may again get a winning result.  Pukekura have Louise Waite making her season debut at No.1 and she should be untroubled by Krystal Oakes.  Linda Reid will likewise be too strong for Maria Spurdle at No.2, however matches even up at No.3 with Pukekura's Pam Clough having to battle against Michaela Spurdle and Rebecca Wormald having to combat the higher-ranked Alex Spurdle.
Inglewood are hoping to see the return of Thomas Brown at No.1 and he will be too good for Matt Bayley.  The rest of the Inglewood men; Malcolm Masters, Luke Brown and Campbell Mace should also be far too accomplished for Thomson Matuku, Dion Lundt and Josh Wormald.  Expect Inglewood to have a good lead after the singles and doubles.  Their aim would be to at least share the combines to ensure a good victory over their city neighbours. 

Bottom of the table Thomson O'Neil Stratford will meet 6th placed Hareb Deken Oakura at the TET complex in Stratford and an upset is on the cards.  Stratford's Andy Roberts takes on veteran Len Adamson in the No.1 match.  Both players had surprising, 3 set, first round singles losses and will want to get their first win on the board.  Give this match to Roberts having a home court advantage.  The No.2 match will be intriguing with the very experienced Bruce Cleland taking on one of the up and coming Taranaki juniors, Caleb Fleming.  Expect this match to go the full distance with the home court advantage and extra experience swinging the match Cleland's way.  The remaining men's matches are predicted to also go to Stratford.
Lynn Stanners returns at the top of the order for the Stratford ladies and she will have to be at the top of her game to overcome another junior in Danni Fletcher.  Fletcher will have the better in shot-winning strokes but Stanners will be more consistent and should come through.  Mylie Thwaites will struggle at No.2 against the practiced racquet of Chris Davies and the No.3 and No.4 matches could go either way.