23 Nov 2011

This weekend see the start of the second round of Soffe Cup tennis.  The host team from round one will travel to the opposition courts and will play the opposite of the doubles type played.  For instance, Manaia hosted Okaiawa first round  with men's and women's doubles played.  In this round, Okaiawa is the host with combined doubles played. 

Table leader Sandfords Manaia are away this week to neighbours Farmlands Okaiawa.  Expect an extremely different result from last rounds 10 2 win to Manaia.  Manaia are without Nicole Koch (Number 1) and Michael Gates (Number 3).  With Manaia's ladies having to move up the ranks for this weekend, Sarah Kelly meets Okaiawa's number one Amelia Weir.  Weir was absent for Okaiawa in the first round so her presence in the squad will make a huge difference.  Weir has been the find of the first round and a win against Kelly will not go un-noticed by Repesentative selectors.   Maree Gopperth is no stranger to the number two position, having played there until the return of Kelly from University, and she will play Jo Gyde (Okaiawa).  Gopperth may have just too much match-play for Gyde.   Grace Kelly of Manaia will play for the first time at three against Jaimee Baylis and at four Trudy Neilsen will play Shannon O'Brien. 

For the men, Manaia will be hoping that Jordan Fleming is at the top of his game this week.  First round he came out firing winning the first set 6-2, but Andrew Powell (his opponent this week again) fought back to a tie-breaker for the second set.  Powell may be mentally ready this time and could fancy his chances.  Without Gates, Tommy Death will move up to three in the ranks for Manaia and will face Vincent Baylis.  Looking at last rounds' results, Baylis could just pip Death.  Youngster Beauden Fleming will join the team for Manaia playing Ryan Stockman at four.  Stockman won the last encounter 6-2 6-0, but this is a new round and Fleming is young and always looking for improvement. 

Farmland Okaiawa have a history of coming through with their doubles, and this weekend with the addition of Weir to the squad and the unavailability of Nicole Koch and Michael Gates, can only surprise.

Central Finance Rotokare hosts AWE Huatoki.  With both sides struggling to present a regular male portion of the squad, it will be a lottery as to who will win.  One thing is certain, both sides have arguably the strongest ladies line-up.   Alice Caskey of Huatoki will front up against long time Taranaki representative Tania L'Ami (Rotokare).  Their first round match was very see-sawing, with the first set going the way of Caskey 6-1.   L'Ami then returned winning the second 6-2 and winning the match 1-6 6-2 10-8.  At two Sophie Robertson has had mixed results and will be looking forward to a possible match up with Karen Cranston. 

Icon's Sport Tariki Pukekura can be excused for thinking that all the clubs in the competition are pulling their top squads together just to play them.  Hareb Deken Motor Oakura, will be fielding a full contingent when they travel to the city club on Saturday.  Oakura are strengthened with the return of Graeme Mitchell at one and all three of the Walden siblings.  Mitchell will play Pukekura's Callum Old, fresh off his win against Taranaki Number one Jordan Fleming last week and could come away with a win.  Pukekura have enlisted the services of Dennis Reid this weekend to take the place of the unavailable Michael Fleming.  Reid will play Josh Walden (Oakura).  Steady at three, Pukekura's Chris Jury will play youngster Tei Walden.  These two have never played and the match will be a must see.   At four will be Len Adamson (Oakura) playing 16 year old Jaime
Simpson.  Hareb Deken Motors welcomes the return of Miaana Walden to number one.  She will play Linda Reid (Pukekura).  Reid hasn't had a great first round, however, she may be digging deep to reclaim her long standing position in the representative side early on in the second round.  Kirsten Adam will play Becky Bruckner (Oakura).  Donna Thorne returns to the Pukekura side at three in place of Jeanette Harding.  Thorne will play Louise Brankin and Pukekura's Louise Waite will move down to four to play Oakura's Chris Davies.