24 March 2007

In one of the closest ever Soffe Cup finals, AWE Huatoki defeated Sandfords Manaia by two sets (19-17) after the sides ended up 8 all. It was a great day's tennis watched by a large crowd at Huatoki. 
Manaia got the early advantage by going up 5- 3 after the singles. Manaia's women won all but the No 1 match with No 2 Alesha Ford easily beating Saori Han 6-3, 6-1, Ashlee Murdoch beating Chris Wilson 6-4, 6-4 and Ginny Death defeating Robyn Hinton 6-2, 6-2. Huatoki's No 1 Lucy Barlow had little trouble defeating Nicole Koch 6-2, 6-0.
In the men's singles, honours were shared, Huatoki's No 1 Jonathan Ussher beat Tom Luxton 6-2, 6-4 and No 3 Neil Bridgeman beat Alaister Murdoch 6-2, 6-2,  Manaia's Jason Mills beat Roy Gaskin and Michael Gates defeated Rakesh Rai in the third set tiebreaker.
Both men's doubles were decided in third set tiebreakers with Huatoki's Ussher and Bridgeman taking the top one against Luxton and Mills and Manaia's Murdoch and Gates winning the No 2 one against Gaskin and Rai.
Huatoki won both women's doubles and it was 6 all going into the mixed doubles. Both sides won two matches but Huatoki already had a one set advantage and got one more set in the 8-9 loss in the last game, which was Rai and Wilson against Gates and Koch.
There was plenty to celebrate as the last time Huatoki held the Cup was 1997-98.
In the Wilson Trophy, Oakura made no race of it against Matapu on their home courts, winning 13-3. They got out to a 6-2 lead after the singles and then took out the men's doubles and a mixed to gain an unassailable lead.
In the Sumpter Trophy, Team Hawera upset Huatoki 9-7 at Waiwaka. After the singles Hawera were up 5-3 and maintained that two game advantage.  All the doubles were shared in a hard fought match. Five of the matches were decided by tie breakers.