25 Nov 2016
Soffe cup tennis will be hoping for some better tennis weather this week after most ties were completed in the rain last week, when Pukekura host Okaiawa/Manaia, Rotokare travel to Pihama and Stratford host Huatoki.
The clash of the weekend looks to be between Pukekura and Okaiawa/Manaia currently second and third on the table and both coming off the back of wins last week. Okaiawa/Manaia has already had the bye this round so a win could see them march up the table. Pukekura have Caleb Fleming in the No1 men's spot for a second week in a row which strengthens their men's lineup. Fleming on past results and points looks to be stronger than Okaiawa/Manaia's David Baker however the other men's clashes could be a lot closer with Pukekura's David Barnard, Andrew Hood and Sasha Milentijevic-Vague playing Vince Baylis, Josh Murdoch and Guillermo Gomez. In the women's, Pukekura should get off to a strong start with Nikayla Barnard likely to continue her unbeaten record against Carolyn Jackson and Kirsten Adam and Ella Rogers favored over Helen Johnston and Georgia Jackson. Pukekura are yet to name their fourth women who will meet season debutante for Okaiawa/Manaia Sheri Hughes. Doubles and combines combinations will need to be strong if Okaiawa/Manaia are to outplay Pukekura.
The Pihama v Rotokare matches see some newcomers to the competition with Pihama fielding an increased strength women's lineup with the inclusion of Paris and Tara Butters. Paris at No1 may well be a significant challenge for Rotokare's consistent Tania Atkinson. Tara at No2 will meet Chantelle Peters whilst Rotokare's Brittaney Carr and Julie Foley may well ensure points are equal if not in favour of Rotokare after the women's singles. The No1 men's game could be a hard fought battle. Whilst Rotokare's Blair Crowley is yet to secure a win he has possibly met some of the toughest competition and will be looking to try to secure a win against Pihama's Beauden Fleming. Brother Kyle is in a similar position and meets Jacob Gopperth. Shane Devlin will be hoping to secure a win for Rotokare against Rob Haveswood with either James Padilla or Matt Symons playing for Pihama in the no4 spot against Alex Brebner. Overall it could be quite a close tie with the overall result dependent on doubles and combines. Whilst the Crowley brothers have struggled to secure singles victories they are currently unbeaten in doubles so will look to continue this winning streak.
The final tie sees defending champions Huatoki meet Stratford. After last week fielding a full strength men's lineup, this week Huatoki are without both Ajeet Rai and Jayden Harrison so their men's lineup all have to move up the order. Murray Keast will meet Stratford's Sam Howard with Howard in strong form recently this is likely to go his way. In the other games Huatoki will look for wins from Alistair Nairn over Bruce Cleland and either Kristian Revfiem or Luis Silva over Grant Kite and Michael Boland. Huatoki's women look to be their strength this week again fielding Marcella Jones, Ellen O'Byrne, Tracey Old and Chris Wilson who will hope to get at least 3 wins over Mylie Thwaites, Katie Stanners, Courtney Tippett and Anna Hutterd. Huatoki are injecting specialist doubles player Ross Lilley into the doubles mix and will hope to gain some points with this. This may mean Huatoki will secure the win but probably not by the margin they would expect had they had a full strength lineup.