26 December 2006

Hawera Sportsworld Taranaki Tennis Open Preview

Dec 27-Dec 30 2006

Tim Preston (No.1) and Kurt McNamara (No.2) (both Manawatu) are the top two seeds in the Men’s Open Singles at the 2006 “Hawera Sportsworld” Taranaki Tennis Open.  Kurt McNamara is a regular to the Open and last year took out the Open Singles, Open Doubles with Wilton Atkins and Open Combined Doubles with Alice Wiggin.  Tim Preston is a newcomer to the Taranaki Open and heads a sizeable contingent from the Manawatu province.  Tim is an accomplished grass tennis player having had recent success is the Northern Lawn Tennis Invitational at P.N.  Taranaki hopes ride with representative players Jonathan Ussher (Huatoki) and Andrew Powell (Okaiawa) along with Stuart Wood and David Geange.

In the Open Men’s Doubles there are several partnerships that could win the title.  Tim Preston pairs up with Lukasz Klobukowski, Kurt McNamara teams up with Andrew Powell, whilst Taranaki No.1, Jono Ussher partners with fellow rep player Chris Popata.  These three pairings are favoured but they could be upset by other combinations in what will be a close competition.

In the Open Ladies Singles, last years finalists are the top two seeds.  Nicole Koch (Manaia) is again top seed and will be looking to retain her Singles title after defeating Alice Wiggin (Kapi Mana) last year.  Alice is the No.2 seed.   Alice is joined by her sister Rheanna in the Open Doubles looking to make it a hat-trick of titles, but will have strong opposition from the Taranaki representative pairing of Nicole Koch and Alesha Ford.

Entries overall are up 20% on the past two years especially noticeable in the 10-14 age groups from both sexes with entries received from BOP to Wellington and from Australia.    

Tournament play begins daily from 10am on the natural grass courts at the Hawera Lawn Tennis & Squash Club facilities on Albion St, Hawera.  Age Groups begin on Wednesday 27th; adult grades begin on Thursday 28th and the tournament runs through to Saturday 30th.

NB: I have attached a few photographs for use with article if you wish.  Kurt McNamara (2005 Men’s Singles winner) and Nicole Koch (2005 Ladies Open Singles winner), & Alice/Rheanna Wiggin (2004 & 2005 Open Ladies Doubles winners)

Tournament Controller: Andrew Baylis, Cell: 027 4965 672 Hm: 06 2726517 Courts: 06 278 5576