26 December 2007

Hawera Sportsworld Taranaki Tennis Open preview

Dec 27-Dec 30 2007

A strong Manawatu contingent arrives in Hawera today for the Hawera Sportsworld Taranaki Tennis Open.

Top seed for the men’s competition is Wanganui’s Simon O’Leary whilst Manawatu No.1 Scott Sutherland, who plays regional interclub in Wellington, is the No2 seed.  Scott is a previous age group winner, having won the 16 boys title in 1997.  No. 3 seed is Tim Preston, who won the Men’s Open Doubles and Open Combined Doubles last year and was a finalist in the singles.  Dual Open singles winner and defending champion, Manawatu’s Kurt McNamara, will have to be on top form to retain his title but he has shown his skills on grass in the past having won 4 senior and 1 junior titles at Hawera.

Representing Taranaki is the men’s singles are Taranaki No.1, Jono Ussher, along with current Soffe Cup players Jordan Fleming, Joshua Walden, David Geange, Rhys Sutton and Waikato-based players Tristan Stayt (No. 4 seed) and Andrew Powell.   Also making a welcome return is ex-Hawera player Peter Lehrke (Auckland).  Peter won the 14 boys title in 1974 and returned 30 years later to win the Open Combined doubles title.

Auckland’s Doug Renall (who has been playing in the NZ residentials), Wellington’s Matt Grant, Wanganui’s Wilton Atkins and Manawatu’s Jono Spring and Sam Howard complete the field.

In the Open Women’s singles, with Taranaki No.1 Nicole Koch not playing, a new titleholder will be determined.  The top seed is Manawatu’s Manumea Durie, who is currently ranked 21 in NZ on TopDog ranking.  No.2 seed is Tuscany Hamel, Canterbury, ranked 48 in NZ.  They are joined in the competition by Kapi Mana-based sisters, Alice and Rheanna Wiggin, who have 7 Taranaki Open titles between them, Briar Malpas from Manawatu and the Taranaki duo of Alesha Ford (4 Taranaki Open titles) and Amelia Bowers-Weir.

Very good fields in terms of quality and quantity have entered for the age group events, which range from 10 year olds to 18 year olds, including 9 entries from Australia. 

The Taranaki Open will be complimented in late January by the Midlands Mortgage Trust New Zealand Lawn Tennis Championships also being held in Hawera.  This event will attract some of NZ’s leading men’s and women’s players competing for over $7000 in prizemoney.     

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.

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