26 Feb 2023

Huatoki and Stratford got important wins in their race to be semi-finalist; Taranaki defeat Whanganui.

Matilde Silva-Luis Silva, Community Sports 

Huatoki and Stratford obtained wins for identical scores (9-7).  With this, both teams have equal chances to be the fourth semi-finalist with only two fixtures left to play in the regular season.

 Huatoki’s women did not drop a set in the singles matches, and this ended up being key for the overall victory.  Jacqui Alexander from Huatoki showed a high level of tennis winning her three matches of the day, against Olivia Pennington in singles, teaming up with Tracey Old for doubles and Alastair Nairn in combines.  Huatoki's experienced Chris Wilson contributed to the result getting an impressive win against the talented Greer Upson, “It was a very good win for me and an amazing result for the team”, Wilson said.  On the man side, Pukekura were too strong and did not concede a set after singles, however, the upset of the day came from top men doubles where Huatoki’s Alastair Nairn and Josh Wormald fought hard to beat Tomi Avery and Mark Belcher in super tie-break 1-6 6-4 10-8.  

At Waiwaka, the Stratford visitors managed to get a 9-7 win against Waiwaka.  Women singles, doubles and combines matches were spread evenly between the teams.  The difference came from the men's singles where Stratford’s Callum Old, David White and Bruce Cleland did not concede a set against Waiwaka’s Nick Creery, Matt Dempsey and Will Gordon.  Matt Verry got the only win beating Ruben Norris with a 6-1 6-1.  On the women's side, Nicole Kowalewski from Stratford demonstrated how much her tennis has improved.  An inspired Kim Carr managed to win all her three matches becoming an important contribution for her team.  Carr commented: “I’m delighted I won all my matches; so far, the best day of the season for me”. 

The fixture between Okaiawa and Rotokare had to be called off due to persistent rain in the south.  

The points table is led by Rotokare with 156.5, followed by Okaiawa with 152, Pukekura has 108.5, Stratford 89.5, Huatoki 81.5 and Waiwaka 52. 

On another note, the Taranaki Senior Rep team obtained an impressive 18-6 win against Whanganui in Stratford last Sunday.  Taranaki’s men Hamish Mead, Blair Crowley, Callum Old, Tomi Avery, Luke De Villiers and Vince Baylis completed a perfect score conceding no set through the day.  Whanganui’s women's line up was very strong.  In the top spot Ayla Giesen beat Emma Roberts in three sets 5-7 6-2 6-2.  Taranaki’s Jorja Symes, Courtney Tippett and Derryn Fleming also got beaten by Whanganui’s Ruby McIntyre, Jessica Eastwood and Dana Hiri.  The wins in women's singles came from the talented Nicole Kowalewski and Jacqui Alexander both with convincing 6-0 6-0 victories against Francesca Lyons and Tabatha Smith respectively.  Moving to doubles, Taranaki took advantage, winning ten out of twelve matches, meaning an important win for our region. “I'm very proud of the team and our result. It’s a great step forward leading into the Tennis Central Hex next month and I’m confident we can match it with any of the other regions heading there. The support they show to their team mates not just on but off the court is absolutely incredible. I can't thank them enough; they are all amazing!'” Captain Blair Crowley commented.