27 March 2011

Soffe Cup Final Review


Sanfords Manaia was crowned Soffe Cup champion for the second consecutive year after downing Tariki Icon Sports Pukekura 10-6 on Saturday.  The home side was pushed right to the combines before prevailing with three of the four combines matches on offer.  This team may celebrate a thoroughly commendable season which saw the club lead the competition from start to finish.  The unity and cohesion is a feature of this side where nearly all members are under 25 years of age.  With many years ahead of them, yet another dynasty of Taranaki Tennis domination looks set to unfold in the town of Manaia.


The tie got under way in appreciably good conditions given the different story just a few miles north.  The No. 1 mens match between Jordan Fleming and Callum Old was won by Fleming 6-1 6-2.  Cameron Koch then capped a great year with a terrific 6-2 6-3 win over Mike Fleming.  Dennis Reid earned Pukekura's only men's victory- winning 6-1 6-3 against Jacob Gopperth.  Michael Gates won comfortably in the No. 4 match 6-1 6-1 over Meto Snegirev.

The No. 1 womens match between Nicole Koch and Linda Reid was a master class by Koch who won 6-0 6-0.  Kirsten Adam pulled one back for Pukekura beating Sarah Kelly in the No. 2 match 6-2 6-1.  Maree Gopperth commandeered a 6-3 6-1 victory over Donna Thorne.  Jeanette Harding fought her way to a hard-earned 7-5 6-4 victory for Pukekura. 

The doubles were shared with Manaia claiming both top mens and womens matches, while Pukekura claimed the bottom doubles of both genders.

Fleming/Koch were just too good for Old/Snegirev winning 6-2 6-2.  Fleming/Reid alternately were way too experienced a team to be troubled in their match- they won 6-1 6-3 over Gates/Gopperth.

Koch/Gopperth have unearthed a fine partnership this season- they won against Reid/Harding 6-0 6-0.  Adam/Thorne then levelled the doubles with a 6-2 6-2 win over S. Kelly/G. Kelly.


In the combines with the overall scoreline at 7-5 Manaia needed just two more matches to seal victory.  The first of them came in the No. 1 combines match. The partnership of Fleming/Gopperth was too strong for Old/Harding winning 9-3.  Following that the crucial loss of Mike Fleming to injury during the No.2 combines match effectively killed off any chances of Pukekura staging a comeback.  With that match defaulted to Manaia, it could proclaim victory for another season.  The final two matches although trivial to the final result were still carried out to a top standard. Reid/Thorne won the No. 3 match against Gopperth/G. Kelly 9-4, while Gates/S. Kelly won 9-7 over Snegirev/Adam in the No. 4 match.

Sumpter Trophy (A3) Review


The A3 Sumpter Trophy champion for season 2010-11 is Okaiawa.  Okaiawa were too good for Waitara who had no answer for the South Taranaki side's quality mixed doubles combinations.

The No. 1 mens singles match was won by Malcolm Baylis over Reece Pilcher 6-4 6-1.  Les Symes then won comfortably 6-1 6-0 over Lionel Ogilvy.  Hamish Mead was particularly impressive winning 7-6 (9-7) 6-0 over Te Riaki Nicol indicating a big future ahead of the youngster.  Mervin Hawkes then completed the mens clean sweep for Okaiawa, winning 6-1 6-0 over Vini Purcell.

The No. 1 womens match was crucially won by Okaiawa's Aroha Beattie 6-4 6-4 over Debbie Wheeler.  Waitara won the three remaining womens matches however to stay in touch with the visitors. Carolyn Jackson won 6-1 6-0 against Laurel Stockman in the No.2 match, Esther Timu was equally devastating in her match also winning 6-1 6-0 over Helen Hurley whilst Georgia Jackson then defeated Sharon Bent 7-5 6-2 in the No. 4 match.

The doubles were shared making the overall scoreline 7-5 in favour of Okaiawa going into the combines.  Okaiawa won both mens doubles comfortably, while Waitara had the same success in the women. Baylis/Symes beat Pilcher/Purcell 6-0 6-0 in the No. 1 mens match.  Mead/Hawkes then won 7-5 6-4 in the bottom doubles.  Wheeler/C. Jackson won 6-1 6-1 over Beattie/Hurley in the top womens doubles match.  Timu/ G. Jackson won 6-1 6-1 also over Stockman/Bent in the No.2 womens match.

Okaiawa then took full control of the combines to win in style.  Baylis/Beattie won 9-1 against Wheeler/Pilcher.  Symes/Stockman won 9-3 over Ogilvy/C. Jackson.  Mead/Hurley also won 9-3 against Nicol/Timu.  Finally Hawkes/Bent won 9-5 over Purcell/G. Jackson to put the finishing touches on a top team performance and overall season.

Wilson Trophy (A2) Review (played Sunday)

Wilson Trophy Final, Stratford v Okaiawa.
After persistant rain wiped out any chance of play on Saturday, both teams headed to the intended final destination at the Midhirst tennis courts on Sunday determined to get a result.  Unfortunately, constant heavy showers and rain were always going to cause trouble on the day at Midhirst, so Stratford graciously agreed to play the final at Matapu and Okaiawa courts where there was predominantly fine weather.
Shortly before both teams arrived at Okaiawa there was a sudden downpour which required a further delay whilst the courts were rolled, brushed and mopped dry.  Play eventually got underway about midday.
Okaiawa's No.1 man, Andrew Powell got the team off to a great start winning his match over Grant Kite 6-0 6-0 but Stratford replied immediately, winning the No. 2 mens singles; Michael Boland playing powerful tennis to defeat Okaiawa's Mark Laurence 6-2 6-2.  The No. 3 and No. 4 mens matches both went Okaiawa's way with Vincent Baylis defeating Tin Stanners 6-3 6-3 and Ryan Stockman squeaking home 6-2 3-6 7-6(8) over Richard Hutterd. 
Okaiawa had a 3-1 lead in the tie but things were definitely not going their way with the women at the Matapu courts.  Stratford won all of the womens singles to lead the tie 5-3 after the completion of the singles.  The experienced Lynn Stanners beat Taranaki B and Junior Rep, Amelia Weir, 7-5 6-1; equally experienced Maree Kydd beat Joanne Gyde 7-6(5) 6-1; Reagan Boland defeated Jaimee Baylis 7-5 6-1; Katie Stanners was narrowly the victor over Shannon O'Brien 6-1 6-7(8) 7-6(5).
Onto the doubles and Okaiawa won both mens doubles in epic contests.  Powell/Laurence defeated Kite/Boland 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(5).  Baylis/Stockman defeated Stanners/Hutterd 6-2 4-6 7-6(8).  Whilst Stratford lost both mens doubles, they picked up a set in each match which could become critical in a countback of sets if the tie was even at 8-all at the end of the day.  The womens doubles provided a couple of upset results with Okaiawa women winning both matches.  Weir/Gyde comfortably defeated Stanners/Stanners 6-1 6-3 and Baylis/O'Brien defeated Kydd/Boland 6-4 7-5 in a nail-biting encounter.  The doubles underlined Okaiawa's close-knit pairings and their never-say-die attitude that they bring to the game.
Okaiawa now led the tie 7-5 and needed two of the four combined doubles to go their way to secure victory but there were more twists in the story to come.
The first combined doubles match was Okaiawa No.4 man and No.1 woman, Stockman/Weir playing the two No. 4's for Stratford, Hutterd/K.Stanners.  Okaiawa were favoured to win this match but got off to a poor start and combined with cramp injuries to Ryan Stockman, succumbed to the Stratford pair 9-7.  Overall score in the tie now 7-6 to Okaiawa.
The three remaining combined doubles all started at the same time.  A quick count up of sets if the overall result was a draw would see Stratford win in a sets countback therefore Okaiawa had to win two of these remaining three matches.  However, the Stratford pairings could sense victory was theirs and all three matches were being led by Stratford 6-3.  Stratford duly won the No. 2 combines 9-5; Boland/Kydd defeating Laurence/Gyde 9-5.  The overall tie score was now 7-7.
The sibling pairing for Okaiawa in the No. 3 combines, Vincent and Jaimee Baylis staged a huge comeback to win their match over Stanners/Boland 9-7.  Okaiawa now led the tie 8-7 but could only win the tie with outright victory.  The No. 1 combines match on court 1 had both teams and a sizeable spectator crowd gathered to watch. The Okaiawa pair of Powell and O'Brien (No. 4 woman) fought back from 3-6 to lead Kite/L.Stanners 8-6.  Kite and Stanners then broke back and held serve to level the match at 8-all and force a tie-break.  The tiebreak was close all the way with the lead changing several times.  Powell/O'Brien were able to respond to the crowd's urgings and prevailed 9-8 (7-5 in the tiebreak). Okaiawa won the tie 9-7 at 6:40pm.
Stratford were extremely generous in defeat and the lengthy after-match celebrations were shared by both teams.
This capped a tremendous season for Okaiawa, a small South Taranaki tennis club, winning the Sumpter Trophy on Saturday and adding the Wilson Trophy on the Sunday.  Okaiawa Tennis Club also celebrate their centennial in 2011.