27 Feb 2015
The last week of round robin play before the semi-finals sees a top of the table clash between leaders AWE Huatoki and RE/MAX Pukekura, who will host the tie. Ajeet Rai and Chris Popata top the bill for Huatoki and should be too good for Pukekura's Shaun Alborough and Meto Snegirev. The No.3 men's match pits two promising juniors against each other for the first time when Pukekura's David Barnard plays Jayden Harrison. Barnard is an age group level above Harrison and should come away with a victory. Another first time meeting occurs with the No.4 men's match when Pukekura's Thomson Matuku takes on Chris Avery. Both are evenly matched and this match could go either way. The ladies line-ups for both teams have good depth and will be the determining factor in this tie. Hikaru Han (Huatoki) will be looking to continue her recent dominance over Kirsten Adam in the No.1 match. Han's teammates, Sophie Robertson, Tracey Old and Ellen O'Byrne will need to play top tennis to overcome Linda Reid, Bam Klibmanee and Marcella Jones. This tie is predicted to go down to the last couple of matches and there will be a highly charged atmosphere between two teams that are expected to fight out the final in two week's time.
Third placed Farmlands Okaiawa/Manaia will be looking to get their act together again after only recording one win in 2015. They will host Central Finance Rotokare at Okaiawa. The combined sides men's and women's line-ups looks like having the advantage on paper and based on recent results, but Rotokare are sure to lift their game as they attempt to avoid the wooden spoon. Mark Laurence (Oki/Man) leads the head-to-head matchups over Kyle Crowley and should be able to extend that lead on the hard court surface, in the No.1 fixture. Vince Baylis also leads the head-to-head matchup against old foe Shane Devlin and would be expected to repeat in the No.2 match. Josh Murdoch and Rhys Butler complete the line-up for Okaiawa/Manaia and should pick up wins over Laurie Jordan and Ben Fitzgibbon respectively. The top ladies match is between Taranaki representative player, Lauren Fraine and Rotokare's Julie Foley, with Fraine expected to have the edge. Capree Wineera, Jaimee Baylis and Anna Johnston complete the line-up, with Helena Goodin the only other confirmed lady for Rotokare.