27 Nov 2021


Rotokare put on a strong team performance spiced with star power in their win over Pukekura in Soffe Cup action over the weekend.  The rematch of last year’s final proved to be a comfortable 12-4 win for the team from city’s west though this outcome seemed unlikely after the singles were shared 4-4.  Rotokare’s seasoned singles line-up was headed by Blair Crowley, with Luis Silva, Luke De Villiers and experienced club captain Shane Devlin anchoring the men at No.4. Karen Cranston headed Rotokare’s lineup backed by Chantelle Peters and Tania and Lucy Atkinson.

While Crowley accounted reasonably easily for Jordan Whittleston, who is still working his way into tennis form after a stellar hockey season, the rest of the men’s singles were closer affairs.  Silva had to work hard against David Barnard making a welcome return from studying down south.  Silva, a tough competitor who thrives in close contests, eventually outlasted Barnard in three sets 6-4 3-6 6-4.  Playing on the hardcourts in hot conditions, De Villiers took the first set against Pukekura’s Tomi Avery 6-4 before the young player found his rhythm to close out the final two sets each with a score of 6-1.  Devlin proved a handful for Andrew Moffat, who eventually secured the win for Pukekura in two close sets 7-5 7-6.  There were two retirements in the women’s matches with Pukekura’s Derryn Fleming retiring at one set all with Chantelle Peters while Rotokare’s Lucy Atikinson retired after splitting sets with Anne Wilson.  At the top of the line-up, Cranston had too much on the day for Nikayla Barnard, winning 6-0 6-1 while Pukekura’s Lily Lay was working hard in the heat to secure a close two set victory over Tania Atkinson 7-6 6-4.

Doubles action was marked by the return of Ajeet Rai to the Soffe Cup scene for Rotokare.  Rai, has recently returned home to New Plymouth with a career high doubles ranking of 458 with a string of ITF doubles titles in Monastir, Tunisia so it was unsurprising he was a different class to the other players on show.  Pairing with Luke De Villiers, Rai gave an appreciative crowd a taste of his power and deft touches on court.  Whittleston and Moffat had some individual moments, but it was a comfortable victory for Rotokare 6-1 6-0.  That paved the way for a dominant showing for Rotokare, who picked up all the remaining matches relatively comfortably. The exception was in the bottom women’s doubles, where Rotokare’s Chantelle Peters and Kate Laurenson had to battle before edging out Lili Lay and Anne Wilson 11-9 in a super-tiebreak.

In other action Okaiawa retained their top of the table spot with a 10-6 win over Huatoki. The Okaiawa men’s lineup of Hamish Mead, Mark Laurence, Grant Morris and Vincent Baylis picked up a clean sweep of wins against Alistair Nairn, Ross Lilley, Murray Keast and Shane Douglas while Huatoki’s women did their best to even the ledger with Sophie Robertson, Chris Wilson and Deanne Werder-McCrea all picking up wins.  Okaiawa had one hand on the title after winning 3 from 4 doubles matches then halved the combines to seal the deal.

Stratford comfortably accounted for Inglewood 11-5.