28 November 2009

The conclusion of Soffe Cup's first round saw plenty of ebb and flows on the weekend - and that is not just in regard to the weather.  Two of the three fixtures saw some solid tennis played in trying conditions while the third between Tariki Icon Sports Pukekura and Stumble Inn Waiwaka was washed out entirely.

   Central Finance Rotokare earned a repeat score line of last year's final winning 9-7 over Hareb Deken Oakura.  Oakura captured three of the four men's singles- Graham Mitchell once again illustrated his considerable natural ability beating Mike Roberts 6-1 6-3.  John Hardie Boys likewise beat Blair Crowley at No. 2, 7-5 6-3.  Shane Devlin (Rotokare) came to the rescue of his befallen male team mates beating Len Adamson 0-6 6-4 7-6.  The women's singles were shared 2-2.  Catherine Stevenson led by example as captain winning three vital matches for Rotokare.  Stevenson overcame Sue Oldfield 3-6 6-3 7-6.  Trailing 5-3 after the singles Rotokare then pulled out a superb performance to dominate the doubles and mixed.  Kyle Crowley and Shane Devlin pulled out a momentum-swinging victory over Aaron Hine and Len Adamson 6-0 4-6 7-6, while Stevenson and Beccie Atkins also won a critical match in the top ladies match 4-6 6-3 7-6.  Rotokare then won three out of four mixed doubles to ensnare an improbable victory.  Mike Roberts and Karen Cranston won the top combines match against Graham Mitchell and Sue Oldfield 9-3, while Kyle Crowley and Stevenson won a nail-biting match against Aaron Hine and Louise Brankin 9-7.

 Sanford’s Manaia won a rain-affected match against AWE Huatoki at the Manaia courts 9-7.  In a match blighted by the inclement weather only the singles and the doubles were able to take place before the rain finally set in and the combines were subsequently halved.  Huatoki started the better of the two sides to be ahead 5-3 after the singles.  In the top men's single’s match, Jonathan Ussher acquitted himself extremely well to the conditions in beating Manaia’s Cameron Koch 6-0 7-5.  Amrit Rai then beat Jason Mills in the No. 2 match 6-3 6-1.

Nicole Koch beat Huatoki's Chris Wilson 6-2 6-3 in the No1. ladies single's match.  Diana Carswell slotted back into the Huatoki side seamlessly by defeating Sarah Kelly 6-4 6-1 at No. 3.  Maree Gopperth won perhaps the gutsiest match of the day for Manaia winning an extremely close match against Trudy Neilson 2-6 7-5 7-6.

Manaia thereafter obliterated any thoughts Huatoki may have entertained about causing an upset against the competition leaders, by taking every doubles match. The decisive match in the end came down to the top men's doubles match between Ussher and Rai versus Koch and Jason Mills, although Manaia had already done the damage in the preceding doubles.  In a match where neither pairing gave an inch, Koch and Mills eventually reined supreme 12-10 in the third-set tiebreak. At 7-5 in Manaia’s favour, the weather then had the final say.