29 February 2008

Tomorrow is the last round of games before the semi-finals in all three A grades or interclub tennis.  In each grade the top four have already been established as they have a substantial lead over of the next teams. The finishing order will determine home or away matches.

In the Soffe Cup, Central Finance Rotokare, AWE Huatoki, Hooker Pacific Pukekura and Hareb Deken Oakura make up the top four.
Competition front runner Rotokare is away to third placed Pukekura and both teams are hit by injuries to key players and unavailability.  Rotokare's No 2, Chris Popata will hopefully be recovered from the back injury which kept him out of the rep team last Saturday.  Their No 3 Greg Hareb played with his knee heavily strapped two weeks ago and their No 4 Shane Devlin pulled a calf muscle last week which kept him out of the Taranaki B team.
 Meanwhile Pukekura' s No 1 Michael Fleming may still be nursing an ankle injury which force him to withdraw from the rep team and Ben Aves has returned to university.  The possible top three match ups are Rotokare's Ben Pollard against Meto Snegirev, Chris Popata against Dennis Reid, Mike Roberts against Nick Steventon.  Rotokare are favoured in the No 1 and 3 games but Pukekura's Dennis Reid will give Chris Popata a good game. 
In the women's singles Rotokare's likely line-up of Kelly Toa, Leith Atkins, Anita Walpole, Kate Laurenson  and Leanne O'Hallahan will face Linda Reid, Donna Thorne, Jeanette Harding and Tania Fleming.  In the first round Toa beat Reid and Thorne beat Atkins while the line ups were different in the No 3 and 4 positions.  In the first round Rotokare won 9-7 so it is bound to be another close one.
Sandfords Manaia who are in fifth place are at home to AWE Huatoki, in second place.  In the first round it was 10-6 to Huatoki but the line ups will be different this time and both teams are likely to be strengthened by the inclusion of their No 1 women.  Manaia's Nicole Koch is likely to face Lucy Barlow who should be too strong for her and in the No 2 spot two rep players, Manaia's Alesha Ford and Saori Han will play each other.  Ford won in the first round.  In the men's singles, Huatoki's Tristan Stayt should be too good for Jason Mills and Jordan Stayt will start favourite over Jordan Fleming.  The match is likely to be played on the hardcourts rather than the astroturf so it will suit Manaia, but Huatoki should still win.
Hareb Deken Oakura, in fourth place, are at home to the combined Waiwaka/Stratford/Midhirst team.  In the first round Oakura won 15-1 but although Oakura are strong favourites, the combined side should improve on that score.  In the top spot, Oakura's Josh Walden will play Gavin Phelan and in the No 2 match, Aaron Hine will play Michael O'Sullivan.  Oakura should win those matches.
Oakura's top two women are Taranaki A reps, Leah Fletcher and Sue Oldfield and they will play Taranaki B reps Krystal Oakes and Alison Chamberlain.
McDonalds Real Estate Matapu has the bye.