30 Oct 2016
It might have been the first week of round robin play but the club rivalry was evident as the Soffe cup tennis final replay from last season between Bayleys Huatoki and Remax Pukekura went down to the wire with Pukekura taking the win 9-7. Oakura had an equally hard tussle against Central Finance Rotokare also triumphing 9-7 whereas Farmlands Okaiawa/Manaia had an easier road over Stratford 14-2.
Huatoki's men made a good start to the day with Jayden Harrison, Murray Keast and Alistair Nairn all taking comfortable wins over David Barnard, Andrew Hood and Sasha Milentijevic-Vague however the tide turned with the long rallying game between David Innes and Ray Tuenissen with Tuenissen eventually wearing Innes down 6-3 6-4. The Pukekura women were all too strong for Huatoki with wins to Nikayla Barnard, Kirsten Adam, Linda Reid and debut Ella Rogers. The doubles looked like they might even the score line with Huatoki's men taking both men's doubles after a nail biter in the bottom rubber when Keast and Innes wore down the new combination of Tuenissen and Vague who worked hard with the final score 5-7 7-5 10-8 to Huatoki. The Huatoki women also fought hard eventually losing both in third set battles. Pukekura used the new specialist doubles to inject some fresh blood into their lineup for combines with two matches going to each club to secure the first meeting for Pukekura.
Oakura's lineup changed late with Brady Simpson stepping up to play Blair Crowley in the number one men's spot. Simpson started slowly but a second set battle set up a three set win for him 1-6 7-6 6-1. Shane Devlin pulled one back for Rotokare over Matt Stringer with Oakura taking the other two men's singles with wins to Len Adamson and Simon Spurdle. Despite the 3-1 score line in singles, in the men's doubles Rotokare came through to win both matches. Oakura's women extended the lead with victories to Sue Oldfield, Jackie Keenan and Ana Spurdle. Rotokare's Chantelle Peters won her match over Bailey Bruckner 6-4 6-3 and combined with Tania Atkinson to secure a win in the top women's doubles over mother - daughter combination of Becky and Bailey Bruckner. With combines going evenly between the clubs, the overall result ended 9-7.Okaiawa/Manaia were too strong for Stratford in the last of the first week matchups winning 14-2 however David Baker's introduction to Taranaki tennis, after playing in Manawatu and overseas recently, was thwarted by Stratford's Sam Howard with a win to Howard 6-0 6-3. The only other victory to Stratford was Katie Stanners win over Alesha Warner 6-3 6-0. It was great to see a couple of seasons out of tennis hasn't impacted negatively on former women's rep player Nicole Bailey (nee Koch) with a convincing first up victory over Stratford's Mylie Thwaites 6-0 6-0. The combined side was too strong winning all the doubles and combines and take an early lead in the Soffe Cup competition.