30 Oct 2021

Soffe Cup saw two lopsided results as Rotokare and Okaiawa got their seasons off to strong starts against Huatoki and Inglewood respectively.  Rotokare, even without the services of Will Roberts, put in a dominant showing, only dropping one singles and one doubles throughout.  Last year’s beaten finalists, Rotokare have plenty of depth to draw on again this year, with their lineup including seasoned campaigners Blair Crowley and Luis Silva mixed with the youthful talents of Alex Macesic and Emma Roberts.   Huatoki will no doubt have better things to come and despite the final result, showed plenty of fight taking several of the singles matches to three sets.

Okaiawa brushed off Inglewood’s challenge in convincing fashion, with a super tiebreak victory to Maria Spurdle and Chrissy Mace the only victory for the team from the home of the moa.  While Inglewood got close in some of the doubles matches they will be looking for more as the season gets underway.  Jorja Symes showed that she means to continue where she left off last season, with an emphatic 6-0 6-1 win over Maria Spurdle.  The same scoreline was the result when Ruby McIntyre made her Soffe Cup debut for Okaiawa.

In the final tie of the first round Pukekura wrested a hard-fought victory from Oakura 10-6.  The tie hung in the balance after the singles, with Pukekura’s women and Oakura’s men hitting their straps early, but the doubles turned the tide towards Pukekura, with the city team winning them all.  Pukekura could only pick up one of the combines matches, but the win had already been secured.  Both teams showed enough to suggest they will be a factor again this year as they looked to shake off early season rust.  Lily Lay, who made her Soffe Cup debut in last season’s final, made a strong start to season 2021-22, picking up three wins for her team.  Stratford had the bye.

Waiwaka returned in style to the Wilson Trophy with a comfortable win against Oakura 9-2.  With Nick Creery leading their lineup, it looks to be a strong one.  Rotokare edged Pukekura 6-5 at Pukekura’s courts.  Four matches went to super tie breaks, showing just how little separated the teams.  Pukekura’s Hamish Kerr earned his win in singles the hard way in a tight tussle with Will Gordon, finally emerging victorious 10-8 in the super, after also taking the first set in a tie break.  Meanwhile Huatoki, led by club stalwarts David Innes and Jeremy Wichman saw of the challenge of Hawera 2  9-2.  Hawera have two teams entered in Wilson Trophy this year which is great to see for the club known nationally for its grass courts.  Okaiawa also started their season the right way with a 7-4 away win at Waitara.

If the first round is anything to go by the Fours competition will be finely balanced this year. Oakura 2 were the only team to record a victory 4-2. The two other matches were both draws.