4 March 2016

Top seed Huatoki will be without NZ's No.1 Junior player, Ajeet Rai, when they host Central Finance Rotokare in the first Soffe Cup semi-final.  Stepping up to the No.1 spot for Huatoki will be Jayden Harrison who will meet Malcolm Elder.  Elder won last time these two met but the match should be a very close contest.  Alistair Nairn faces Kyle Crowley at No.2 with Crowley favoured to win.  Chris Popata and Murray Keast complete the Huatoki men's line-up and they will meet Shane Devlin and John Lehman respectively.  Both Popata and Keast should obtain comfortable wins.  The Huatoki ladies have been solid all season and they look like they are set to dominate the Rotokare line-up.  The feature match of the day will be Hikaru Han versus Karen Cranston in the No.1 match.  Han is higher ranked and should come out on top.  The remainder of the Huatoki female squad of Tracey Old, Ellen O'Byrne and Chris Wilson also look to be too good for Tania Atkinson, Chantelle Peters and Helena Goodin.  Huatoki should therefore hold approximately a 6-2 lead after the singles and will not let too many doubles matches slip from their grasp after that, ensuring that they are into the Soffe Cup final being held on March 19th.


Hareb Deken Oakura hosts the second semi-final and they will meet RE/MAX Pukekura Park.  Oakura suffered two sizeable losses to Pukekura in round robin play but the team today will be greatly strengthened as long as several players under injury clouds after able to take their place in the team.  Feature match of the day at Oakura will be between the local Graeme Mitchell and Pukekura's import Dani Guerra.   Guerra has only played a few games in New Zealand but could be up to the standard of Mitchell.  Mitchell's experience on his home courts may be the factor that will swing the match in his favour.  The rest of the Oakura men's line-up is at full-strength with Jamie Simpson, Brady Simpson and Beauden Fleming.  They will take on Meto Snegirev, David Barnard and Andrew Hood and all of these matches should go the way of the Oakura team.  The ladies singles matches look like being shared between the two teams.  Pukekura's Louise Waite will undoubtedly take the No.1 match against Sue Oldfield and Marcella Jones will look to dominate Chris Davies at No.3.  Oakura will look at win the No.2 and No.4 matches, with Jackie Keenan and Ana Spurdle taking on Donna Thorne and Jeanette Harding respectively.  This will be the first meeting between Keenan and Thorne and the result could be close.  Ana Spurdle has impressed this season and should pick up a win against Harding.  If Oakura's injured players cannot take the courts, then the next in line for selection are Len Adamson and Craig Waite.  Oakura has the added incentive of the local school having their 150th Jubilee this weekend and it would be fitting for the home team to make their way to the Soffe Cup final for just the second time.