Regional One Championship – Round 4


Carterton’s quest to reclaim the Gawith Shield took a significant step forward on Friday evening, proving too strong for defending champions Martinborough in the latest round of Wairarapa Tennis regional one interclub played at the Masterton Tennis Centre.

Masterton also kept their faint hopes of a playoff’s berth flickering with a countback victory over Opaki, but it was Carterton who laid down the biggest marker, toppling a full-strength Martinborough team to move within one point of championship bolters Gladstone.

At first glance, the combined quality of the men from Carterton and Martinborough was more akin to a representative match and surely would be the strongest line-up’s seen for an interclub fixture in this region for many years.

On paper Carterton appeared to hold sway and so it proved, though they certainly had to work hard for it.

In the top men’s singles Jono Hurley got Carterton off to the perfect start with a grinding win over Chris Wilkie. Hurley was by no means near his best, but given some injury limitations he did well to hold off a determined challenge from Wilkie in two tight sets.

Likewise for Carterton No 2 Matt Spooner who never looked comfortable trying to combat the cat-like movement of Marco De Groot, but in the end the Carterton man won the pivotal points to keep his nose in front.

Ed Wilkie returned to the regional one ranks for Martinborough after many years overseas and immediately had Cory Spooner in a touch of bother, but couldn’t maintain his momentum in the latter stages of both sets and went down in a long battle 5-7, 5-7.

With all 3 men’s singles in safe keeping for Carterton it was up to Carla Didsbury to launch the counterattack for Martinborough and she looked very polished in defeating Karen Goodall to keep her team in the contest.

Didsbury also combined with De Groot to win the mixed doubles rubber comfortably but the imposing combination of Hurley and Matt Spooner were far too good in the men’s doubles, keeping Carterton’s clean slate intact and setting up a top of the table clash with Gladstone on Saturday to decide who moves directly into the championship final.

Masterton fended off a spirited late rally from Opaki to win their fixture 7/6 on a sets countback, after matches were level at 3-apiece.

The home team jumped out of the blocks quickly and assumed control in the singles phase.

Kelby Courtney relished the move up to the top of the order for Masterton with a hard-fought straight-sets defeat of Duncan Oakley who was also playing up a spot.

Chris Davidson, moving down to No 2 for Opaki would have been expecting to level the ledger against Chad Parson, a player he has beaten twice this season, but on this occasion Parson had his measure and crucially won the match in straight sets for Masterton.

Brett Dymond, possibly somewhat wasted at No 3 for Opaki, was too classy for Dan Grace to get Opaki on the board, but with Gerry Brooking extending her unbeaten streak in defeating Belinda Day, Masterton were now 3-1 to the good and well in control.

Opaki bounced back impressively with Oakley and Day winning their mixed doubles rubber and were seemingly on their way to a games countback when Davidson and Dymond won their first set in quick time against Courtney and Grace. But the Masterton pair dug in to claim the second set and while Opaki did go on to win this match, the set they conceded would ultimately cost them.

Opaki will face Martinborough this Saturday with both teams still in the running to claim the vital third position.

Carterton def Martinborough 4-2 (Carterton names first). – Mens Singles: Jono Hurley beat Chris Wilkie 6-4, 7-5; Matt Spooner beat Marco De Groot 6-4, 6-4; Cory Spooner beat Ed Wilkie 7-5, 7-5. Womens Singles: Karen Goodall lost to Carla Didsbury 1-6, 2-6. Mens Doubles: Hurley & M.Spooner beat Wilkie & Wilkie 6-1, 6-0. Mixed Doubles: C.Spooner & Goodall lost to De Groot & Didsbury 2-6, 3-6.

 Masterton def Opaki 3-3, 7-6 on sets (Masterton names first). – Mens Singles: Kelby Courtney beat Duncan Oakley 6-3, 7-5; Chad Parson beat Chris Davidson 6-3, 7-5; Dan Grace lost to Brett Dymond 0-6, 4-6. Womens Singles: Gerry Brooking beat Belinda Day 6-3, 6-3. Mens Doubles: Courtney & Grace lost to Davidson & Dymond 1-6, 7-6, 6-7. Mixed Doubles: Parson & Brooking lost to Oakley & Day 3-6, 3-6.

 Regional one championship points: Gladstone 18, Carterton 17, Masterton 12, Martinborough 9, Opaki 7.