Regional One Championship – Round 6


Carterton ended the hopes of defending Wairarapa Tennis club champions Martinborough with a gripping 4-2 victory in the elimination semi-final played at the Masterton Tennis Centre on Friday evening.

With surprise packets Gladstone already assured a finals berth it was all on the line for last season’s finalists Carterton and Martinborough and both clubs gave it their all, fronting with full strength teams to ensure they were every chance to advance to the championship decider.

In their previous meeting only two weeks prior Carterton also prevailed 4-2 but in this encounter Martinborough ramped up the ante and despite the final scoreline, they were desperately close to edging out the unbeaten Carterton outfit.

Initially it was Carterton that held sway on the back of a scintillating performance from Jono Hurley who crushed Chris Wilkie to the loss of only 1 game in the top men’s singles.

Being the champion team that they are, Martinborough bounced back immediately with Carla Didsbury responding in kind, comfortably defeating Olivia Bailey in straight sets and then they hit the front through No 3 man Matt Nicholson, who used his brutal forehand to great effect in defeating Carterton’s Cory Spooner in a third-set super tiebreaker.

The crucial match proved to be the No 2 men’s encounter where Martinborough’s Marco De Groot shrugged off a slow start against Matt Spooner to claim the second set and looked on course for victory with a 7-4 lead in the third set super tiebreaker.

However, the Carterton man drew on all of his considerable experience to reel off the next 6 points to deny De Groot what may well have been the clincher for Martinborough, and heading into the doubles it was all to play for with matches and sets level.

It was here that Carterton lifted, with the performance of the evening going to the mixed doubles duo of Cory Spooner and Bailey-Rotman who tipped over De Groot and Didsbury in a tense match-deciding super tiebreaker. This was very much a must-win rubber for Martinborough and considering De Groot and Didsbury have never lost an interclub match playing together, the result was very much the death knell for the Southerners.

Predictably the men’s doubles pairing of Hurley and Matt Spooner sealed the deal for Carterton, although not before resisting a spirited fightback from Wilkie and Nicholson in the second set.

Carterton will now relish the return match with Gladstone to decide the Gawith Shield and should benefit from the tough hit-out.

Martinborough will now play off for third and fourth against the winner of the fixture between Masterton and Opaki which is due to be played midweek.

In the regional two final, top qualifiers Greytown will take on Masterton.

Finals for both divisions will be played at the Masterton Tennis Centre on Saturday.

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