Tennis: Team fires up on No1's return

By Shane Hurndell

Damon Curtis owed his team big time in Saturday's second round of Hawke's Bay's premier men's tennis at Napier's Onekawa courts and he delivered.

Curtis missed Sainsbury Logan and Williams Team Curtis' first round the previous week as he was attending the Coldplay concert in Auckland. In the No1 player's absence the side lost 5-1.

On Saturday Curtis won his singles against Tracta Team Kitching's No1 Jason Kitching 6-4, 6-1 before combining with junior Max Brewster to beat veterans Simon Cowan and Peter Durham 6-2, 6-1 in the No2 doubles match. With matches drawn 3-all Curtis' team won the tie by one set on a countback.

"We needed the win and when I heard Jason Kitching and Robbie Reynolds won their doubles in the first round I opted to play in the No2 doubles with Max which I'm entitled to do under the rules with the aim of getting a straight sets win," Curtis, 39, explained afterwards.

"Jason beat me in the semifinals of the residentials last summer so it was good to beat him today," Curtis said.

Curtis agreed the new-look competition, which involves six even teams, has proved there are plenty of quality representative team contenders in action. His No4, John Penny, secured a vital set when he lost 4-6, 7-6, 5-7 to fellow veteran Simon Cowan in a match that lasted three hours.

At the other end of the age scale New Zealand under-12s representative Finn Reynolds maintained his unbeaten run in both singles and doubles play on Saturday. The Hughes and Smyth Unichem Pharmacy Team Wilson No2 beat Rowe Light Team Cooper's No2 Tipene Cottrell in a spectacular tussle in which one of the rallies lasted for 29 shots.

Reynolds won the first set 6-0 and Cottrell the second 6-2. Reynolds was leading the third 4-2 when Cottrell was forced to default the match with a severe bout of cramp that also led to his defaulting his doubles.

Competition leaders Team Wilson went on to win the tie 5-1.

Rowe Light's only win was recorded by No4 - promising Hawke's Bay under-14s representative Jacob Verhoeven, who beat Max Gittings 6-2, 6-1.

The other unbeaten side, Shed 2 Team Donovan handed Jeff Gray Land Rover Team Giddy their first loss with a 5-1 victory. Takapau's Kim Cooper, who travels the furthest to play in the comp, celebrated his debut with an unbeaten day for Team Donovan playing at No4 in the singles and in the No2 doubles combo.

For the second consecutive week former Manawatu and Wairarapa representative Russell Broughton was unbeaten in singles and doubles play for Team Donovan.

Each week players are fined for swearing and other misdemeanours and $44 was raised for the Hawke's Bay Cancer Society. Team Cooper captain and No1 Reuben Cooper and Team Giddy No2 Jordan Hinton were the biggest contributors with $5 each.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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