Tennis: Pairs of youngsters on quality exhibition

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay's Reynolds brothers, Robbie and Finn, train together regularly on their home tennis court at Havelock North.

So it wasn't a surprise when they produced an exhibition spectators wouldn't have minded paying for, had they been asked, during Saturday's round of the Bay's premier men's competition at Napier's Onekawa courts.

It wasn't just the numerous 20 shot-plus rallies which produced quality and which belied the pair's ages, Robbie is 15 and Finn, the country's second ranked under-14 player and former national under-12 champion, is 13.

Their sportsmanship was first class, too, with each of the pair quick to praise the other after an emphatic winner or a cracker of a serve. Robbie won 7-5, 6-1 to help his Tracta Team Kitching beat top-of-the-table Hughes and Smyth Unichem Pharmacy Team Wilson 8-6 on a sets countback after matches were drawn 3-all.

Robbie agreed his two-year age difference and superior physicality proved the difference against his-left-handed opponent.

"I won today and the last time when we played at the under-16 nationals in Ashburton. But I haven't always had the upper hand ... Finn had won the previous two matches before them and is a very good player," Robbie said.

He is looking forward to playing in the same team as his younger brother for Napier Boys' High School in upcoming Super 8 fixtures.

Another key to Team Kitching's upset victory was Team Wilson's captain and No 1 Shane Wilson having to retire injured in his singles match against Jason Kitching. Wilson still hadn't recovered from his achilles injury collected the previous week and was trailing 2-0 in the second set after losing the first 6-4 when he conceded to the pain.

Wilson and Trevor Hinton had to default their top doubles match to Kitching and Robbie Reynolds.

Other ties saw Shed 2 Team Donovan wallop Rowe Light Team Cooper 6-0 and Jeff Gray Land Rover Team Giddy beat Sainsbury Logan and Williams Team Curtis 4-2. These results mean four teams have a chance of qualifying for the March 16 final.

Team Wilson will start this weekend's final round robin round four points ahead of Team Curtis, Team Donovan and Team Giddy, who are all second equal on 43 points.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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