Leading tennis sides to face off


Tennis

It will be a top-of-the-table clash when Opaki and Martinborough meet in a Wairarapa regional one tennis fixture at Martinborough tomorrow.

Opaki leads the four-team competition with 28 points with Martinborough just two points in arrears on 26. Masterton are still in the hunt with 20 and Gladstone are on seven.

Second-round matches began last weekend with Opaki scoring a surprisingly comfortable 7-2 win over Masterton and Martinborough accounting for Gladstone by the same scoreline.

The format for the second round is different from the first, the singles being played in reserve order and the doubles involving one men's doubles and two combines, a situation always likely to produce interesting results.

That a Martinborough side at full strength would be capable of beating Opaki cannot be doubted.

The southerners have experience to burn in the likes of Andy Darling, Matt Nicholson, Libby Paterson and the Lovells, Bruce and Rhona, all of whom have shown the ability to rise to the occasion in the past.

Opaki will, however, have taken confidence from the fact their latest victory was achieved without them having the services of Katie Wyeth, who is practically unbeatable in singles play around these parts.

They blitzed the men's singles thanks to winning efforts from Brett Dymond, Stu Wyeth, Jon McNab and Chris Davidson and they will be looking to put Martinborough to the sword in that department tomorrow. How successful they are is likely to decide the outcome of the game.

Masterton will be eyeing their fixture against Gladstone as a royal opportunity to close the gap on Opaki and Martinborough.

But they will also be aware the points table doesn't exactly do justice to Gladstone, whose end results have been made to look worse by the fact they have been struggling - sometimes unsuccessfully - to field a full complement of players.

A full-strength Gladstone side would give Masterton plenty to think about so it would be dangerous to discard their prospects of victory.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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