Andersons Bay given a run for its money

Leading team Andersons Bay was pushed hard by Balmacewen 1 in interclub tennis on Saturday.

The fifth-placed Balmacewen 1 combination punched above its weight, narrowly succumbing to the competition leader by five rubbers to four.

Balmacewen 1’s Paddy Ou comfortably accounted for Olly Scott at the top of the men’s order.

Ben Sinclair, on the comeback trail following a layoff, took a vital point for Balmacewen 1 by overcoming Andersons Bay veteran Phil Mirfin 6-4, 6-4.

Nick Cutfield played a captain’s knock in accounting for Anthony Mirfin 6-4, 7-6.

Heike Cebulla was perhaps Andersons Bay’s trump card and the difference between the teams, winning a vital singles match in a super tiebreak.

Ayesha Horley clocked up another win for Anderson’s Bay over Ella Richardson. The tie was evenly poised at three matches apiece after the singles rubbers.

Andersons Bay took two of the three doubles matches to tip the tie result in its favour. Ou and Sinclair caused a minor upset in shading the more experienced Phil Mirfin and Scott pairing.

Andersons Bay’s Gavin Mockford and the younger Mirfin accounted for Cutfield and Matt Nolan. Cebulla and Horley finished the job off.

Meanwhile, St Clair had too much strength down the order for a plucky Balmacewen 2, winning the tie eight rubbers to one.

Mitch Sizemore and Mat McCutcheon waged a battle of the big servers, making the most of the Edgar Centre conditions. Sizemore served up 13 aces on the way to a 6-3 6-2 win.

St Clair captain Shaun Paringatai chalked up a 6-2 6-3 result over Sergey Sanin. Jeff Elliotte, slotting in at No3, notched up another St Clair win over Charlie Byers.

Tony Ryder, the St Clair No4, found the going tougher against Balmacewen 2’s Hugo Barsby.

Ryder, a dentist by day, struck a polished opponent with a habit of drilling his returns of serve into the corners.

Ryder countered with his trademark slice tactics, mixing up the pace and keeping the ball below net height on the low bouncing astroturf, but eventually bowed to the all court game and younger legs of Barsby 6-2 6-2.

Balmacewen 2 doubles pairing Crystal Chiang and Henry Gong fought well against Sam Sherburd and Simon Anderson, but could not prevent a St Clair clean sweep in the doubles.

The other scheduled tie between second-placed Waimaru and third-placed Otago Boys’ High School was called off due to Covid-related player unavailability.

 - Fraser Richardson

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