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Play to the conditions was the golden rule as a stiff northeasterly breeze dominated division one interclub tennis at the Stevenson Tennis Centre on Saturday.
Balmacewen 1 found they had more than the wind to contend with when they took on a strong St Clair combination.
St Clair’s strong top order took no prisoners, sweeping the top three singles rubbers without conceding a set.
Balmacewen 1’s Jack Warner put up some stern resistance to an in-form Mitchell Sizemore, making his opponent work hard for his 6-2 6-4 win.
Shaun Paringatai sliced his way to a 6-1 6-1 result over Ben Sinclair. The battle of the number threes went the way of Jeff Elliotte, who gave up only two games on the way to victory over Balmacewen 1 captain Nick Cutfield.
Brad Brosnan added to the St Clair tally, overcoming a game Sam Porter. Hugo Barsby and Josh Harris kept Balmacewen 1 in the hunt, getting two rubbers back for their team.
Balmacewen 1 needed a clean sweep of the doubles to win the tie, but it was not to be. St Clair ran out 6-3 winners overall.
One of the more absorbing contests on Saturday was that between Charlie Byers, playing for Balmacewen 2, and North Otago team Waimaru’s talisman Belinda Hirst. Youth overcame experience as Byers took the match 6-4 7-5. Byers did well to temper her attacking style out of respect to the blustery conditions.
Balmacewen 2 captain Mat McCutcheon went into his singles as the underdog against Waimaru’s Robin Jamieson. McCutcheon, a local coach, put his teachings into practice, taking the contest 6-3 6-4.
Singles wins to Thomas Chiang and Max Gaffaney — a 6-4 6-4 winner over Marshall Hore — kept Balmacewen 2 ahead. Jordyn Phillips pegged the deficit back for Waimaru in a 6-3 6-2 result over Crystal Chiang, but at four rubbers to two after the singles her Oamaru-based team had it all to do in the doubles.
Waimaru proceeded to do exactly that, completing a come from behind tie win five rubbers to four. The result was sealed by a super tiebreak win in the top men’s doubles.
In the third tie of the day, Andersons Bay’s Marco Hartono accounted for OBHS’ Max McLauchlan 6-4 6-1. McLauchlan had his chances to take the first set, but Hartono took the key points and cruised to victory in the second set.
The clash between OBHS’ Daniel Lund and Andersons Bay’s Oliver Scott was one of two peas in a pod, both players displaying their usual consistency and waiting for the other’s mistakes. Scott had the lower error count of the pair, earning a 6-2 6-1 result.
Annalise Wilson showed glimpses of her old form in a 7-6 6-1 win over rising junior Aminah Ahmad. Wilson will be better for the time on court as she looks to represent Otago in two weeks’ time.
Andersons Bay eased to a comfortable tie win by eight rubbers to four and tops the points table at this early stage.
- Fraser Richardson