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Title frontrunner Balmacewen faced off against last year’s winner Andersons Bay Rennie for the second time this season at the Edgar Centre on Saturday.
Balmacewen men were strengthened at No1 by the return of Paddy Ou from Wellington, where he has been studying, while Mitchell Sizemore was making only his second appearance of the season for Andersons Bay.
These two have had many close encounters over the years and Saturday’s match was no exception. Sizemore eventually prevailed 5-7, 6-2, 10-8 but it could quite easily have gone either way.
Both Ou and Sizemore will be playing for Otago next weekend at the Tennis Southern team event in Timaru, so this match-up was good preparation for that.
While the final result of 7-2 to Balmacewen might appear one-sided, it was anything but, as five of the nine matches went to a third set super tie breaker, four of which were won by Balmacewen.
One of these three-setters was the No1 women’s singles, where Jessie Stevenson came back from a set down to prevail over the higher ranked Ayesha Horley in an extremely absorbing contest 6-7, 6-4, 10-5.
With the form Stevenson showed, it is a shame she will not be playing for Otago next weekend in Timaru.
The icing on the cake for Balmacewen was winning all three doubles matches, with two of these, the men’s and women’s, going to a third set super tie breaker.
One of the standout performances so far this season for Balmacewen has been that of Jack Warner, who has been unbeaten in both singles and doubles and this has certainly contributed to Balmacewen being top of the table.
In the other tie of the day, Andersons Bay Guthrie edged Green Island 5-4 in an extremely tight affair.
The tie was all square at 3-3 after the singles and 4-4 after the men’s and women’s doubles and the tie was decided on the mixed doubles, where Andy Bay had the edge.
Mixed doubles is a very tactical game and the doubles nous of Phil Mirfin, partnered by Laura Hamilton, proved too much for the younger Green Island pairing of Jacob Bolwell and Jordyn Phillips, coming through comfortably 6-4, 6-2.
A couple of other matches that warrant particular mention were the No2 men’s and women’s singles.
Both were closely fought three-setters and Green Island prevailed in both. Pippa Sherriff showed maturity and composure in defeating a tenacious Annalise Wilson 6-3, 1-6, 10-4, while Mat McCutcheon with his huge serve, out muscled the very promising Anthony Mirfin 7-6, 5-7, 10-4.
With two weeks of senior interclub to go before Christmas, it looks like Balmacewen will go into the break with a clear points lead.
- John Alexander