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Competition leader Balmacewen had its big points lead pegged back on Saturday in an upset loss to second-placed Andersons Bay Rennie.
Balmacewen newcomer Gerard Farrell announced himself as a force in the local scene, causing a boilover by toppling long-term Otago rep Carlos Reid.
Only a week earlier Reid himself had been the giant-slayer as he bested the higher-ranked Ryan Eggers. However, it was not to be his day on Saturday, h as windy conditions at Logan Park put a premium on accuracy and patience.
Farrell gave his team a dream start, taking the opening set against Reid without conceding a game.
Reid, playing for Andersons Bay Rennie, then found some form and consolidated a break of serve to lead 5-2 in the second set. But Farrell had other ideas. He turned things around and reeled off five straight games to take the set and the match.
Balmacewen No2 Max Gaffaney pushed Anderson’s Bay Rennie’s George Alexander hard but did not pick up enough free points on serve, succumbing to his more experienced opposite 6-3, 6-3. Nick Cutfield bagged a point for Balmacewen with a comfortable win over Mark Pickering.
The Andersons Bay Rennie women swept all the women’s singles.
The closest battle was between No1s Kaitlyn Wilkinson and Ayesha Horley was decided by a match tiebreak.
Mya Haigh played to the conditions to tame Charlotte Byers, while Claudia Christie, making her division 1 debut for Balmacewen, showed promise in pushing Makayla Ramage to 6-2, 6-4.
The men’s doubles went the way of the Balmacewen duo of Farrell and Alvaro Fuente, another newcomer to the local scene, over Andersons Bay Rennie’s Reid and Alexander.
Andersons Bay clinched the tie with wins in the women’s and mixed doubles, giving it a 6-3 overall margin.
The other division 1 tie result was more clear-cut as Green Island cleared out to an 8-1 win over Andersons Bay Guthrie.
Only Phil Mirfin notched a win for the Guthrie combination, although several matches were closely fought. Strong shifts from No3 singles players for Anderson’s Bay Guthrie, Daniel Lund and Rebecca Ryan, saw them push their Green Island opponents all the way.
Lund and his doubles partner Anthony Mirfin could have taken their match with the Gray cousins, Zane and Louis, but lost the last four points in the match tiebreak after matters had been evenly poised at 6-6.
Green Island had the luxury of playing Pippa Sherriff at No2 behind recent Otago Open champion Mackenzie Phillips and swept all the women’s rubbers and the mixed doubles.
- Fraser Richardson