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Nothing was riding on the results of the two held on Saturday given the identity of the finalists — Andersons Bay Rennie and Balmacewen — had already been decided.
However, these two teams faced each other in a dress rehearsal that gave both sides an opportunity to gain a psychological edge over their opposition heading into the Shield playoff.
At the top of the men’s order, Carlos Reid had to work hard against Balmacewen’s Jack Warner to take the first set 7-5 before running away with the match in the latter stages, not conceding a game in the second set.
Max Gaffaney got one back for Balmacewen, out-rallying George Alexander, but Mike Smith gave the advantage back to Andersons Bay Rennie with a solid 6-2, 6-3 result over Balmacewen captain Nick Cutfield.
The Andersons Bay women made a clean sweep of the singles, taking all three rubbers in straight sets.
Marie Reid made a welcome return to club tennis, defeating Bailey Bruckner 6-2, 6-3 in the No2 slot.
Balmacewen gained two consolation doubles wins to make the final result more respectable, but Andersons Bay Rennie will be happy heading into the final with a 6-3 win and in the knowledge they will have a full roster of players to select from next Saturday.
In the other division one tie, Green Island edged Andersons Bay Guthrie by one rubber.
The match of the tie was the mixed doubles in which Otago mixed doubles champion Alex Calder combined with Pippa Sherriff to beat George McAleer and Annalise Wilson 7-6, 6-4.
Meanwhile, the Otago Junior Open was the played in age groups ranging from 10-18.
This year’s tournament attracted players from as far afield as Auckland.
Perfect conditions greeted the players at Logan Park when play commenced on Saturday morning.
One of the most keenly contested grades was the 14 and under boys singles in which 16 players vied for the title.
Local hopes Hugo Barsby and Ben Sinclair progressed to the quarterfinals but found the going tough as they bowed out at that stage.
The final featured the two top seeds — Marco Hartono, formerly of Dunedin but now hailing from Queenstown, and Max McLauchlan, a recent arrival to Dunedin who now studies at Otago Boys’ High School.
Hartono emerged the victor after a two-hour tussle that was closer than the 6-2, 6-2 scoreline suggested.
Hartono was in the end rewarded for his willingness to break up the baseline rally pattern by employing slice or approaching the net.
Local players to win their grades on the weekend included Bilal Ahmad, Tessa Richardson, Joshua Fraser, Aminah Ahmad, Ella Richardson, and Claudia Christie.
- Fraser Richardson