Interclub in the balance near halfway point

The division one interclub competition is in the balance as the halfway point in the contest for the shield approaches.

Five teams are vying for the silverware in a round robin competition held in the early and late parts of the season. This schedule allows for out-of-town students to participate fully in interclub, and gives players the chance to turn their focus to teams events and tournaments in the height of summer.

Clubs will play for the President’s Cup in between mid-November and mid-February.

The leading team at this point in the season is Logan Park, with Balmacewen breathing down its neck.

However, the competition is still wide open and much will depend on how the teams shape up when the competition enters the home stretch in February.

Many players have impressed. Marco Hartono, of Logan Park, the youngest of the three Hartono brothers, has come on in leaps and bounds this year, both in singles play and in doubles where he partnered eldest brother Peter to the Otago Indoor Open title in October. His singles clash with Marshall Hore of North Otago two weeks ago was perhaps the match of the season so far. Hore came out the victor 6-7 6-3 [10-4].

Nicki Wallace is captaining the North Otago team and impressing in the role. She is a rock in the Oamaru-based combination’s middle order, and tends to get the job done in deciding doubles rubbers. Wallace has recruited well and has a healthy sprinkling of young talent at her disposal.

Marshall Hore is also from North Otago and is another young player who recently played at the top of the Southern Region 17 years boys’ singles order at the National Junior Teams Event in Hamilton. Hore has a booming serve which he deploys to good effect on the Oamaru grass.

Jack Warner is turning out for Balmacewen and hails from Wellington.

Warner has brought more than his own game to the Otago tennis scene, proving to be a key team man who lifts his teammates when the chips are down. The serve-volley specialist covers the court well with his giant wingspan.

Another Balmacewen player, Pippa Sherriff, is unbeaten in club play to date and also turned out at the 17 years National Junior Teams Event in late October. Her indomitable will gets her through tight matches and her crosscourt forehand is a weapon to be feared.

After a quiet 2019, Mitchell Sizemore, of Logan Park, has bounced back well. The former Otago number one has been training regularly this season and acquitted himself well at the recent South Island Teams Event.

Fraser Richardson

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