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Division one teams Southern Lakes, North Otago, Southland and Otago will resume battle at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin.
Perennial division one champion Southern Lakes’ grip on the Rennie Trophy seems less assured than in previous years.
The side’s loss to Otago in November’s first round means it faces an uphill battle to take the silverware home this time.
Otago, which was unbeaten in November’s first-round ties, has had its roster bolstered by the recent arrival of North Islanders Jaden Grinter and Ivy McLean.
Grinter, who now coaches tennis in Dunedin, is a former world top 100-ranked junior who was unbeaten at No1 for New Zealand in the Junior Davis Cup.
McLean is ranked just outside the top 10 New Zealand women and is a welcome addition to the Otago tennis scene.
Otago’s men have depth with the inclusion of Paddy Ou, Peter Hartono, Mitchell Sizemore, and Carlos Reid.
Ayesha Horley lends experience to the Otago women, who also include promising juniors Pippa Sherriff and Charlie Byers.
Home-court advantage will count for something, given Otago trains mostly on the Edgar Centre astroturf.
Southern Lakes boasts strength in Hayden Joblin — a former United States college player who was a cut above the rest of the players on show in the February 2020 Southern League event — and Perry Crockett, a former Australian touring pro.
Jenny Lennon and Li Ying Moroney give its women’s roster a solid look.
Other top players who will feature include Southland’s Shaylee Syme, Sky Lovill, and Harry James.
Southland pushed Otago hard in the November event, only going down 7-5 as it went close to sweeping the doubles.
North Otago’s Mackenzie Phillips will relish the chance to take on her opposing No1s, while Josh Cameron, who heads up the North Otago men’s order, is a strong serve and volleyer who may cause upsets over the course of the weekend.
The final ties will begin early Sunday, and a mid-afternoon finish is expected.
Division two ties will be divided between the Edgar Centre and Logan Park’s available courts.
Otago B leads the points table but has played more of its ties than most of its opponents.
- Fraser Richardson