Otago emphatically takes trophy

Peter Hartono looks to volley the ball at a match at the Edgar Centre yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR...
Peter Hartono looks to volley the ball at a match at the Edgar Centre yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Otago's long wait finally came to an end yesterday as it reclaimed the Margaret Rennie Trophy, the symbol of teams tennis supremacy in the South.

The home team shed its bridesmaid status in emphatic fashion, overcoming each of its division one rivals to maintain its unbeaten record over the two legs of the series.

Incumbent holder Southern Lakes fought valiantly, and Otago had to fend off stiff challenges from improving North Otago and Southland combinations.

Tennis Otago life member Margaret Rennie was on hand at the Edgar Centre to see the trophy that takes her name change hands for the first time in nearly two decades.

Led by stalwart Paddy Ou and featuring a number of players who have represented Otago for much of the past decade, Otago emerged with victories over North Otago (8-4), Southland (9-3), and Southern Lakes (7-5).

Some of best contests played over the weekend included the top men’s clashes involving Southern Lakes No 1 Hayden Joblin, Otago counterpart Jaden Grinter, and leading Southland man Sky Lovill.

Joblin took on Lovill on Saturday morning, emerging with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 win over his Te Anau-based on-court opponent.

Lovill’s match with Otago newcomer Grinter later on Saturday was a highlight, featuring short points and aggressive play from both ends of the court.

Lovill sought to counter Grinter’s strong serve and scything forehand by varying the pace of his ground strokes and keeping his opponent off balance.

Momentum swung back and forth throughout the two-and-a-half-hour contest from which Grinter eventually emerged the victor 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

On the women’s side, Southland No 1 Shaylee Syme was the best performer, notching comfortable wins over Otago’s Ivy McLean, leading North Otago woman Mackenzie Phillips, and top-ranked Southern Lakes player Jenny Lennon.

Otago B iced the cake for local tennis fans by claiming division two honours.

 - Fraser Richardson

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