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Nine grass courts have been reinstated as part of Tennis Canterbury’s major restoration of their headquarters and over the past fortnight lower grades tested out the surfaces before the region’s top male players get to experience the Wimbledon-style development.
Elmwood venture onto the hallowed turf in pole position after beating a young Burwood Park squad during weather-affected fifth round action at Wilding Park last Saturday.
Duncan McCall and Jordan Edwards made the ideal start for newcomers to the competition this season but Elmwood players claimed the next four matches to take the tie comfortably.
Elmwood, who are favoured to continue their winning run against Bishopdale-Te Kura Hagley Park, showed no signs of rustiness after a fourth round bye to lead the seven-team league by a point from Cashmere.
The reigning champions also secured a 4-2 winning margin over Country Mid Canterbury in a rematch of last season’s decider.
Burnside Park, who also joined the top tier in 2021, sit third after a comprehensive 5-1 victory over a rebuilding Waimairi who risk more setbacks against Burwood Park.
It was Burnside Park’s third successive win, though they now face a tough challenge from Cashmere.
Intermittent rain caused major disruptions to last weekend’s programme, particularly the women’s division.
Only one tie was completed, with Waimairi earning their first win of the season by beating bottom-placed Kaiapoi 4-2.
The women’s champions were made to work hard against a young side with two wins requiring a super tiebreak.
Burnside Park-Bishopdale, who beat second-placed Cashmere on a countback after only two matches were completed, lead the competition by five points.
Elmwood were too strong for Te Kura Hagley Park, winning a rain-shortened rubber 3-0, to bank three consecutive triumphs ahead of a tricky clash with Cashmere.
Tennis Canterbury premier grade points:-
Men: Elmwood 51, Cashmere 50, Burnside Park 49, Burwood Park 46, Country Mid Canterbury 29, Bishopdale Te Kura Hagley 20, Waimairi 13
Women: Burnside Park-Bishopdale 66, Cashmere 61, Te Kura Hagley 54, Elmwood 44, Waimairi 22, Kaiapoi 9
6th round draw (at Wilding Park):-
Men: Burwood Park v Waimairi; Elmwood v Bishopdale-Te Kura Hagley Park; Cashmere v Burnside Park; Country Mid Canterbury (bye)
Women: Burnside Park-Bishopdale v Waimairi; Kaiapoi v Te Kura Hagley Park; Cashmere v Elmwood