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Beyerle makes a big impact

German exchange student Mara Beyerle was the star for Wairarapa in an otherwise difficult return to the Lower North Island hexangular tournament after a four-year hiatus.

Wairarapa finished sixth of the six teams in the two-day tournament held last weekend at Wellington’s Renouf Centre, comfortably beaten 13-3 by Wellington and Hutt Valley in their two group fixtures before an 11-5 defeat to Taranaki in the fifth-sixth playoff.

Beyerle, though, was a class above her singles opponents, not dropping a set in comfortably winning all three matches and then combining with Rudo Erasmus to win their three mixed doubles clashes.

The 17-year-old hardly raised a sweat in accounting for the higher-ranked Wellington number one Tuhina Sambhus 6-1 6-1 in the opening round. Her second singles success was a comfortable 6-3 6-2 defeat of Hutt Valley’s Emily Dunn. She completed her singles clean sweep with a 6-0 6-1 thrashing of Taranaki’s leading woman Jorja Symes.

In the mixed doubles, Beyerle and Erasmus dispatched the Wellington pair Oscar Horsley and Brittany McCracken 6-1 6-3, Hutt Valley’s Thomas Hartono and Rebecca Harkerss 6-3 7-5, and the Taranaki combination Hamish Mead and Courtney Tippett 6-4 6-4.

Wairarapa’s only other winners were sisters Alice and Elizabeth Whitaker in the playoff with Taranaki.

Alice came from a set down to win a thriller with Tippett in a super tiebreaker 5-7 6-0 10-7, and Elizabeth beat Derryn Fleming, who withdrew with injury with the super tiebreaker locked at 4-4.

Despite the one-sided scorelines, there were some encouraging individual performances. In the Wellington fixture, men’s number four Shane Colton pushed Horsley hard before going down 7-5 7-6, and Alice Whitaker won the first set before losing a titanic battle with McCracken 4-6 7-6 10-8.

Gabby Nicholson and Elizabeth Nicholson took their Hutt Valley opponents to super tiebreakers but couldn’t force the victory. The pair also came close in their doubles clash, as did Jacob Emery and Alice Whittaker in the mixed doubles.

Emery, who was also the team manager, was thrilled with the effort of the players and said a lot of the matches were a lot closer than the scores would indicate. He also had particular praise for Beyerle, saying she
was a class above her opponents.

Emery felt that, overall, it was a good effort, given that it was only Wairarapa’s second appearance at the tournament in a decade. He said the team spirit was good, and he hopes to get a team together for further representative fixtures.

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Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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