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Champions take the lead

Martinborough’s Chris Wilkie in action. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

TENNIS

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

The defending champion Martinborough club are leading the Shirley Corlett Trophy regional one tennis competition at the halfway mark after beating the previously unbeaten Gladstone team on Saturday at Opaki.

The round five match was originally slated to be played on Friday night, but the weather ensured that would not be the case.

It was decided to play the match the next day, while Opaki’s clash with Carterton was scheduled to be played on Tuesday night.

The Wilkie brothers – Chris and Ed – represented Martinborough once again on Saturday, while Lochie McNab and Scott Day took to the court for Gladstone.

The first singles match saw Chris taking on McNab, and the former had too much firepower in a 6-4 6-3 win.

Day managed to put Gladstone back on level terms in the second singles match.

He completely dominated the first set against Ed, cruising to a comfortable 6-0 win, but the second set was much tighter.

Day eventually triumphed 7-5 in the second set to leave the tie hanging in the balance heading into the doubles clash.

The Wilkies got off to a fast start and took the first set 6-4, and there was no way back for the Gladstone pair as they also went down in a tight second set, 5-7.

The win capped off a successful first half of the campaign for the Martinborough club and the Wilkie brothers, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Opaki in the second round.

Martinborough won last year’s Shirley Corlett Trophy without losing a single match, and have the experience needed to push on in the second half of the competition.

But they will face strong competition from some of the other clubs, with Gladstone and Opaki hot on their heels.

Gladstone have also only lost one match so far, and are only one competition point behind Martinborough.

Opaki were on seven points before Tuesday night’s clash, but were taking on a Carterton side that is yet to register a point.

Wins in all three matches would have mean Opaki join Gladstone on 11 competition points, while wins in two of the three matches would have seen them move to 10 points.

Wairarapa Tennis Association club representative Matt Spooner said the competition results to date had ensured it would be a tight race to the finish line.

“If Opaki were to win [last night’s clash] they would be right in the mix as well.

“It’s all coming together quite well.”

He said the weather had made it difficult for the players to even get on the court at times, but that was just another challenge they were working through.

“They’ve really been battling to play at all, and when they have played it’s often been in adverse conditions, but that’s just the way it goes at this time of the year sometimes.”

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