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Martinborough on target for fourth straight title

Matt Spooner won in his singles and doubles to lead Carterton to a home semifinal. PHOTOS/FILE


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Carterton and Opaki White will clash on Saturday for the right to meet Martinborough in the final of the regional one interclub competition.

Boon Huxtable extended his unbeaten singles run to 30 interclub matches.

Only the top three teams qualified for the Gawith Shield playoffs, not the top four as previously reported.

Heading into their final round-robin clash with Masterton, Martinborough only needed to win two matches to finish top of the standings and qualify for their fourth straight final.

The three-time defending champions comfortably achieved that with a 7-2 victory, which not only locked in a place in the decider but relegated Masterton to fourth place, two points behind third-placed Opaki White.

Martinborough had the tie wrapped up after the singles, winning five of the six matches.

The only loss came at the top of the men’s order where Masterton’s Boon Huxtable continued his remarkable unbeaten run of 30 interclub singles victories stretching back to November 2019, with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Chris Wilkie.

Otherwise, Martinborough dominated, with wins for Marco de Groot [6-0 6-1] over Kelby Courtney, Steve Chapman [6-1 6-1] over Chad Parson, Katherine Jacobs [7-5 6-4] over Hilda Holman, and Martha Wojcikowski over Deb Kerr [7-5 6-3]. Mike Jones beat Rhys Hooper 4-6 6-4 10-7 in a super tiebreaker.

In the doubles, Ed and Rick Wilkie easily beat Courtney and Hooper 6-3 6-2.

Huxtable and Luke Atkinson rescued a point for Masterton with a 6-4 3-6 11-9 defeat of Chris Wilkie and Matt Nicholson. Martinborough won the women’s doubles by default.

Carterton went into their tie with Opaki White needing a win to secure a semifinal. Their men delivered by winning the four singles and two doubles matches, enough to gain home advantage for the semifinal. Opaki White made sure of their playoff spot by winning all three women’s matches.

At the top of the order, Matt Spooner beat Duncan Oakley 6-2 6-4, William Day defeated Brett Dymond 6-1 7-5, Cory Spooner got the better of Stu Wyeth 6-3 6-2, and William Orsborn was awarded the match after Richie Day retired hurt in the first set.

In the doubles, Matt Spooner and Jacob Emery won a tight first set in a tiebreaker over Oakley and Jon McNab before pulling away to win 7-6 6-1, and William Day and Cory Spooner were too good for Dymond and Wyeth cruising to a straightforward 6-1 6-2 victory.

The experienced Opaki duo of Geri Brooking and Belinda Day were too good for their opponents in the women’s singles and doubles.

Brooking beat Gabriella Nicholson 6-4 6-1, and Belinda Day defeated Elizabeth Whitaker 6-2 6-2. The Opaki pair made it three from three with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Olivia Bailey-Rotman and Karen Goodall in the doubles.

The two teams will meet in Carterton in Saturday’s semifinal. The final is on March 12. Masterton and Opaki Red will play for fourth and fifth on Thursday night.

Gawith Shield Points

Martinborough 35; Carterton 21; Opaki White 20; Masterton 18; Opaki Red 16.

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