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Martinborough One hold the edge

Chris Wilkie has been in top form for Martinborough. PHOTOS/FILE


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Top qualifiers Martinborough One should have the edge on Masterton in today’s Shirley Corlett Trophy regional one interclub semifinals.

Chris Wilkie has been in superb form in the singles number one spot, having won four of his five interclub matches. His only loss came last week – to Carterton’s Matt Spooner in straight sets at Martinborough.

But the fast hardcourts at Carterton should suit Wilkie’s game, although he will come up against an unknown opponent in Boon Huxtable.

Like Wilkie, Huxtable’s only defeat in interclub was to Spooner. The former Auckland junior is a hard hitter and could push Wilkie hard.

Martinborough’s experienced Marco de Groot should have the edge over Rhys Hooper at number two.

De Groot has won two of his three interclub singles, with his only loss to Ed Wilkie from Martinborough Two.

Hooper had struggled but comes into the fixture with a confidence-boosting straight sets win over Opaki’s Duncan Oakley last Friday.

Wilkie and de Groot are expected to back up in the doubles, although Martinborough have also used Steve Chapman in that role in some of their fixtures.

The potential make-up of the Gladstone side adds plenty of intrigue to their clash against Carterton in the second semifinal.

Scott Day has won only one of his five matches at number one, with his 14-year-old brother, William, becoming a force at number two, having won four of his five matches.

Lochie McNab may come into the Gladstone side.

However, the return of the club’s best player, Lochie McNab, from university creates a welcome dilemma for Gladstone.

In last Saturday’s win over Martinborough Two, the Day brothers played the singles, with McNab pairing Scott for the doubles.

Team captain Scott Day may decide to stick with that formula, which would see him up against the region’s number one man, Spooner, or he could decide to throw McNab in against Spooner and drop himself down to number two to play Carterton’s consistent Andi Steinemann.

Spooner is unbeaten in the singles for Carterton, while Steinemann has won three of his five matches.

The semifinal could well be decided in the doubles.

Spooner and Steinemann beat the Day brothers in their round-robin encounter, but with the likely inclusion of McNab that adds a different dimension.

Opaki and Martinborough Two will play off for fifth and sixth, in what is expected to a tight tussle.

All three fixtures will get under way at the Carterton Tennis Club at 1pm today.

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