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Martinborough reign in Carterton

Martinborough’s doubles experience paid off as they edged Carterton 5-4 in Sunday’s thrilling Wairarapa regional one interclub final at Carterton.

The scores were locked 3-3 after a tightly fought round of singles matches before Martinborough took control, winning both men’s doubles to lift the prized Gawith Shield for the fourth time in five years.

Carterton team captain Matt Spooner acknowledged that Martinborough’s experience in the men’s doubles proved the difference in a close, high-quality final.

Ed Wilkie and Matt Nicholson were too good for Mara Beyerle and Andi Steinemann with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win before Chris Wilkie and Shane Colton got the better of William Day and veteran Spooner 6-3 7-5.

“They were very strong in men’s doubles. Chris and Shane played very solid doubles, and we were always chasing them. We almost kept the second set alive, but we were generally behind,” Spooner said.

Promising teenage sisters Alice and Elizabeth Whitaker won the women’s doubles beating Gabbie Nicholson and Katherine Jacobs 6-1 7-6, but by then, the Shield’s home for the next 12 months had already been decided.

Experience played its part in two vital singles matches which went Martinborough’s way, most notably Matt Nicholson, who nudged talented junior William Orsborn 7-5 7-6, and Katherine Jacobs, who was taken to three sets by Elizabeth Whitaker before winning 6-3 4-6 6-3.

Colton continued his excellent run of form, beating Spooner 6-3 7-5 for Martinborough’s third singles victory.

Carterton’s singles wins came through Day, who recovered from a set down to win the battle of the number ones with Chris Wilkie 5-7 6-2 6-2, German teenage girl Beyerle, who maintained her unbeaten record against the men, with 6-2 6-3 defeat of Ed Wilkie, and 15-year-old Alice Whitaker – a 6-1 6-3 victor over Gabbie Nicholson.

“We’ll tip our hat to them, they were just a bit good on the day, but it was a fantastic finale,” added Spooner, who was impressed with the standard of play throughout the competition, despite only three teams – Martinborough, Carterton, and Opaki – contesting the region one championship.

He was also full of praise for his young Carterton side, which, apart from himself and Steinemann, had an age range of 14-17 years.

“… it would be as strong as any other team I’ve played in or against. At the top end, it’s very good.”

Spooner, who is also the Wairarapa Tennis senior interclub coordinator, said he is working with Ed Wilkie and coach Jacob Emery to come up with ideas for a slightly different format, so all the players are getting hard games each week.

“The player pool at the top end is as good as it’s ever been. It’s just bringing the stuff up underneath, which is what Jacob is working on with his coaching.”

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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