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Opaki need minor miracle

Boon Huxtable is unbeaten in the Gawith Shield. PHOTO/FILE

TENNIS

CHRIS COGDALE
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Opaki need a minor miracle to make the final of the Wairarapa Tennis Regional One Interclub Championship.

Martinborough have already qualified for next weekend’s Gawith Shield final, and Masterton are odds-on to join them.

Masterton come into today’s final round on 31 points while Opaki have 23 points.

Masterton only need to win two of the matches to secure their place in the final, whereas Opaki need to win 8-1 or 9-0 to deny Masterton.

The last time the teams met, Masterton cruised to a 9-0 clean sweep, however a similar result is unlikely, with Opaki expected to field their strongest possible line-up to try and overturn the points difference.

The inclusion of the competition’s top men’s player Boon Huxtable gives Masterton a massive boost at the top of the order.

The former Auckland junior is unbeaten in the competition and has comfortably beaten his likely opponent Chris Davidson in their two previous meetings.

The return of the experienced Chad Parson at number two has also been a boost for Masterton.

He beat Opaki’s Duncan Oakley in straight sets in their most recent clash in February.

Either two of Rhys Hooper, John McLeod and Liam Kerr will fill the remaining men’s singles spots.

Opaki should dominate the women’s matches. Gerry Brooking was sorely missed in the 9-0 loss and her return, along with Belinda Day should result in three wins for Opaki.

Today’s other fixture is of academic interest only, although Martinborough are favoured to easily beat Gladstone, who have struggled since the return of Lochie McNab to university and Scott Day’s move away
from the region.

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