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Close final on the cards

Carterton and Martinborough are predicting their Gawith Shield final at Carterton today will be closely fought.

Top qualifiers Carterton are seeking their second consecutive title, while Martinborough want to regain Wairarapa’s premier regional one interclub championship trophy, which they had won the previous three seasons.

Martinborough beat Carterton 7-2 on their grass courts but lost 1-8 in the return match on Jacob Emery’s red clay courts near Martinborough. However, those results are no indication of the closeness of the two teams.

The hard courts at Carterton provide a different challenge than grass or clay, and home team captain Matt Spooner believes it probably suits his team’s younger players rather than the visitors.

“If it was on grass, I would almost edge it their way, but the fact that it’s on the hard courts, we’ve got four youngsters who prefer that,” Spooner said.

“The hard courts, we obviously play on them a lot more than they do, so if anything, that might give us an edge, I hope, but it should be close.”

Spooner has resisted bringing in players such as Jono Hurley and Emery to strengthen the side and is sticking with players who have turned out for the team regularly throughout the season.

“It’s not a win-at-all-costs scenario. It’s just trying to win it with the players who play every week.”

That is likely to see William ‘Winky’ Day at number one, with Spooner at two, German teenage girl Mara Beyerle, who is unbeaten against the men at three, and Josh Hutching at four, while sisters Alice and Elizabeth Whitaker are to take the court in the women.

The doubles combinations should comprise Spooner and Beyerle, and Day and Hutchings or Rudo Erasmus, with the Whitaker sisters forming the woman’s pair.

The only change could come if rain forces the fixture to be delayed until tomorrow, in which case promising junior William Orsborn would come in for the unavailable Hutchings.

Martinborough player Ed Wilkie expects his team to have a settled look with Chris Wilkie at one, the on-fire Shane Colton at two, himself at three, and Matt Nicholson at four. Chris Wilkie and Nicholson and Colton and Ed Wilkie are likely to be the men’s doubles pairings, although veteran Marco de Groot could come into the doubles mix.

There is, however, some doubt over the women’s lineup. Gabbie Nicholson will play at one, but who plays at two is still to be decided, with Katherine Jacobs possibly unavailable because of grape picking. Marta Wojcikowski and Libby Paterson are the other potentials in the women’s draw.

Ed Wilkie said there are a lot of moving pieces for Martinborough, and the final playing order won’t be decided until at the courts, but he also anticipates a tight battle.

“It could go either way. We won three in a row, and it was down to the wire last year, and we only lost 5-4, and there were a couple of three-setters that didn’t go our way. It’s going to be a tight encounter,” he said.

Play is to start at 11am but if there is rain, play could potentially start as late as 1pm. Any later, and the final will be deferred until tomorrow.

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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