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Carterton proves too good on clay

The unfamiliar clay court proved no handicap for Carterton who ran away with Saturday’s Gawith Shield fixture 8-1 against Martinborough.

In what is believed to be a first for interclub tennis in New Zealand, the two clubs took to the red clay courts at coach Jacob Emery and partner Teresa Ross’ property south of Martinborough for their third-round clash.

Wairarapa Tennis senior interclub coordinator and Carterton team member Matt Spooner said a couple of light showers in the morning meant the courts didn’t need to be watered as usual, and apart from the clay surface being a bit low and slow, it was an awesome experience.

As the score would suggest, Carterton dominated most matches, with their only defeat coming in the women’s singles.

Jono Hurley, a late call-up for German teenager Mara Beyerle who pulled out with illness, comfortably beat Chris Wilkie 6-3 6-1 in the battle of the number one men. William Day was the only player pushed beyond two sets by the impressive Shane Colton before winning 6-4 3-6 10-3, Jacob Emery defeated Ed Wilkie 6-4 6-2, and Spooner dispatched Matt Nicholson 6-1 6-0.

Alice Whitaker celebrated her 15th birthday in style with a 6-1 6-2 win over Katherine Jacobs, and Gabriella Nicholson picked up Martinborough’s only point with a 6-3 6-4 win over Elizabeth Whitaker in the women’s singles.

Hurley and William Day were too good for Colton and Rick Wilkie, winning the only men’s doubles 6-3 6-3. In the mixed doubles, Emery and Alice Whitaker easily accounted for Marco de Groot and Marta Wojcikowski 6-1 6-2, and Spooner and Elizabeth Whitaker had a 6-1 6-3 victory over Dan and Gabriella Nicholson.

Carterton’s win followed their hard-fought 5-4 defeat of Opaki on Thursday night.

The fixture was all tied up at 3-3 after the singles, with William Day, Beyerle, and Josh Hutchings winning for Carterton, and Richie Day, Belinda Day, and Tori Burry scoring for Opaki.

Spooner and Beyerle, and William Day and Hutchings won their men’s doubles, and Belinda Day and Bunny won the only women’s doubles.

The results gave Carterton the lead on 34 points, with Martinborough on 23 points and Opaki on eight points.

Opaki and Martinborough were to play their catch-up fixture last night, while Opaki and Carterton are likely to play their deferred tie on Thursday, with Opaki and Martinborough to clash again on Saturday.

Opaki would need to win all three fixtures by wide margins to have a chance at sneaking into the final.

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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