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Women seal win

The women were the difference for Martinborough in a tight, tense victory over Ōpaki in the Gawith Shield final played at Martinborough on Sunday.

The men finished even at three matches each, but the Martinborough women dominated their opponents comfortably winning their two singles and their only doubles to secure the 6–3 victory and claim the Wairarapa Tennis Regional One Interclub Championship for the second straight year and for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.

Martinborough number three Ed Wilkie reckoned it was a torrid affair, especially in the men’s singles after the number one and two matches went the way of Ōpaki, with Boon Huxtable beating Chris Wilkie 7–6 6–0 and Alex Randall blowing away Shane Colton 6–1 6–0.

“There were two singles matches that we kind of expected to win. There was me playing Chris Davidson and Matt Nicholson playing Duncan Oakley, and I lost the first set in a tiebreaker and had to really battle back to win the next two as we could already see that our top two, Chris [Wilkie] and Shane, had been given a real lesson, so it was a stressful one for me grinding out that win against Chris [Davidson] because it went on for about three hours I think,” Ed Wilkie said.

Ed Wilkie eventually prevailed 6–7 6–2 6–4, and Nicholson won in two tight sets 6–4 7–5.

With Martinborough holding a 4–2 advantage after the singles, the defending champions only needed one point from the doubles to take the championship, and Marta Wojcikowski and Gabriella Nicholson made no race of it with a dominant 6–1 6–3 defeat of Tori Bunny and Anna Rutherford.

Earlier, Martinborough had been untroubled in the women’s singles, with Nicholson beating Bunny 6–2 6–0 and Katherine Jacobs double donuting Anna Rutherford 6–0 6–0.

Ed Wilkie said the triumph is a pretty special one over a highly respected club.

“Ōpaki has got a real core club mentality, and it’s not like they just grab players to fill a team; they’re Ōpaki through and through.

“Boon has moved there and is right into the Ōpaki club culture and coaching kids, and they have a lot of kids coming through, but there were just a couple of key injuries – Mike Jackson couldn’t play because of his wrist, so they didn’t have the depth in the doubles.”

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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