The Wine Brokers NZ premier tennis competition kicked off on Wednesday under a slightly-different format this season.
Four six-strong teams will contest the premier grade this time around, two from the Rapaura club and one each from Marlborough and Renwick.
A close competition is in prospect if the opening exchanges were anything to go by. Two very tight matches kicked the season off, both coming down to the final match.
In the first game Marlborough Forrest Wines defeated Rapaura Wairau Noir 5-4.
Rapaura made a promising opening, winning both of the men’s doubles. Hamish McRae and Hugh Robinson defeated Oscar Parkinson and Jay Geris 6-4, 6-2 while Glen Cameron and Adrian Bryant downed Owen Dobson and Pete Stubbs 6-3, 7-6. Marlborough claimed the mixed with Phil Sowman and Sandy Stubbs defeating Tony Fenemor and Eveline Apthorp 6-4, 6-4.
In the men’s singles Parkinson was too consistent for McRae, wining 6-1, 6-3 but Robinson grabbed the number two singles for Rapaura, winning 6-3, 6-4 over Geris.
Apthorp was too strong for Stubbs in the in the women’s singles, winning 6-2, 6-1. Rapaura led four matches to two but Marlborough started their comeback with Stubbs defeating Bryant. The both Dodson and Sowman prevailing in third set tiebreakers to beat Cameron and Fenemor and set up the narrow win for Marlborough.
The other encounter was taken out by Renwick CPR, who downed Rapaura Blanc 5-4.
The men’s doubles were shared, Ant Walkenhorst and Stephen Dempster downing Oscar Sandford-Jury and Dave Sandford 6-4, 1-6, 10-3, then Chris Nott and Joseph Sandford-Jury replied with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Hiro Kishida and Mike Ennis.
Daniel Riordan and Kimura won the mixed doubles clash, then Walkenhorst beat Oscar Sandford-Jury in the top men’s singles to give Rapaura an early edge.
However Renwick battled back, Dave Sandford, Nott, Joseph Sandford-Jury and Riordan (by default) claiming singles wins to put Renwick in a winning position. Donna Clark convincingly won the women’s singles clash to add a late point for Rapaura.