Felix Parkinson reaches for a return. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tennis tyros take care of Coasters

Marlborough’s rising tennis talent came out on top when the annual Wilding Trophy fixture, which was delayed due to COVID-19 in April, was contested at the Forrest Winery Tennis Centre recently.

A team of 14 players from Marlborough and West Coast competed across multiple matches on Thursday and Friday.

Day one began with doubles – a nice way to iron out all the winter rustiness and get into the tennis groove again.

West Coast came out on top, 4 matches to 3, with the top boys and girls pairing going through to a super tie third set. Singles was up next and some great performances across the board from Marlborough saw a 10-3 result.

Then it was back to doubles with a few mixed combinations included. This time Marlborough got up 4-3, thanks to a clutch victory by William Poff and Poppy Parkinson who won their super tie third set 10-6.

Friday opened with reverse singles and Marlborough once again dominated 10-3 with the highlight being the last game in this round where Ryo Kimura beat Stanley Vercoe in three sets, both players responding to all the other players and supporters crowding around the court and cheering them on.

The last round saw a new set of doubles combinations with West Coast again prevailing 4-3. Three of these matches were decided by third set super tiebreaks – Poff and Kimura combining for a top notch win, coming back from 3-8 down to win 10-8.

Unbeaten players across the five matches were Marlborough’s Leon Marusaki, Cooper Johnson and Ben Preece while West Coast players Honor Barry and Connor Greig maintained a 100 percent winning record.

Overall, the Reilly Quirk-coached team won the fixture 30-17, a scoreline that did not reflect the tightness of the matches. A feature of the fixture is the relaxed atmosphere, which is always a highlight.

Next up for the Marlborough juniors is an under-14 rep fixture against Nelson for the Malcolm Shield on November 8 at the Marlborough Tennis Club.

Marlborough: Felix Parkinson, William Poff, Elijah O’Donnell, Ryo Kimura, Luke Marusaki, Josh Harris, Leon Marusaki, Max Sowman, Cooper Johnson, Ben Preece, Ella Sowman, Poppy Parkinson, Ana Eradus, Ruby Glackin.

Darren Herd, at net, and Oscar Sandford-Jury were part of the victorious Renwick premier team last season. Photo: Peter Jones

Court appearances set to rise

It is tennis time again, with two major competitions swinging into action this week.

On Tuesday, the well-supported WK+ Advisors and Accountants Presidents Grade kicks off, then the Wine Brokers NZ Premier Grade begins the following evening.

There has been a change in the premier grade structure for 2020. This year there will be two divisions, with four teams in each section. There will be three rounds and then a finals night just before Christmas.

In division one the teams consist of three men and one woman who will play six matches each night – three men’s singles, one women’s single, a men’s double and a mixed double.

Division one consists of two Rapaura teams, one Marlborough Tennis Club team and one Renwick team.

In division two there are two Marlborough Club teams (including a talented junior team, named ‘Next Gen’), one Rapaura team and one Renwick team.

Division one teams:

Rapaura Wairau River Noir: Hamish McRae, Blair Harvey, Brendon Sutherland, Ella Sowman. Rapaura Wairau River Blanc: Anthony Walkenhorst, Hugh Robinson, Glen Cameron, Donna Clark. Forrest Wines Marlborough:

Hamish Morrow, Jay Geris, Stephen Dempster, Amber Lyons. Renwick CPR:

Oscar Sandford-Jury, Dave Sandford, Joseph Sandford-Jury, Mieko Kimura.


Division two teams

Rapaura Wairau River Rose: Hiro Kishida, Hamish Shield, Eveline van der Linden, Lynn Murray, Georges Decken, Tony Fenemor. Marlborough Next Gen: Theodore Sandford-Jury, Dan Clarke, Jo Yank, Sid Yank, William Poff. Marlborough Smashers: Jaco van Hensbergen, Joshua Joseph, Ivan Fedoryshchev, George Geris. Renwick Rallycats: Daniel Riordan, Jason Anderson, Geoff Duckett, Luan Muir, Anna Simpson.


Presidents Grade

The ever-popular Presidents Grade competition, will include 28 teams – six teams in divisions one and four, and eight teams in divisions two and three. The competition will run right through the summer, concluding in early March.

Both Rapaura and Renwick clubs have nine teams apiece, while the Marlborough Tennis club has seven teams and Grovetown three.

Division one teams

Marlborough Chilli: Daniel Riordan, Peter Stubbs, Adam Dawe, Sandy Stubbs, Mieko Kimura. Renwick Net Setters: Anthony Bowron, Stephen Bryant, Adam Balasoglou, Luan Muir, Caroline Cornelius, Amber Lyons. Rapaura Masters: Hiro Kishida, Owen Dodson, Stephen Dempson (R), Tony Fenemor (R), Donna Clark, Pauline Fudge. Rapaura Just Move: Kyle Heagney, Mike Russell, Loren Hickin, Emily Stenhouse, Jane Bay, Amber Boyce. Rapaura Wairau River: Hugh Robinson, Warner Nichol, Lynn Murray, Eveline van der Linden, Karen Nichol. Grovetown Grove Tavern Top Shelf: Brendon Sutherland, Darin Herd, Owen Dodson, Venice Langrope, Raewyn Heta, Susie Glover.


Inspire Tennis Primary Schools Competition

This year sees 39 teams taking part in the competition across five divisions. Division one is made up of four very strong teams. All the players receive coaching, many of them training twice a week. Division two contains nine teams while divisions three and four are made up of less experienced players playing with low compression balls.

Seven teams will play in the Kiwi division – catering for the much younger players at the beginning of their tennis-playing years. They play on half-sized courts using mini nets.

A drop-in tennis coaching programme is also run by the Marlborough Tennis Club between 9am and 10am on Saturday mornings over the summer and this looks after the younger players not involved in the competition aged from 3 to 7 years. There is no need to register for this, just show up on the day. The cost is $2 per player and it starts on October 31.

The primary school competition starts with a grading day on Saturday, October 17, and then resumes with round one on October 31. It will break for Christmas on December 12 and resume after the school holidays. Thirteen schools have entered teams into the competition.

College Competition

A doubles competition for College students (of all abilities) is being run on Friday evenings, with an initial grading day on Friday, October 16. Players must register for this competition, for more information contact Hilary on [email protected].   Entry to this completion has not yet closed.

Monday College Social Tennis

The popular Monday College Social tennis will continue again this summer from 4.30pm-6pm each Monday afternoon starting on October 12. Beginners are welcome. Coaching is included to help players improve their skills. No pre-registration is needed, players just need to show up on Monday afternoons to sign-up.

It was a highly-successful weekend in Auckland for Marlborough tennis player Jade Otway. Photo: Supplied. 

Jade breaks through

Marlborough’s rising tennis talent, Jade Otway, picked up her first ITF [International Tennis Federation] singles win at the weekend.

The 17-year-old won both the singles and the doubles titles at the world junior J5 tournament staged in Auckland.

She went unbeaten during the event, which ran from September 20-26, teaming up with Abbey Mason in the doubles where they were top seeds.

Both the singles and doubles finals were played on Saturday. In the singles Jade beat sixth seed Elyse Tse 7-6, 6-1, then won the doubles title 6-0, 6-1 over Charlotte and Elyse Tse.

In the first round of the singles, for which she was seeded No 2, she downed Ruby Young 6-0, 6-2, then beat Juliane Gillespie 6-0, 6-0 in the next round and Renee Zhang 6-3, 6-2 in the semis.

Sixth seed Elyse Tse overcame singles top seed Vivian Yang 6-1, 6-4 in the other semi.

Jade is currently ranked 333rd worldwide.

Jade Otway had a superb weekend, winning all her matches. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tasman tennis team in action

Tasman’s top tennis talent held their own at the South Island Teams event played at Wilding Park, Christchurch on August 29-30.

Teams from Canterbury, Canterbury Country, Otago and Tasman contested the event which ran on Saturday and Sunday.

Representing Marlborough in the Tasman team were Jade Otway, Hamish Morrow and Hamish McRae.

Jade Otway was the star of the weekend winning all six of her matches.

First up on Saturday, Tasman lost 4-8 to the host side, Canterbury: Otway beat Ruby Young 6-3 6-0 combined with Simon Phillips in the mixed to claim a 7-5, 7-6 victory. Morrow and McRae teamed up in the men’s double, but went down 5-7, 0-6.

Tasman also had a tough battle during their second game on Saturday, losing 8-4 to Otago. Otway went two-from-two again, beating Ayesha Horley 6-1, 6-0 and then teaming up with Morrow to take out the mixed 6-2, 6-0. McRae went down to Mitchell Sizemore in a third set tiebreaker 5-7, 0-6, 10-5.

On Sunday, Tasman won three of the four doubles to come back and beat Canterbury Country by one set after matches were tied at 6-6.

Otway was again in top form, downing Tessa Mccann 7-6, 6-0 then taking out her mixed with Zac Lyttle 6-4, 6-4.

Morrow claimed a vital win in the singles, beating Rhys Cromie 6-2, 6-3, and then combined with Simon Phillips in the top doubles to clinch the win over Country and finish the weekend on a high, the pair winning 7-6, 6-0.

Marlborough player Oscar Parkinson reaches high to attempt a forehand return during his doubles match with brother Felix against Joe Yank and Will Poff last weekend. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tennis juniors battle for titles

The Marlborough Tennis Association hosted the New World Blenheim Marlborough Junior Winter Open on July 11-12, one of the first junior tournaments to occur since lockdown.

Despite being held amid school holiday activities a strong turnout from locals and visitors enjoyed superb weather conditions and tight competition at the Forrest Winery Marlborough Tennis Centre.

The girls open division saw some high-quality tennis. The singles final featured Cantabrians Nishitha Maarka, the top seed, and Lily Mcharg. Maarka took out the title 6-2, 6-1 and then the pair combined to win the doubles title over Marlborough players Grace Howard and Ella Sowman, who fought hard but eventually lost 6-4, 6-3.

The boys open division singles title was won convincingly by Nelson and NZ representative Harry Pugh, while local brothers Oscar and Felix Parkinson claimed the doubles title.

North Island visitor Annabel Chapman went through six matches in total undefeated, claiming the girls 12 and under singles title over Emmeline Gale and then combining with Dallas Ehau to win the doubles.

The 12 and under boys grade saw close matches and long games.  Mathew Campbell from Dunedin won the final over Eejin Tay and then combined with Anzac Robinson-Hawkins to win the doubles over the local duo of Elijah O’Donnell and Sid Yank.

In the 10 and 12 under girls section a mixed division was created. Bessie Barry from West Coast won the final against Aviva Kurtovic 6-3, 6-0.

The 10 and under boys comprised a nine-strong field and also featured some  lengthy matches. Jake Karathra survived a marathon two-hour semi-final, then took out the singles title 4-1, 4-0 over Frank Mcharg. He also won the doubles, combining with Zac Fleming to defeat Santiago Brozzo and Nick Rayner in a tense final 5-4, 5-4.

The 8 and 10 under boys joined some 10-year-olds in a special division. Vatsal Maarka defeated Samuel Gale to claim the 8s title and locals Kobe Hart and Charlie Clark played the final, Kobe defeating Charlie 5-3, 4-1.

Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark won the mixed doubles title. Photo: Supplied. 

Residential tennis titles claimed

Marlborough’s residential tennis champions in singles, doubles and mixed doubles have finally been decided.

Weather delays meant the doubles were postponed from December to March 15, while the singles were played in mid-December and the mixed doubles on March 8.

Hamish McRae picked up both the men’s singles title and the doubles crown, alongside Hamish Morrow. Eveline Apthorp claimed the women’s singles title while Donna Clark and Pauline Fudge took out the women’s doubles.

Clark bagged her second 2019-20 residential title in the mixed final, alongside Hugh Robinson.



Men’s residential singles (December 7, 2019). Semifinals: Oscar Parkinson defeated Oscar Sanford-Jury 2-6 6-2 10-7; Hamish McRae defeated Ant Walkenhorst 0-6 7-6 10-8 – both matches completed over two days due to rain. Final: McRae defeated Parkinson 6-0, default.

Men’s residential doubles (March 15, 2020). Semifinals: Hamish Morrow and Hamish McRae defeated Brendan Sutherland and Owen Dodson 6-2 6-3; Hugh Robinson and Glen Cameron defeated Paddy Lankshear and Warner Nichol 6-1 6-1. Final: Morrow and McRae defeated Robinson and Cameron 6-2 4-6 6-3.

Women’s residential singles (December 7, 2019). Eveline Apthorp won the singles after defeating Ella Sowman 6-3 2-6 10-4.

Women’s residential doubles (March 15, 2020). Semifinals: Donna Clark and Pauline Fudge defeated Caroline Cornelius and Anna Simpson 6-0 6-1; Eveline Apthorp and Lyn Murray defeated Ella Sowman and Grace Howard 6-0 6-3. Final: Clark and Fudge defeated Apthorp and Murray 7-6 7-5.

Mixed residential doubles (March 8, 2020). Final: Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark defeated Eveline Apthorp and Glen Cameron 6-4 6-1.

The winning President's Grade division one combination, from left, Warner Nicol, Eveline Apthorp, Lynn Murray and Hugh Robinson. Photo: Supplied.

President’s grade tennis titles decided

The 2020 WK+ Presidents Grade tennis competition wound up on Tuesday night with four closely-fought finals on the Forrest Marlborough Tennis Centre courts, the last matches being played under lights.

In division one a tight battle ensued between the Rapaura Masters team of Donna Clark, Pauline Fudge, Tony Fenemor and Hiro Kishida, against their clubmates Rapaura Wairau River, comprising Lynn Murray, Eveline Apthorp, Hugh Robinson and Warner Nicol.

The straight doubles were shared, Clark and Fudge prevailing 9-7 over Murray and Apthorp, then Robinson and Nicol beating Fenemor and Kishida 9-4. The mixed were also shared, but a 9-1 win to Robinson and Apthorp over Fenemor and Fudge gave Wairau Wines a decisive edge in games won. Although Clark and Kishida downed Nicol and Murray 9-6 the overall outcome was a 31-23 win to Wairau River on countback.

Division two was won in decisive fashion by Renwick Netsetters who beat MTC Roger Townley Construction 4-0. However, the overall score did not reflect the closeness of the games, which went Netsetters’ way 9-7, 9-8, 9-4 and 9-7. The winning team comprised Luan Muir, Caroline Cornelius, Adam Balasoglou and Anthony Bowron.

There was also a close tussle in division three where Rapaura Matadors took on MTC Tennis the Menace. Matador came out 3-1 victors after winning both the straight doubles and sharing the mixed. The winning team comprised Karen Nicol, Jenny Stark, Mark Wheeler and Peter Jones.

Division four was taken out by the Renwick Serve us a Double! combination who downed clubmates Rapaura Shiraz 4-0. The winning team was Bronwyn Keown, Anna Simpson, Malcolm Walshe and Jason Anderson.

Max Sowman plays on the backhand. Photo: Supplied.

Junior residential tennis crowns decided

With Marlborough residential titles at stake, 42 junior players gathered at the Forrest Estate Marlborough Tennis Centre on February 29 and March 1.

They battled through 80 matches across both days to find winners of Pita Pit residential crowns and produced some excellent tennis.

Ella Sowman and Rosie Bowers were the winners of the 14 girls’ doubles and also played each other in a tight singles final with Ella prevailing 10-6 in the super tie third set. William Poff took out the boys 14 singles title, but unfortunately no 14 boys’ doubles were played.

The 12 year old age group was again one of the largest. This year Lilly Walkenhorst had a tough battle in the girls singles before getting the better of Jemimah O’Donnell, then Lilly and Jemimah teamed up to take out the doubles over Poppy Parkinson and Ana Eradus.

Throughout this division there were a number of close games and some great results for individual players. On the boys side, after a tough first set top seed Sid Yank eventually defeated Dan Clarke in the singles and then they also formed a strong partnership to claim the doubles trophy with a win over Mason Herd and Elijah O’Donnell.

In the 10 year grade top seeds Josh Harris and Isobel O’Brien justified their seedings to take out the singles titles the winners. After claiming the doubles title in 2019 Harris and Alex Herd teamed up again to clinch the 2020 title.

Sisters Harriet & Maisie Cornelius were the girls doubles champions with a close game and another third set super win defeating Sadie Eradus and Mia Harris.

Youngster Joseph Sandford-Jury was an integral part of the victorious Renwick tennis team, winning both his singles and doubles matches. Photo: Peter Jones.

Renwick set up breakthrough tennis win

Renwick CPR claimed the Marlborough premier tennis title for the first time on Wednesday evening, downing Rapaura Wairau River Blanc in a thrilling final at Pollard Park.

The two country clubs fought out a thrilling nine-match decider, an encounter which was postponed from last year due to inclement weather.

There were no such issues this time around with the tie played in balmy conditions, top-qualifiers Renwick eventually taking the honours six matches to three.

The evening began with two men’s doubles and one mixed encounter, Renwick making a bold start by winning two of the three.

In the No 1 doubles Rapaura’s Ant Walkenhorst and Lee Harborne defeated Oscar Sanford-Jury and Darren Herd 7-6, 7-5 in a match that was tight throughout, the Rapaura duo prevailing after doing slightly better on the big points.

In the second men’s doubles clash, Renwick bounced back in emphatic fashion, Chris Nott and Joseph Sanford-Jury beating Stephen Dempster and Hiro Kashida 6-2, 6-3.

Renwick sprung something of a surprise by putting the vastly-experienced Dave Sandford in their mixed doubles combination, alongside Meiko Kimura, but it paid dividends. In another closely-fought encounter the Renwick pair came through 7-5, 6-4 against Ben Burridge and Donna Clark.

Rapaura player Lee Harborne lines up an overhead shot while his doubles partner Ant Walkenhorst looks on. Photo: Peter Jones.
Rapaura player Lee Harborne lines up an overhead shot while his doubles partner Ant Walkenhorst looks on. Photo: Peter Jones.

With Renwick leading 2-1 Rapaura needed some early singles success. Harborne got them started, winning a 6-1, 3-6, 10-8 thriller against Oscar Sandford-Jury but Renwick were able to claim the following four men’s ties, giving them an unassailable lead.

Dave Sanford downed Walkenhorst 6-1, 6-2, Nott accounted for Dempster in another thriller, prevailing 6-2, 6-7, 12-10 to rack up a crucial point, Joseph Sandford-Jury overcame Kashida then Herd beat Burridge 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 in another tight encounter.

The women’s single went the way of Rapaura, Clark getting the better of Kimura 6-1, 6-1, but it was not enough to stop Renwick getting their hands on the silverware for the first time since it was introduced in 2008.

Next week a new competition, the Summer Series, kicks off.


Results from the WK+ Presidents Grade, 28 January 2020

Division 1: Grovetown Grove Tavern Top Shelf 2 (31) Rapaura Masters 2 (21); Rapaura Wairau River 3 MTC Power 1; Rapaura Just Move 2 (33) MTC Chilli 2 (27).

Division 2: Renwick Netsetters 2 (29) Rapaura Pinot 2 (26); MTC Volleyeurs 3 Rapaura Newhawkes 1; MTC Swifts 3 MTC Roger Townley Construction 1; MTC Swallows 3 Renwick Mighty Four 1.

Division 3: Rapaura Chardonnay 1 MTC Bjorn Again 3; Rapaura Matadors 2 (29) Renwick Rebels 2 (27); MTC Tennis the Menace 3 Renwick Rookies 1.

Division 4: Rapaura Shiraz 4 Renwick Racquets 0 Grovetown Grove Tavern Platters 2 (29) Rapaura Vines 2 (24) Renwick Serve us a Double! 4 Renwick Raiders 0.

Josh Harris won both the singles and doubles in the 10-and-under boys’ grade. Photo: Nigel Perry.

Tennis tyros gather in Blenheim

Young tennis players came from far and wide to take part in the 2020 Marlborough Junior Summer Open, sponsored by Clarke Construction, on January 17-19.

Over 90 players combined for a total of 200 matches from Friday to Sunday with local competitors enjoying plenty of success across the various grades.

In the 8-and-under boys grade the top two players battled their way to a super tie third set. Jamie Waugh from Fielding won, but local player Charlie Clark could be one to watch for the future. Visitor Meg Inwood won the 8-and-under girls title.

The 10-and-under boys’ field included 16 players, with an all-Marlborough final, between Josh Harris and Oliver Clarke, eventuating. Harris prevailed 4-0, 4-1 and added the doubles title in combination with another local, Alex Herd. They defeated Liam Howes and Max Sowman in a tense battle, coming down to an 11-9 third set super tie breaker.

The 10-and-under girls’ singles final was an all-Canterbury affair, Marijia Filipovic beating Aliyah Daly in the final. They then combined to take out the doubles title.

Local player Sid Yank made a bold showing in the 12-and-under boys’ grade. In a strong 16-player draw, with a great mix of Marlborough and out-of-town players, Yank had one of his best tournaments, eliminating the first and third seeds on his way to the final, where he tipped over fourth seed Tasman Daly from Christchurch, 6-3, 6-4. The top seeds in the doubles, Louis De Lautour and Daly were victorious but didn’t have it all their way taking it out 7-6, 6-4 against Issac Boomer and Connor Edmonds.

The 12-and-under girls’ final featured two locals, Jemimah O’Donnell beating Poppy Parkinson 6-2, 6-3. O’Donnell combined with Lilly Walkenhorst to take the doubles final against Poppy Parkinson and Ana Eradus.

The Open 1 Division Boys section sees older players and those with higher points doing battle and, with the top seed Oscar Sandford-Jury injured, the tournament was wide open. Two Canterbury players battled out the final with Blake Cullen taking the win over Pavle Filipovic 6-2, 6-2. It was almost an all-Marlborough affair in the doubles final with top seeds Jay Geris and Oscar Sandford-Jury meeting former Marlborough player Lucca Wiseman and Joseph Sandford-Jury. Joseph was eventually able to claim bragging rights over his older brother and he and Wiseman took it out 6-4, 7-6.

Liam Donaldson from the West Coast claimed the Open 2 Division Boys crown, beating Nelson-based Sean Hillberg.

The Open Division Girls final saw Canterbury-based Nishitha Maarka take on local Lily Parkinson in the final, winning 6-3, 7-5 despite Parkinson making a strong come back in the second set. Parkinson then combined with fellow local Ella Sowman to comfortably take out the doubles title.