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.

Sam and Simon Phillips won the 2019 Rapaura men's title. Photo: Peter Jones.

Double delight at Rapaura as twins take out both doubles titles

Spectators at the finals of the annual Wairau River Rapaura doubles tennis tournament could be excused if they came away suffering from double vision.

In a unique occurrence, both the men’s and women’s finals of the popular festive season event, staged on December 28-29, were this year won by twins.

Identical siblings Sam and Simon Phillips took out the men’s title, while the local combination of Jade and Kyla Otway came away with the women’s crown.

The Phillips, Sam based in Western Australia and Simon in Nelson, cut a swathe through the men’s draw, not dropping a set over the two days. In the final they defeated Gareth Robb and Tom Batt 6-2, 6-1, their big serves and crisp volleys proving too good for the Christchurch-based combination.

Jade and Kyla Otway claimed their second Rapaura doubles victory. Photo: Peter Jones.
Jade and Kyla Otway claimed their second Rapaura doubles victory. Photo: Peter Jones.

The height and extra reach of the lofty Phillips twins was also a decisive factor, making them a tough proposition to pass at the net or lob.

In the semifinals Robb and Batt downed local hopefuls Lee Harborne and Andrew Forgesson 6-1, 6-1, while the Phillips got the better of Hamish Morrow and Dave Sandford 6-3, 7-6 in a tighter contest.

The 16-year-old Otway twins also cemented victory without dropping a set. They met Eveline van der Linden and Renny Spruijtenburg in the final and prevailed 6-2, 6-2.

Earlier they beat sisters Loren Hickin and Felicity Sampson 6-1, 6-3 in the semis, while their final rivals downed Jane Bay and Donna Clark 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the other.

Although Kyla had not played any competitive tennis for the past two years, the former national age group champion teamed well with her sister, the newly-crowned national under-18 doubles champion, to get the job done.

Their last outing together was on the same grass courts, in 2017 when they claimed their first Rapaura title.

Kyla, a highly-promising college rower at Rangi Ruru, said the decision to team up once more was down to her.

“It’s just fun to get back to [tennis]. It is the best tournament, so nice and social. It’s great to see everyone again.”

She also noted that Jade was “the boss” on court, because “she’s actually good”, and said they had had no sibling arguments during their three games, apart from a couple of calls of “get your stuff together Kyla”.

They had praise for their final opponents, especially van der Linden, who had previously coached both girls.

With another Blenheim Christmas planned for 2020, the sisters confirmed that the tournament would again be on their festive season menu.

The Phillips twins also hoped to be back, although Perth-based doctor Sam said scheduling a trip home was not always easy.

The twins grew up in Christchurch, where they played top level-tennis until in their mid-twenties, before Sam headed to Australia nine years ago and Simon set up home in Nelson, where he is the province’s No 1.

They warmed up for Rapaura with an over-35 tournament in Perth in September, losing in the doubles final to Australia’s top over-35 combination.

“We used to play together all the time years ago,” said Sam, “but now we are lucky if we play together once or twice a year.”

Simon, also a doctor, was a beaten Rapaura finalist two years ago, losing to Robb on that occasion, so suggested getting revenge was one reason for entering the tournament, although the logistics of getting the brothers together in time were tight.

“It was based on when Sam could get over [from Perth]. As it turned out he flew over on Saturday and drove up … it was really nice of [the organisers] to let us play late afternoon back-to-back so we could take part.”

They relished the opportunity. “It was great fun,” said Sam, “there’s a really nice atmosphere, it’s well-organised and the competition is really good.”

Eighteen combinations contested the men’s draw, eight involved in the women’s.

On the Friday preceding the men’s and women’s doubles, the Rapaura mixed doubles tournament was held, with Jade Otway and Lee Harborne winning the final 9-3 over the father/daughter pairing of Lucia and James Gale.

Brett Forgesson. Photo: Supplied.

Tennis honours former president

The Marlborough Tennis Association has a new life member after Brett Forgesson was honoured with the prestigious award at the latest annual meeting of the MTA.

Brett was an active and innovative president of the local association from 2010 until 2018, after joining the MTA committee in 2009.

In his first annual report he outlined his goals, which included making the MTA “known as the best small association in NZ Tennis within the next two or three years and looked at as a model for success by other districts”.

Current MTA president Lindsay Parkinson said Brett certainly achieved that objective.

“He became president after a turbulent few years for Marlborough tennis and, through an enormous amount of work and dedication, Brett ushered in a new, very successful era,” said Parkinson.

“Brett was an impressive administrator who worked tirelessly for the good of tennis in Marlborough over many years.

“He led a committee which established a successful relationship with a professional and accomplished coaching team meaning that both juniors and seniors were delivered a quality and consistent product.”

He also introduced a number of new annual representative matches for Marlborough’s players, increased fund-raising opportunities and rebuilt the primary school competition which grew from 180 participants in 2010/11 to around 280 in 2017/18.

Under his leadership, Marlborough hosted the TNZ Junior Masters finals in 2011 and both the TNZ under 16 national champs and the South Island Primary Schools tournament in 2012.

“Brett embraced the new technology available and brought a new professionalism to the Marlborough tournaments,” said Parkinson.

“He also increased the revenue steam from funding organisations and sponsors, raising the reserves of the association considerably, while at the same time managing to grow the programmes that the association offers.

“Although Brett was ably assisted by his committee everyone will testify to how much work he put into the Association. This was most evident in 2013-2014 when the MTA operated without a paid administrator. Brett effectively did the administrator’s role while also working full-time,” added Parkinson.

Brett joins Nigel Perry, David Winstanley and Barry Stringer as life members of the MTA.

Jade Otway won the national under-18 doubles crown. Photo: Supplied.

Jade NZ champ again

Marlborough’s leading tennis player, Jade Otway, has picked up another national title, and narrowly missed another.

At the New Zealand under-18 championships, held in Albany from December 5-10, Jade paired superbly with Ines Stephani from Wanaka to take out the national doubles title, beating top seeds Holly Stewart and Sarah Weekley 6-2, 6-2.

In the singles, Jade was also seeded second and reached the final where she played the unseeded Shona Nakano. After Jade had won the first set 6-2, Nakano took the second and third sets 6-3, 6-4.

In the first round of singles the Marlborough 16-year-old, who remains eligible to play in this grade next season, beat Miranda Yuan 6-2, 6-2. She then downed Ema Miyaura 6-0, 6-2 then overcame fifth seed Abby Mason in a quarterfinal, winning a tough battle, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6. In the semifinal Jade defeated eighth seed Elyse Tse 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in another torrid encounter.

She and Stephani beat Ella O’Malley and Dana Salmon 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the doubles competition, accounted for Bridget Han and Miranda Yuan by a walkover in the next round then downed fourth seeds Brooke Kenny and Mason 3-6, 6-0, 10-7 in the semifinal.

Tennis finalists warm up with narrow wins

With final round robin standings already decided, Marlborough’s Wine Brokers NZ premier grade tennis players had only pride to play for on Wednesday, two very close ties eventuating.

Top-qualifiers Renwick CPR continued on their winning way, narrowly downing Marlborough Forrest Wines 5-4, while Rapaura Blanc, the other finalist, warmed up for the decider by getting the better of Rapaura Noir, also 5-4.

In the all-Rapaura match Blanc made a flying start by winning both men’s doubles, Lee Harborne and Ben Burridge downing Hugh Robinson and Glen Cameron 6-4, 6-3 then Stephen Dempster with Hiro Kishida beating Owen Dodson and Adrian Bryant 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.

Tony Fenemor and Eveline Apthorp got Noir on the board with a mixed doubles win before Blanc claimed the top three men’s singles, through Harborne, Burridge and Dempster to get the job done.

The top doubles were shared in the Renwick v Marlborough clash, Hamish Morrow and Oscar Parkinson beating Renwick father-and-son duo Oscar Sandford-Jury and Dave Sandford 7-6, 6-4, then Renwick’s Chris Nott and Joseph Sandford-Jury downing Cameron Lyons and Ivan Fed in a thriller, 6-2, 3-6, 12-10.

Daniel Riordan and Mieko Kimura beat Amber Lyons and Hamish Burrows in the mixed doubles to push Renwick ahead, but top singles wins to Lyons, Morrow and Parkinson, the latter two in three sets, saw Marlborough move 4-2 ahead.

However a strong finish in the lower-ranked singles matches allowed the pace-setters to prevail. Joseph Sandford-Jury and Riordan won in two while Kimura eventually got the better of Amber Lyons 6-1, 2-6, 10-8, to claim a tie-deciding victory.

Renwick CPR will play Rapaura Wairau Blanc in Wednesday’s final at the Marlborough courts.

Final standings: Renwick CPR 133, Rapaura Wairau Blanc 108, Rapaura Wairau Noir 80, Marlborough Forrest Wines 73.


WK+ Presidents Grade Results, 10 December 2019

Division 1: MTC Chilli 2 (29) Grovetown Grove Tavern Top Shelf 2 (26); MTC Power 0 Rapaura Masters 4.

Division 2: MTC Roger Townley Construction 2 (30) MTC Swallows 2 (24); Rapaura Newhawkes 2 (22) Renwick Mighty Four 2 (31); Rapaura Pinot 1 MTC Swifts 3; MTC Volleyeurs 1 Renwick Netsetters 3.

Division 3: Grovetown Grove Tavern Turf & Tackle 0 MTC Tennis the Menace 4; Renwick Rebels 3 Renwick Rookies 1; MTC Bjorn Again 0 Renwick Re-strung 4; Rapaura Matadors 4 Rapaura Chardonnay 0.

Division 4: Grovetown Grove Tavern Platters 4 Renwick Racquets 0; Rapaura Shiraz 0 Renwick Serve us a Double! 4.