Members of the Marlborough TC get right behind the “Love Tennis” promotion. Photo: Supplied.

Tennis clubs offer an opportunity to fall in love

Love may mean nothing when it comes to scoring tennis matches, but Marlborough’s tennis clubs are encouraging Kiwis to “Love Tennis” during a nationwide open weekend on September 7-8.

More than 120 clubs, including the Marlborough and Rapaura clubs in this province, will be taking part in Love Tennis, opening their gates from 1-4pm each day for free fun, giveaways and entertainment.

Due to the fact they are based on grass courts, the Rapaura club will be staging their “Love Tennis” promotion three weeks later than the other 128 participants, on September 28-29.

The Marlborough club will run the promotion on Saturday and Sunday, along with the rest of the country. Tennis equipment will be provided free of charge and the club will offer games, prizes, a BBQ and giveaways.

The event is aimed at introducing tennis to a wider audience and engaging with people of all ages.

“Love Tennis” national open weekend builds on the success of regional events hosted in the Lower North Island and Canterbury over recent years.

Bill Taylor, president of the Marlborough Tennis Club, encourages locals to come along and try their hand.

“If you are looking for fun couple of hours, a bit of exercise and enjoy ball games give tennis a try at the Marlborough Tennis Club.

“All ages and all abilities catered for. Those new to tennis are particularly welcome – racquets and balls provided on site.

“Existing players can test their serve speed and also the accuracy of their shots.

“We have great tennis facilities and the club promotes friendly competition, a healthy fitness and social games – come and take advantage of these two introductory days.

“Sign in on either day and get free entry to the draw for complimentary tickets to the ASB Auckland Classic in January, 2020.

All “Love Tennis” attendees across New Zealand have the chance to win one of six trips for two to the Classic, enjoying the action from Tennis New Zealand’s corporate suite.

Lily Parkinson and Eden Carter. Photo: Nigel Perry.

Marlborough’s tennis tyros show their skills

The province’s up-and-coming tennis talent certainly made their mark during the recent Clarke Construction Marlborough Junior Winter Open staged at Pollard Park.

Almost 70 players, including entrants from Auckland, Cambridge, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago took part in the popular annual event.

Play started early on Saturday morning [July 13] with a full schedule booked in given the poor weather forecast for Sunday. Ultimately  110 matches were played on Saturday, the last few finishing under lights as poor weather on Sunday meant the whole day’s play was abandoned.

The eight and under boys’ section was very close, three players finishing on the same points with a countback of games separating them. Levi Wu from Auckland was the winner with Zac Fleming from Nelson runner up. In the doubles Wu teamed up with local player Charlie Clark to take the title.

The eight and under girls’ title went to Marlborough local Harriet Cornelius, with fellow Marlborough player Mia Harris runner-up. The pair then combined to win the doubles title as well.

Zach Wu, from Auckland defeated local Josh Harris in the 10 and under boys’ final, after Harris had toppled the top seed in the quarter finals. Unfortunately the doubles final was unable to be played.

The 10 and under girls’ division featured a tense final with local favourite Poppy Parkinson playing well but ultimately losing a very tight match 11-9 in the third set tie-breaker to Canterbury-based Dasha Sanina. In the doubles Shaylyn Ilton and Charlotte Mccashin from Nelson were victorious.

Felix Parkinson dominated the 12 and under boys’ division, beating fellow Marlborough player Ryo Kimura in the final. The doubles final was unable to be played.

The 12 and under girls’ final was fought out between visitors Maia Liu and Maggie Crosby. With darkness setting in the girls had to move under lights, Liu prevailing 6-4 6-2.

In the open boys’ division Oscar Parkinson won the final against Aidin Watt from Ashburton. Watt then teamed up with Josh Karathra to win the doubles title.

Lily Parkinson claimed the open girls’ title, beating fellow Marlborough local Grace Howard in the final. Unfortunately the doubles final was unable to be played.

Junior tennis trophy stays put

The Gardiner Trophy remains firmly in Marlborough hands after the latest instalment of the annual junior tennis fixture was played out at the Forrest Winery Tennis Centre last weekend.

Twenty-eight juniors from both sides of the hill lined up to vie for the trophy, held for the past two years by the home side.

They made sure the silverware was going nowhere in 2019, comprehensively taking out the tie 39-17.

The fixture is played across four age grades – 16, 14, 12 and 10 – with each match counting towards the overall total.

Marlborough took out three of the four grades, winning the 16s 7-1, the 12s 15-1 and the 10s 11-5. Nelson prevailed in the 14s 10-6.

An added bonus for the home side was the appearance of national champion and junior Fed Cup representative Jade Otway, whose ever-improving all-court game helped Marlborough dominate the 16s.

Other players to shine included Oscar Parkinson, who won all his games in the 16s, including a hard-hitting singles clash against Sam Innes-Walker.

Brandon Brooker picked up three of Marlborough’s six wins in the 14s.

In the 12s the boys quartet of Felix Parkinson, Sid Yank, Dan Clarke and Theo Sandford-Jury were unbeaten, along with Ana Eradus, Lily Walkenhorst and Ella Sowman among the female contingent.

Oliver Clarke, Josh Harris, Jemimah O’Donnell and Poppy Parkinson won three-from-three in the 10s grade.