Final ends with countbacks

Tuesday, Mar 23 2021

Final ends with countbacks

Will Johnston

A lot can happen in a sporting month, just ask the Pukekura tennis club’s Soffe Cup team.

It lost to Rotokare 12-4 during the regular season of the competition and came back a month later to pip its cross-town rivals by the barest of margins in the final on Sunday.

Rotokare’s win in February gave itself the top seed for the rest of the competition, which started in October.

An intense final was decided on a countback of games after the teams drew.

Pukekura coach Mike Erb explained how close it was

“At the end of the final, matches were 8-all. Then you count sets which came back at 18-sets each. So, then you add up which teams have won the most games.”

Pukekura was eventually crowned with its 18th title since the competition started in the 1928/29 season. It also included winning four titles in the last five years.

Taranaki Tennis committee member Hamish Kerr said if there was a lesson in why a player should fight for every game, then this final was it.

“All the matches were played with intensity and it was unfortunate that a draw could not be declared when so little separated the teams at the conclusion of play.”

Huatoki and Pukekura lifted the trophy together in the 1980/81 season, prompting a rule change.

Erb said it was a great result for the club.

“It recognises the work put in by the players, coaches, committee members and volunteers at the club to create a successful environment.”

He said a highlight this year was seeing the young players performing well. That did include rising player Diego Quispe-Kim, who suddenly left the club with only a week or so out from the semi-finals.

Erb said that meant Jordan Whittleston stepped up into the number one position.

One of the highlights from the day was Pukekura’s Nikayla Barnard’s recovery. She was down a set but regained her composure to claim a 5-7 7-5 6-1 win.

The finals included men’s and women’s singles and doubles along with mixed doubles.

Photo by: LDV Photography