Friends play off for girls' title

Christchurch's Lily Bray and Queenstown's Manawa Rakete-Shea were crowned girls' and boys' champions when the South Island Primary Schools Champs wrapped up at the Forrest Winery Marlborough Tennis Centre yesterday.

Seeded second in the girls' competition, 12-year-old Cobham Intermediate student Bray lifted the title by knocking over top seed Holly Matson 6-4 6-0 in a quality final.

Matson, of Heaton Intermediate in Christchurch, and Bray are not only good friends but also play for the same club in Christchurch - Waimairi.

Bray lost just six games on her way to the final and beat fellow Cantabrian Tharubphet Homkrun 6-2 6-2 in the semifinals. The path to the final for Matson was similarly comfortable and she overcame Winton's Emilia Price 6-1 6-4 in the other semifinal.

In the boys' final, third seed Rakete-Shea proved too powerful as he downed unseeded St Andrew's College student Edward Batt 6-1 6-2.

Queenstown Primary's Rakete-Shea won his first two matches easily on Monday and went through to the final when top seed Sasha Glotov, of Christchurch, was forced to retire with injury after Rakete-Shea had taken the first set of their semifinal 6-1.

Batt produced a superb effort to reach the title decider and upset second seed Dylan Heap, of Christchurch, 6-4 7-6 in a highly entertaining semifinal.

However, the extra effort by Batt to make the final meant Rakete-Shea was much fresher and able to claim honours with a 6-1 6-2 victory.

Meanwhile, St Mary's student Abbey Hogg was the best-placed finisher of the four Marlborough players in action, taking away fifth overall in the girls' competition.

After a win and a loss on Monday, not two wins as reported yesterday, Marlborough champion Hogg lost only four games on her way to two triumphs yesterday. Runner-up in the Marlborough champs, Renwick School's 9-year-old Jade Otway finished eighth overall. Otway also had a win and a loss on Monday and, despite losing both her matches yesterday, she performed well and still has three more years left in this competition.

Marlborough's two players in the boys' competition played each other in their final match yesterday, with Renwick's Jean-Luc Hauswirth beating Bohally Intermediate's Joshua Gwynne 6-1 6-0 in the playoff for 11th place.

Both had a loss and a win on Monday, but missed out on a top-10 spot when they lost their first-up matches yesterday.

Hauswirth downed Gwynne 9-7 in the final of the Marlborough champs.

The Marlborough Express