The close nature of the Craigs Investment Partners Marlborough premier interclub tennis competition was again displayed on Wednesday night when two of the four round 10 ties had to be decided on set countback.
Competition frontrunners Marlborough Foxes had their lead whittled down to just three points as they had to fight hard before edging seventh-placed side Marlborough Bullets 7-6 on sets at the Forrest Winery Marlborough Tennis Centre.
Neil Sonne and Lee Harborne continued their unbeaten run in the men's doubles for Foxes, but Andrew Forgesson and Elaine Fluit were able to level things up for Bullets in the mixed match.
Playing his last premier match before moving back to Canterbury, Sonne joined Nick McLauchlan in winning his singles to take Foxes to three points. Bullets No 1 Forgesson bagged an impressive straight sets win over Harborne and Fluit levelled the tie by beating Mel Trolove.
However, Trolove was able to take the second set in that match and that was enough to give Foxes the overall win.
The match between Marlborough Stars and Rapaura Drylands Two also went down to set countback, third-placed Stars able to retain a comfortable lead over fourth-placed Drylands Two by winning seven sets to six.
The set won by Hamish Morrow and Charlie Mercer in their 4-6 6-4 10-8 loss to Brendon Sutherland and Yuichi Ando in the men's doubles match was enough to just get Stars across the line.
Also at Pollard Park, Marlborough Rockets leapt from eighth to sixth with a 4-2 win over Marlborough Dragons. Blair Harvey and Ellis Diamanti were the standouts for Rockets, combining to convincingly win the men's doubles before both winning their singles. Harvey outlasted Peter Rogge 7-5 4-6 10-5 in a torrid battle of the respective No 1's.
In the fourth and final match of the round, Rapaura Drylands One were far too strong as they whitewashed Marlborough Jigsaw 6-0 on grass at Rapaura. The result saw second-placed Drylands One move within reach of the competition lead with four rounds to play until the semifinals. Wednesday was the last round before the Christmas-New Year break. Play will resume on January 16.
Round 10 results
Marlborough Foxes 3 (7 sets) beat Marlborough Bullets 3 (6 sets): Lee Harborne lost to Andrew Forgesson 6/1 6/4, Neil Sonne beat Mitchell Smith 6/2 6/1, Nick McLauchlan beat Josh Winter 6/3 6/4, Mel Trolove lost to Elaine Fluit 6/4 3/6 10/8, Sonne & Harborne beat Winter & Smith 6/2 6/2, McLauchlan & Trolove lost to Forgesson & Fluit 6/4 7/5.
Rapaura Drylands One 6 beat Marlborough Jigsaw 0: Anthony Walkenhorst beat Peter Stubbs 6/0 6/1, Darryl Harper beat Logan Croad 6/2 6/0, Mark Evans beat Joshua Gwynne 6/2 6/0, Sandy Stubbs beat Kate Rawcliffe 6/2 6/2, Evans & Harper beat Croad & Gwynne 6/0 6/1, Walkenhorst & Sandy Stubbs beat Peter Stubbs & Rawcliffe 6/1 6/1.
Marlborough Stars 3 (7 sets) beat Rapaura Drylands Two 3 (6 sets): Hamish Morrow beat Brendon Sutherland by default, Charlie Mercer lost to Yuichi Ando 6/1 6/2, Hiro Kishida lost to Ben Burridge 6/2 6/4, Lily O'Fagan beat Rebecca Boon 6/0 6/1, Morrow & Mercer lost to Sutherland & Ando 4/6 6/4 (10/8), Kishida & O'Fagan beat Burridge & Boon 6/0 6/4.
Marlborough Dragons 2 lost to Marlborough Rockets 4: Peter Rogge lost to Blair Harvey 7/5 4/6 (10/5), Simon Clark lost to Jason Flowerday 6/0 6/2, Fred Escalle lost to Ellis Diamanti 6/2 6/2, Donna Clark beat Abbey Hogg 3/0 (ret), Clark & Escalle lost to Harvey & Diamanti 6/2 6/2, Rogge & Clark beat Flowerday & Hogg 6/1 6/3.
Points standings: Marlborough Foxes 60, Rapaura Drylands One 57, Marlborough Stars 49, Rapaura Drylands Two 38, Marlborough Rockets 29, Marlborough Bullets 28, Marlborough Jigsaw 25.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?