Top four hold firm

The top four teams all held their places and booked spots in next week's semifinals when the 14th and final round of the Craigs Investment Partners Marlborough premier interclub competition was played on Wednesday night.

Competition leaders all season, Marlborough Foxes finished with a five-point buffer at the top after they sneaked past Marlborough Dragons 8-7 on set countback at the Forrest Winery Marlborough Tennis Centre.

The No 1 men had a great battle, with Dragons' Brooke Adams edging Robert Cowlishaw 10-8 in a third set super tiebreak. However, in combination with the set won by Joshua Gwynne in his loss to Yuichi Ando, the set won by Cowlishaw proved the difference for Foxes as both teams won three matches.

Foxes' No 2 Lee Harborne continued his unbeaten singles run to beat Nigel Sowman, while the youngster earlier combined with Cowlishaw to come from a set down and beat Sowman and Ando in the men's doubles.

Foxes' opponents in next Wednesday's semifinals will be Rapaura Drylands Two, following their 5-0 win over Marlborough Rockets on grass at Rapaura.

Brendon Sutherland, Ben Burridge and Eveline Apthorp all won their singles after Sutherland and Burridge won the men's doubles and Apthorp combined with Owen Dodson to win the mixed match 4-6 6-3 (12-10). Dodson and Blair Harvey's match was not finished because of bad light.

It will be a case of deja vu in the other semifinal at Rapaura, with second-placed Rapaura Drylands One set for a rematch with Marlborough Stars thanks to Stars' 4-2 victory at Pollard Park.

Stars No 1 Hamish Morrow scored the win of the tie, beating Anthony Walkenhorst 7-6 6-4 to avenge a loss earlier in the season. Teenager Charlie Mercer, who beat Mark Evans 6-4 6-3, and Lily O'Fagan were the other singles winners for Stars, backing up Morrow and O'Fagan's third set super tiebreak win over Walkenhorst and Sandy Stubbs.

In the other match, Marlborough Bullets enjoyed a 5-1 victory over Marlborough Jigsaw.

Andrew Forgesson, Mitchell Smith and Josh Winter completed a sweep of the men's singles, adding to wins in both doubles matches. Youngster Kate Rawcliffe was the lone winner for Jigsaw.


Wednesday, February 13:

Marlborough Stars 4 beat Rapaura Drylands One 2: Hamish Morrow beat Anthony Walkenhorst 7/6 6/4, Hiro Kishida lost to Darryl Harper 6/0 6/0, Charlie Mercer beat Mark Evans 6/4 6/3, Lily O'Fagan beat Sandy Stubbs 6/0 6/1, Kishida & Mercer lost to Harper & Evans 6/1 6/1, Morrow & O'Fagan beat Walkenhorst & Stubbs 6/1 6/7 (10/6).

Marlborough Foxes 3 (8 sets) beat Marlborough Dragons 3 (7 sets): Robert Cowlishaw lost to Brooke Adams 4/6 6/1 (10/8), Lee Harborne beat Nigel Sowman 6/4 6/1, Joshua Gwynne lost to Yuichi Ando 3/6 6/2 (10/8), Mel Trolove beat Ros Suter by default, Cowlishaw & Harborne beat Sowman & Ando 5/7 6/2 (10/7), Gwynne & Trolove lost to Adams & Suter 6/1 6/3.

Rapaura Drylands Two 5 beat Marlborough Rockets 0: Brendon Sutherland beat Jason Flowerday 6/2 6/3, Owen Dodson v Blair Harvey (no result, bad light), Ben Burridge beat Jean-Luc Hauswirth 6/4 6/1, Eveline Apthorp beat Abbey Hogg 6/2 6/1, Sutherland & Burridge beat Flowerday & Hauswirth 6/3 6/2, Dodson & Apthorp beat Harvey & Hogg 4/6 6/3 (12/10).

Marlborough Jigsaw 1 lost to Marlborough Bullets 5: Nick Winter lost to Andrew Forgesson 6/2 6/2, Clyde Sowman lost to Mitchell Smith 6/1 6/3, Logan Croad lost to Josh Winter 6/4 7/5, Kate Rawcliffe beat Sara Scott 6/3 3/6 (11/9), Winter & Stubbs lost to Forgesson & Smith 6/3 7/5, Croad & Rawcliffe lost to Winter & Scott 6/2 3/6 (10/6).

Final points standings: Marlborough Foxes 79, Rapaura Drylands One 74, Marlborough Stars 67, Rapaura Drylands Two 61, Marlborough Dragons 51, Marlborough Rockets 42, Marlborough Bullets 39, Marlborough Jigsaw 31. 

The Marlborough Express