Key players missing for top-of-the-table clash

TENNIS
Last updated 05:00 16/02/2013

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A top-of-the-table clash between Pukekura and Manaia in the penultimate Soffe Cup tennis qualifying round is sure to attract plenty of interest today.

Icons Sport Tariki Pukekura host defending champions Sandfords Manaia in New Plymouth, with the visiting side missing a number of their key players.

Nicole Koch can expect a tough match with Pukekura No 1 Louise Waite in the battle of the top women, while Trudy Vince will need to be at her retrieving best to outpoint Pukekura No 2 Kirsten Adam.

Soffe debutantes Georgia Bartosh and Dayna Corbett, at three and four respectively, face an uphill battle against Pukekura stalwarts Linda Reid and Donna Thorne.

Manaia's No 1, Jordan Fleming, should get past Callum Old, but running mate Cameron Koch is unavailable, with Michael Gates down to take on the steadfast Mike Fleming.

At three and four, Manaia's youngsters Beauden Fleming and Josh Murdoch face a tough match against Chris Jury and Jamie Simpson with Pukekura starting favourites.

The doubles and combines should be dominated by Pukekura.

Central Finance Rotokare host Hareb Deken Oakura.

Oakura will be looking to take advantage over a depleted Rotokare team in the race for the fourth semifinal spot .

Oakura's No 1 Graeme Mitchell should prove too good for Malcolm Elder. Rotokare's young Cole Hareb steps up at No 2 but is expected to find Oakura's Len Adamson a tough opponent.

Buzz Campbell at No 3 should have a good battle with Oakura's Charlie Lewis, while Cory Sutherland's young legs may just pull him through against Rotokare's Laurie Jordan.

Rotokare's women's lineup is headed by Francis Gray, who will face Sue Oldfield, while Beccie Atkins will be confident of beating the well-performed Jackie Keenan.

Michelle Atkins and Helena Goodin are at three and four for Rotokare and should push against Chris Davies and Rebecca Scott hard. Oakura could have a slightly edge in the doubles and combine.

In the other match of the round, Farmland's Okaiawa travel north to take on AWE Huatoki in New Plymouth.

Huatoki has a full strength men's squad to pick from. Amrit Rai or Ajeet Rai will be at No 1 to take on Okaiawa's Andrew Powell.

Andrew Sangster at No 2 , could find Okaiawa's Mark Laurence tough, but is still expected to prevail, while Chris Popata playing at three should stretch Okaiawa's Vincent Baylis.

In the top women's match, Alice Caskey will take on Okaiawa's Amelia Weir.

The balance of the women's matches should go Huatoki's way.

Huatoki are favoured to dominate the doubles.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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