St Peters claimed a thrilling 5-4 indoor victory over Thames in the only completed tie of the rain-affected ninth round of Waikato-Thames Valley premier interclub tennis on Saturday.
This was an important tie for both teams, with Thames wanting to retain their second placing so they reach the grand final and St Peters keen to edge Cambridge out of fourth place for a place in the playoffs in two weeks.
St Peters brought in a new player, Sam Howard, in the No 1 singles slot on Saturday. Originally a representative player from Manawatu and now residing in Hamilton, Howard was ranked the highest when St Peters' top two players were unavailable.
Howard has a big serve and hard-hitting game that suits the indoors but Thames No 1 Jake McCartney stayed steady under pressure and won through 6-2 6-2.
Match of the day was the second singles with unbeaten singles player this season, Luke Hamilton (St Peters) up against Thames' Matt Sheedy.
Hamilton started the match in great form, showing all his skills with angles and length to take the first set 6-4 but Sheedy, well-known for being a stayer, took out the second 7-5.
The third set was a thriller with Hamilton taking the lead to 4-2 but Sheedy stepped up his game, out-thinking Hamilton to be in the lead 5-4 and serving.
Hamilton then raised the bar, broke Sheedy's serve and won the next two games with accuracy and power to take the match 6-4 5-7 7-5.
With both St Peters' No 3 and No 4 players also winning their matches, Thames were down 3-1 after the men's singles but gained one point from the women's doubles.
The women put on a great display this week with some hard hitting ground strokes from the two youngsters in the top positions, Sarah Knighton and Janvhi Clark.
Knighton came out the winner in this close match 7-6 6-3 to give St Peters a vital point. Madison Wrathall, at No 2 for St Peters, had a slow start against the experienced Charmaine McGuire but in the middle of the second set at 4-6 3-4 down gained her rhythm and timing, levelled the set score to 4-4 and took the second set 6-4.
McGuire was never going to let the third set be easy for Wrathall and with all the matches tied at 4-4, with both men's doubles going to third set tie-breakers that went Thames' way, this was the decider.
This singles match was so tight, it could have gone either way but it was sealed in the end by St Peters' Wrathall 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to give them the tie 5-4.
- Waikato Times
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