Thames and Hamilton were confirmed in the top two positions at the completion of the round-robin of the Waikato-Thames Valley premier interclub tennis competition on Saturday.
The clubs finished on 60 and 55 points respectively after round 10, though Fairview Motors Hamilton still have a tie in hand due to a rained-off match to complete.
Cambridge played Thames at the weekend and needed a win to secure a spot in the third and fourth playoff, but despite the Cambridge women taking all their three matches the men could only pull off one win when their No 3 singles player Mark Hammond took the first set in a tight match, 7-6, against Josh Cave and then the youngster from Thames retired.
Cambridge No 1 Robbie Wilkinson pushed Jake McCartney to three sets but was unable to pull off the match, losing 5-7 6-1 6-3, giving Thames a 5-4 win and seven competition points.
St Peter's faced up to last year's winners, Lugton Park, under lights at the St Peter's club, and the tie could have gone either way.
The doubles were played first and the St Peter's men comfortably won that, but the two young St Peter's women - Madison Wrathall and Camillia Lolohea - had no answers against their more experienced opponents Te Mana Rollo and Tia van Selm respectively. Wrathall fought hard in the top women's singles but was denied a win, going down 4-6 6-3 3-6, while van Selm had an easier time beating Lolohea 6-2 6-2. This put St Peter's down 3-2 with the men's singles to complete.
Lugton Park had no luck with the middle of the lineup with Luke Hamilton and Jack Guilford coming out with wins, but Lugton Park's captain and fourth player Adam Whauwhau pulled off his singles against Liam Whittaker 6-2 6-4.
In the men's top singles, newcomer Sam Howard from St Peter's seemed to be cruising, winning the first set 6-2, but Lenny Thomas lifted his game and took the second 6-3.
Howard made too many unforced errors in the second set but managed to get his game back on track and take the third 6-3 to give St Peter's the win 5-4.
Hamilton and Thames will play off in the grand final, while the other three placings are not so clear until Hamilton and Lugton Park complete their rained-off tie.
AT A GLANCE
Standings: Thames 60, Hamilton 55 (with a game in hand), St Peter's 48, Cambridge 45, Lugton Park 43 (with a game in hand).
- © Fairfax NZ News
Can the Chiefs make it three in a row in 2014?Related story: (See story)