New line-ups as table tennis resumes
If first round results are any indication, the Marlborough table tennis selectors seem to have got their balance about right.
They have drafted the province's top players into 10 seeded teams, who will do battle for the Tarrant Cup.
On Thursday they squared off for the first time at Simcox Stadium, with five close encounters and the fact 29 of the 30 players involved won either a singles or a doubles match, suggesting the selectors' mix of talent is fair and likely to produce a closely-run race.
Marion's Muppets beat Triple Trouble 459 points to 430 after matches and games were drawn 6-6, 24-24. Ken Thompsett won two singles and came close to a third, losing out to Ping Muanwong 11-9,11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 17-15 in a hard-hitting clash. Peter Welsh also had a good night, hitting crisp forehands in his two singles wins. Marion Wood beat Neil Butts in five sets and paired with Thompsett for a win in the doubles. Muanwong was undefeated for Triple Trouble while tenacious left hander Martin Stephens picked up a singles win and two doubles wins.
Cowdrey's Haszards just got home, 21 games to 19, over Nathan's team after matches were also drawn 6-6. Zac Cowdrey and Warren Haszard contributed two wins each. Barbara Burkhart won a single and a double and gained a set from Josh Sim while Nathan Watson won his three singles comfortably and combined with fill-in player Diane MacKinnon for a doubles win. Watson and Sim beat Cowdrey and Haszard in five sets in the last match of the night.
Simon Bishell shone as his team beat Jacqui's team 7-5. Bishell was undefeated in singles and had a good match with Chris Hood, who was filling in for Jacqui Wood. Bishell won 7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 9-11,11-6 mixing solid defence with some forehand hits cross-court. Kylie Hurren gained two wins with her trademark backhand drive going particularly well. Peter Wells beat Dennis Burkhart 13-11, 11-4, 15-17, 5-11, 11-5 in a tactical match. Wells was just pipped in the fifth set by Hood in a match that could have gone either way. It was last century when these two players last played each other. For Jacqui's team, Burkhart won both his doubles matches while John Diamanti also got on the board.
Jeff Sawyer provided vital wins at No 2 as Matt's team beat Assassins 8-4. Sawyer came from two sets to one down against both Ross Ward and Jason Kennedy to be undefeated on the night. Matt Willis won his three matches comfortably and combined with Bjorn Cowdrey for a doubles win. Cowdrey beat Ward 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7 with some strong forehand play. Kennedy and David Foley beat Willis and Sawyer in five sets in the last contest of the night.
Fonz Boys beat Alex's team 8-4. Matt Pigou and Billy Hebberd won two each while Darryl Jones won a single and two doubles. Alex Kennedy won his three singles and had a tight match with Pigou. Kennedy showed his ability to switch between forehand and backhand shots when Pigou was hitting some fast drives. Steve Rowsell won a single for Alex's team.
Meanwhile, Warren Haszard competed in the Otago Open last weekend in Dunedin, an event which attracted some of the country's top players. Haszard won the second grade plate and was runner-up in the over-30 singles.
The Marlborough team to play for the Couper Shield in Nelson on 29 July is: Simon Bishell, Zac Cowdrey, Warren Haszard, Jeff Sawyer, David Foley, Peter Welsh, Steve Rowsell, Martin Stephens, Josh Sim. Reserve Jeremy Phipps.