This ANZAC Weekend our Otago Senior Team got second in the South Island Senior Teams Event in Christchurch.
A big well done to the team of Ryan Eggers, Mitchell Sizemore, Heike Cebulla Elder, Carlos Reid (back row), Ilana Goossens, Rileigh Fields, Aaron Hicks and Paddy Ou (front row), Coached by Dennis Radford and Managed by Phil Mirfin.
See Dennis’s wrap up below:
Otago beat Canterbury Country and Tasman but was ousted by Canterbury (Town) in the final round of the South Island team event in Christchurch on the weekend.
A strong performance by the men, who won six of their seven rubbers, enabled Otago to beat Country 7-5. The depleted Otago women’s squad lost all three singles and the doubles in short straight sets results, but Otago, by playing No1 man Aaron Hicks and No1 woman Rileigh Fields in the mixed doubles, was able to edge to a 7-6, 6-4 win in that rubber.
A similar pattern emerged in the 8-4 win over Tasman but Fields contributed with a battling 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory against the higher-ranked Suzanne Spencer. Fields fell behind 5-0, but fought long and hard and found her mark more on the big points in the deciding set.
The men all won in straight sets and the lower-order women also lost in that fashion but, with five men’s singles and two doubles, Otago had enough points from their males.
The Town men were too strong in the top order with James Meredith and Hayden Joblin, both back from American college scholarships, breezing to easy wins over Hicks and Mitchell Sizemore, but Paddy Ou, unbeaten all weekend, and Carlos Reid at No3 and No5 had wins.
Ou was particularly impressive in dispatching the much more powerful Jack Tiller 6-1, 6-1. Reid had to fight back from 3-0 down in the third set but but played with more aggression to close out the last six games in a row against impressive 16-year-old Gordon Chen.
Ou and Ryan Eggers won a closely-fought doubles match against Joblin and Philip Hoeper 6-4, 7-5 but the only other win came from an injury default.
In the absence of several regular leading women who are overseas, some with netball commitments, the introduction of Ilana Goossens (15) at this level is seen as an investment which could pay dividends in coming years and the men’s team, whose members are all under 23, can be expected to improve with more competition at this level.