On the 28th May, a team from Whangaparaoa Tennis Club travelled north to play a friendly match against the Ngunguru Tennis Club

This year a strong team of Whangaparaoa Tennis Club players headed up to the winterless North, with the runners-up “surfing gnome” trophy in hand, determined to leave the “surfing gnome” in Ngunguru and return to Whangaparaoa with the coveted Champions Trophy (aka “The Red Lollipop”, crafted by local artisan Paul Spence)

The team was comprised of

Mark Battershill, Paul Varley, Roscoe Yeager, Simon Yock, Steven Lay, Dave Bennett, Rob Hofma (the Hoff), Rob Gill, Debbie Martin, Hilary Gibson, Veronica Cox, Francee Thornton, Brenda Yeager, Jacqui Ironside, Jenny Gill & Kim Bennett, with a few trusty supporters.

Half the team travelled to Ngunguru on the Friday evening and enjoyed a meal and some banter with the opposition at the Ngunguru Sports & Recreation Society Clubrooms. A little bit of port was imbibed back at the motel, just to make sure everyone slept well and was well rested for the following morning.

The remaining half of the team, travelled to Ngunguru on Saturday morning, via a breakfast stop in Warkworth. The “Single Girls” (Veronica, Hilary & Francee) travelled up North in the newly designated “Auckland to Ngunguru” expedition vehicle, and from reports received, talked tennis tactics for the entire journey! (N.B. these reports may be inaccurate)

The team then headed off to the Ngunguru tennis courts for the challenge to commence.

Both trophies were on display and those Whangaparaoa members who had not seen the Champions Trophy before, were in two minds whether they actually wanted to play for it!

Ngunguru welcomed us to their club and the team pairings & rules were finalised (Matches played first to 9 games with super tie-break at 8 all)

A few of the Whangaparaoa team members were visibly nervous and reported later that they were very edgy at the beginning of the match. We won’t identify who these team members were (Varley & Yeager), although they both went on to have great wins in their opening men’s doubles.

Ngunguru had also brought a very strong team and local conditions for the matches were clearly in Ngunguru’s favour. The home courts certainly took some time to get used to, as the ball skidded through, inconsistently. Coupled with strong winds and the low sun in the afternoon, conditions were quite tricky.

Some notable wins were recorded in the first round with Mark & Paul surviving 3 match points at 5-8 down to come back and win in a super tie break and Debbie & Hilary, also coming from behind to take their match in a super tie break.

Whangaparaoa took the lead 3-1 after the first 4 matches, but couldn’t quite keep the pace going and the overall matches remained close throughout the afternoon. Rob & Jenny Gill won a tight match for Whangaparaoa to claim the lead at 8-7. Then it all came down to the last match as Mark & Hilary played for the win. A large crowd gathered to watch and some experienced tennis experts did comment on why Hilary got to serve into the wind and low sun. The match went to a super tie break at 8-8, but unfortunately we went down narrowly.

At the completion of the matches it was declared that the matches were all tied at 8-8. Club Captain, Dave Bennett and his counterpart at Ngunguru then retreated for a relaxed discussion, regarding the countback. It was then declared that the winner of the Whangaparaoa vs Ngunguru challenge would be announced at the after match function.

Well done to Paul Varley, Simon Yock, Rob Gill & Debbie Martin, who won both their matches on the day.

The team returned to the motel and relaxed with a few drinks.

We then joined the Ngunguru Tennis Club for their annual prizegiving, at the bowling club adjacent to the tennis courts. Roscoe, in anticipation of a victory, dressed in his best suit and tie.

After a fantastic meal it was time to find out the result of the day’s tennis and Whangaparaoa were declared the winners and presented with the “Red Lollipop”.

Roscoe had prepared a lengthy, yet magnanimous, victory speech, full of modesty & humility. However none of us ever got to hear it as Roscoe mysteriously went missing at the time of the presentation. All the single girls were present and accounted for, so we all put it down to absent mindedness. Dave Bennett accepted the trophy and graciously thanked our hosts. (N.B. Roscoe was later found alive and well, watching the Crusaders vs Blues at the Ngunguru Club and did make it back to the bowling club to appear in the celebration photos)

Thank you to the Ngunguru Tennis Club for hosting the event and for their fantastic hospitality on Saturday night. We look forward to returning your hospitality in 2017.

Thank you to Roscoe Yeager for organising the challenge. Huge thanks to Dave Bennett, for selecting the teams, arranging the accommodation and ensuring that we all had a great weekend. Thanks also to Trish Eygermans for taking photos throughout the weekend.

More photos of the weekend can be viewed at the link below. Please note that the page will take a little while to open as there are quite a few photos to load.