Josh Cochrane and Mackenzie Phillips have been crowned North Otago tennis champions.
North Otago’s best players competed for the tennis association’s top honours at the weekend, taking part in the annual closed tournament.
Phillips won the women’s singles title in a round robin, beating sister, Jordyn Phillips 6-3, 6-4, Nicky Fisher 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 and Liz Whyte 6-2, 6-0.
Fourteen players contested the men’s singles title.
Second seed Cochrane, a former division one player for Southland, met top seed Robin Jamieson in the final, which he won 7-5, 6-4. He then teamed up with Josh Dalziel to take the men’s doubles title, beating Glen Claridge and Jamieson in the final 6-1, 6-3.
Fisher and Jordyn Phillips were crowned women’s doubles champions, beating Mackenzie Phillips and Rebecca Ryan 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
It was a repeat of last year’s mixed doubles final – Fisher and Claridge taking on Thomas Pickles and Mackenzie Phillips – but the result was reversed. Pickles and Phillips claimed the title for the first time, beating defending champions Fisher and Claridge 9-5.
The tournament, which also included a junior competition, wrapped up a good season for North Otago Tennis, president Josh Dalziel said.
In recent years, junior player numbers had dropped and North Otago Tennis had recognised a need for change to attract more juniors to the game.
Jamieson had started a new junior programme this season – and about 20 junior players entered in the closed tournament last weekend.
“We had kids from Twizel and Omarama come down – it was really pleasing to see the work that Robin, in particular, has been putting in to the juniors has started to pay dividends, particularly in the 10 and 12 age-groups,” Dalziel said.
“If we can push these kids through and keep them playing, it’s going to look pretty promising.
“A lot of us seniors are going to start dropping off in the next 10 years or so, so we need the young ones coming through to take our spots.”
The closed tournament was also a good opportunity for the juniors to see North Otago’s best senior players in action.
“It’s pretty cool for a lot of those young kids to see what they could potentially look like in a few years – I guess it gives them something to strive for.”
The senior competition had been particularly strong this season. North Otago’s representative teams had been the most competitive they had ever been in the Southern teams events, and a North Otago team had also competed well in division one of the Otago Senior Interclub competition, played in both Oamaru and Dunedin.
“The culture’s definitely there; we’ve got the building blocks for the juniors so I’m bloody happy with where things are at,” Dalziel said.