• Mixed day for Shand as Eastern retain cup

Mixed day for Shand as Eastern retain cup

Greendale's Andy Shand had never had the opportunity to play for the Christie Cup, the symbol of Central Districts tennis supremacy, before today.

In fact it was only because of the Covid-19 pandemic that Shand was unable to return to the United States in September and thus be available for Tennis Eastern's defence against Manawatu at his home club which the hosts won 19-5.

Playing in the men's No 6 singles spot for Eastern, Shand, 21, made it a cup debut to remember with a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of the older and more experienced Damien Silk.

"I was lucky Damien was still a bit tight after the trip over and hadn't had time to loosen up," the diplomatic Shand said downplaying the significance of his contribution.

However later in the tie Shand experienced the disappointment of having to default the top mixed doubles match because of an arm injury. Shand and the Bay's top woman, Havelock North's Olivia Addis, lost the first set 5-3 before his body gave up at the start of the second set.

"I didn't want to give up the match because it was a good intense battle," Shand said.

However it didn't matter as Tennis Eastern had retained the cup before the final nine matches were played.

Had it not been for Covid-19 Shand would have completed his third year at West Virginia's Davis & Elkins College next month. The college plays in the NCAA division two tennis competition and on the study front Shand is doing a double major in Sports Management and Accounting with a minor in business.

"Everything going to plan I will return to the States on December 13 and after a period of self quarantine I will return to campus in mid January with the aim of finishing my last 18 months there," Shand explained.

While quick to acknowledge Manawatu were missing several key players Tennis Eastern development officer Sean Davies was thrilled with the convincing nature of the victory.

"The highlight for me was our women winning all three of their doubles matches and four of their six singles. Two years ago our women couldn't win one singles or one doubles match against Manawatu," Davies explained.

"The fact all of our women are playing in a mixed interclub grade is paying off big time," Davies said.

He is rapt the Auckland-based nationally ranked pair of Dan Rowe and Finn Reynolds continue to want to travel back to the Bay to represent their home province.

Tennis Eastern, who have held the cup for the last two summers, will defend it against Taranaki in New Plymouth on January 23.