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Waikato have won the Wisden Cup inter-provincial badminton competition for the second year in a row going through the round robin competition undefeated, winning the final contest of the competition against Auckland in a closely fought tie 9-7 played at North Harbour.
It’s just the second time Waikato have won the title since its inception in 1934, however the team showed plenty of depth and was always going to be one of the favoured teams.
The Hamilton based side was formed around three members of the same family, the Leydon’-Davis’s; Oliver the New Zealand representative player and his sisters Felicity and Susannah. Oliver won his singles against Brent Miller in three games in the final round robin match, but dropped his doubles when he combined with TJ Weistra to lose against fellow Kiwi internationals Kevin Dennerly-Minturn and Henry Tam in three games. However in the mixed he combined with youngest sister Susannah to win over Zhang Bo Yuan and Donna Haliday in straight games.
One of the key players for Waikato was Melbourne Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist, Tracey Hallam who lost only one match throughout the tournament and that was on the final day when she teamed with Weistra but the pair were beaten by Tam and Kylie Luo in a tough three-game battle.
Also helping Waikato in their cause was German player Tim Dettman as well as James Paterson, Michael Fowke, Madeleine Fowke and Doriana Rivera. Auckland were kept in the finals contest with three out of four wins in women’s singles as Lilian Shih, Victoria Cheng and Luo all put points on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t enough to stop Waikato winning the title and Auckland finishing second overall.
Southland were third after a 12-4 win over Canterbury who will be relegated to Slazenger Cup for 2012 while Waitakere came fourth after scoring a 10-6 victory against the home side, North Harbour who were fifth.
Wellington North won the Slazenger Cup and promotion to Division 1 - Wisden Cup after finishing their round robin competition undefeated.
Auckland(2) finished second in the Slazenger Cup and North Harbour(2) third followed by BOP, Waikato(2) and Otago.
Final day scores:
Wisden Cup: Waikato 9 Auckland 7, Waitakere 10 North Harbour 6, Southland 12 Canterbury 4,
Slazenger Cup: Wellington North 10 BOP 6, Auckland(2) 8(19 games) North Harbour(2) 8(17 games), Waikato(2) 11 Otago 5.