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Auckland pips North Harbour in Battle of the Bridge

posted Nov 23, 2011, 5:12 PM by Gina Connell   [ updated Nov 28, 2011, 11:50 PM ]

Despite a dramatic comeback by North Harbour in the 2nd half of the contest, Auckland held on to win by the narrowest of margins 25-23 to take the 2011 Battle of the Bridge title.

Both associations fielded strong teams, but at the start of the contest Auckland was short 2 players and the decision to start two fill-ins was perhaps the deciding factor.

This event started back in 2003, with the current CEO's Auckland's Shane Warbrooke and North Harbour's John Stapleton coming up with the idea and format.  4 x 4 player teams from each association play 2 singles and 2 doubles with an overall 48 points in the contest.

View video coverage of this event

Halfway score at 17-10.  Halfway through the contest the overall score was 17-10 to Auckland.  Team 3 for Auckland was ahead by a whopping 7-1 with Oliver Scarlett and Shane Warbrooke proving too strong. Results from the other teams were still close at 3-3, 3-3 and 4-3 respectively.

Team results continue to go Auckland’s way.  The first result of the night was from Team 3.  Auckland 3 won by 11-1 over North Harbour 3, with Long Life Jiang winning the only singles match for North Harbour.

Auckland 3  - Ruskin Dantra, Nathan Phillips, Oliver Scarlett, Shane Warbrooke

North Harbour 3  - Long Life Jiang, Sameer Khedhir, David Baker, Bozidar Zutic

Team 1 finishing with a win to Auckland 1 of 7-5.  An awful start saw North Harbour 1 down 4-0 with Zhiyang Cheng playing a blinder beating both Brad Chen and Mitchell Baker.  North Harbour clawed their way back by winning 3 out of the 4 doubles, but not quite enough to win the contest.

Auckland 1 - Josh Alexandre, Roger Rao, Zhiyang Cheng, Jie Feng

North Harbour 1 - Brad Chen, Mitchell Barker, Hanson Ling, Bryn Lindsay

At this stage it was 18-6 to Auckland, with two team results still to come in. Was North Harbour worried?  David Baker North Harbour co-ordinator still felt that they could stage a comeback 

The comeback.  Team 4 finished next with their result proving too strong for Auckland winning 8-4.  North Harbour 4 won 3 out of 4 doubles with Dave Scott winning both his singles.  For Auckland Charlie Chang enjoyed a win over Ben Jung and Kate Wang beat Hone Te Pania.

Auckland 4 - Charlie Chang, Tony Chang, Kate Wang, Bob Inns

North Harbour 4 - Ben Jung, Jack Lin, Dave Scott, Hone Te Pania

Overall result at this stage:  22-14 to Auckland.  North Harbour now needed an astounding effort of 10-2  to draw or 11-1 or 12-0 to take the win.  A tough ask.

Final result to come in was from Team 2. North Harbour 2 was down 3-1 in the first singles stage, but then won every singles and doubles match to finish with a 9-3, one point short for a draw.

Auckland 2 - William Chan, Phillip Sha, Dinyar Irani, Ivan Tam

North Harbour 2 - Simeon Cairns, Andrew Morris, Kevin Fogarty, Ray Dulangon


2011 Battle of the Bridge

Auckland won the 2011 title by 25-23, with team results of  11-1, 7-5, 4-8, 3-9.  Food and drink after the contest provided the players a chance to mingle and discuss their matches.  The contest concluded with the presentation of the cup by North Harbour's David Baker to Auckland's Shane Warbrooke, with next year's event to be hosted by Auckland.

Speaking with Shane Warbrooke after the contest he said that they really enjoyed the matches but felt that he would suffer the next day having not played for a long time.  David Baker said both associations and players enjoy this event, but to watch out for North Harbour next year.

View the photo gallery

Battle of the Bridge Cup History : North Harbour leading Auckland by 4-3

2003       North Harbour

2004       North Harbour

2005       Draw

2006       Draw

2007       North Harbour

2008       Auckland

2009       North Harbour

2010       Auckland

2011       Auckland