Am­a­teurs toast golden bot­tle of bub­bly

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SAMHEWAT

While in­ter­na­tional ten­nis stars con­tin­ued to chase the ASB Clas­sic’s $227,000 prize, two Auck­land am­a­teurs were play­ing for cham­pagne.

Not a cheap drop mind you, with a $20,000 bot­tle of gold leaf Moet & Chan­don on the line.

West End Ten­nis Club mem­ber Mark Os­bourne was picked to hit it out against Ge­off Hosking of the Glad­stone Ten­nis Club last Tues­day af­ter­noon as part of the ASB Clas­sic at the ten­nis cen­tre.

Up for grabs was the pricey bot­tle of cham­pagne for the win­ner’s club to use.

Moet & Chan­don, who are a ma­jor spon­sor of New Zealand’s premier ten­nis tour­na­ment, in­vited US pro­fes­sional and world num­ber 23 Jack Sock to um­pire the event.

Sock ended up win­ning this year’s ASB Clas­sic with a win over Por­tu­gal’s Joao Sousa in the fi­nal on Satur­day.

‘‘I was all ner­vous with all the peo­ple there watch­ing,’’ Os­bourne said.

‘‘It was quite a com­pet­i­tive game.’’

He said it was quite the ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing um­pired by the tour­na­ment’s even­tual champ.

‘‘For Jack to give up his time like that, and um­pire a cou­ple of club play­ers is a pretty big deal for us.’’

And while Os­bourne tasted vic­tory on the court, he wasn’t go­ing to be the one to en­joy the Moet & Chan­don bot­tle, with the cham­pagne sched­uled to be put up for auc­tion.

‘‘I’m not a big cham­pagne drinker any­way, so it’s prob­a­bly wasted on me,’’ Os­bourne said.

Caro­line Har­row, West End’s club trea­surer, said pro­ceeds from the auc­tion would go to­wards ongoing re­fur­bish­ments at the club.

‘‘It’s not just about ten­nis,’’ Har­row said.

‘‘It’s about serv­ing the com­mu­nity and hav­ing a place that other peo­ple can use and en­joy.

‘‘Since we fin­ished stage one, there’s been an enor­mous amount of in­quiry for hireage.’’

Moet & Chan­don se­nior brand man­ager Ali Camp­bell said the ini­tia­tive was an op­por­tu­nity to grow the game lo­cally.

‘‘Were ex­cited to have the op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing spe­cial for the lo­cal ten­nis com­mu­nity by not only help­ing to raise funds for an Auck­land ten­nis or­gan­i­sa­tion, but to also help raise the pro­file of the sport and cel­e­brate suc­cess on a more lo­cal level,’’ Camp­bell said.

SUPPLIED

Mark Os­bourne, right, pre­sented with a $20,000 bot­tle of cham­pagne by Amer­i­can ten­nis pro­fes­sional Jack Sock.

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