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AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Australia has won gold at the Oceania Mixed Team Championships after a 3-2 victory over New Zealand at the X-TRM North Harbour Centre in Auckland today.
In an epic Mixed Doubles opener, New Zealand siblings Oliver and Susannah Leydon-Davis gave the Kiwis a great start when they knocked over Robin Middleton and Leanne Choo in the first game 21-19 only for the Australians to bounce back in the second 20-12.
The Leydon-Davis partnership began the third game brightly but dropped a crucial point with the game poised 17-15 in Australia's favour that allowed Middleton and Choo to win 21-15.
Asher Richardson restored parity for New Zealand with a comfortable 21-10, 21-16 win over Michael Fariman in the Men's Singles.
New Zealand edged in front when Leydon-Davis and Kevin James Dennerly-Minturn brushed past Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe 21-19, 21-18 in an impressive display in the Men's Doubles.
It was Australia's turn to clamber back into the tie when Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen defeated Vicki Copeland 21-16, 21-19 in the Women's Singles.
With the match poised on a knife-edge, Choo and Gronya Somerville delivered a disciplined and efficient performance in beating Michelle Chan Ky and Danielle Tahuri 21-10, 21-16, to confirm Australia's fourth consecutive gold medal in this event.
Leanne Choo was pleased with the victory but said it was far from straightforward for her or her team-mates.
"Going into the matches I think everyone was pretty confident but Rob and I had a shaky start in the Mixed Doubles. After that it was such a scrap with New Zealand but the Aussies fought really well and we came out on top," she said.
Choo also had special mention for Guam, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Tonga.
"Its really good everyone from Oceania play and I've never seen so many countries compete at this level and to see the improvement of the island nations is great. Tahiti and New Caledonia fought hard for third and fourth and that's positive," she added.
New Zealand coach Peter Jensen said there were far more positives than negatives despite coming up just short.
"I don't see many low points. I think looking back when it was 15-17 in the third game in the Mixed Doubles that was a crucial point in the tie.
"Unfortunately, we took it on the backline a couple of times when it was out and the last one on that rally hit Oliver's racquet and if the score is 16-17 its much different than if its 15-18. It’s always small margins in matches that matter in the end.
"Other than that we had good pick up in the Men's Singles, Men's Doubles, which was a good performance on a tactical level. I can't blame Vicki for giving all she had in the Women's Singles.
"The final match in Women's Doubles we figured out a little too late how we wanted to play them and we fell far behind. But its hard to point the finger at any one and we have to say congratulations to Australia," he said.
Jensen reserved particular mention of Oliver Leydon-Davis and Kevin James Dennerly-Minturn who played a superb Men's Doubles match.
"These guys have been working together for many many years and you can tell they've been in this situation before.
"They know where they're moving and covering and when we look at Australia especially in the Doubles it’s a good measure for us. We have qualification for future events to think about now and can take some positives forward with us," he said.
The Oceania Men's and Women's Team Championships starts tomorrow and finishes Saturday 20 February at the same venue.
Oceania Mixed Team Championship Stage 2
Results and Standings available here
Oceania Men’s and Women’s Team Championships
19-20 February, 2016
Auckland, New Zealand
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