Peter Jones

Peter Jones

Rangers go clear at top of league

Rangers AFC underlined their Marlborough division one football championship potential with an 11-0 drubbing of Central Wolves at A and P Park on Saturday.

In their defense, Wolves were missing a host of players, but Rangers were clinical after taking some time to assert their supremacy.

Three first half goals to the prolific Adam Rose, one from the penalty spot, saw Rangers lead 3-0 at the halfway mark.

Again, Wolves came out and defended well for 15 minutes but after that the floodgates opened, especially when Wolves were reduced to 10 men after Harrison Boyce was sent after collecting two yellow cards. Rose notched his fourth, Julian Delgado scored a hat-trick, Sam Patterson struck twice, Connor Endersby and Oliver Saunders adding the others as Wolves were repeatedly exposed at the back.

Defender Liam Sluiter was in outstanding form for Rangers, along with Saunders, Endersby, Harry Morel and Patterson.

Ben Blackman, Scott Wilkinson, Nick Allen and stand-in keeper Terry Sloan worked hard for Wolves to try and keep the score down.

Meanwhile, the unbeaten run of the Blenheim Valley Marlborough Boys’ College team was ended emphatically at Athletic Park by a dominant Central Pirates combination.

Pirates came away with a 7-2 victory, after leading 4-1 at the break.

A hat-trick to Andrew McCaa, a brace to Chris Turkington plus goals to Shane Evans and Dave Turner did the business for Pirates who utilized an aggressive formation, using two tall attackers to dominate in the air.

MBC battled all the way although coach Gareth Pugh suggested they were off the pace and beaten in every facet of the game.

Down 2-0 they managed to pull one back through Shinji Mikame, who linked well with Phurim Paensuwan.  Mikame added a second goal in the final 45, dribbling from half way beating two players and finishing precisely in the bottom corner. Ben Ivory-McCullum and Jacob Babb had stoic performances.

The day’s third match, at A and P Park, saw BV Masters pip BV Cobras 1-0.

Division one standings: Rangers AFC 12, BV MBC 9, BV Masters 6*, Central Wolves 4*, Central Pirates 3*, BV Cobras 1, Rangers COM 0*. * Team has had a bye.

In division two action,  Call Care Trojans beat Picton Crow Tavern Masters 5-1, Redwood Masters downed Rangers Masters 3-1 and Novus Picton overcame Central Buccaneers 7-1.

Division two standings: Redwood Masters 12, Novus Picton 9*, Trojans 9, Picton Crow Tavern Masters 3*, Rangers Masters 1*, Central Buccaneers 1, Spartans 0*. * Team has had a bye.

Bullets on target

Blenheim Valley Bullets won their first match in the Nelson women’s first division competition on Saturday, beating Nelson Suburbs 1-0 at A and P Park.

The BV Bullets came out firing for their second game of the season, against a well-drilled Nelson Suburbs team. Both keepers had plenty of work to do in a fast-paced, even encounter, decided by a second half goal to Lucy Martin.

The work rate from both teams was impressive, with Jannika Roubos a particular stand-out as Bullets peppered the Suburbs goal, sustaining pressure until the final whistle.

Skater excited by chance to compete against Oceania’s elite

Marlborough speed skater Erin Green goes head-to-head with Oceania’s best in Brisbane this week.

Erin, who has just turned 13, will don the silver fern for the second time at the Oceania championships, having first represented her country at the 2018 champs in Timaru.

Last year she skated her way into two finals and is hoping to improve on that effort this time around.

Her mother and long-time coach, Roxanne Green, feels Erin can make her presence felt at the Brisbane event which ran from April 19-24.

“She is looking really good at the moment, better than she ever has thanks to the help of a young coach who has moved to Blenheim from Timaru.

“Jazmyn McAuley has helped improve Erin’s technique, which is a work in progress,” Roxanne says.

While sprint racing has been Erin’s specialty in the past, she is venturing into the endurance field. She will skate in the cadets grade in Brisbane, racing over short (300m time trial) and long (1000m) sprint distances, plus take on the 21km half marathon.

After being crowned national champion in the juvenile road and flat track class at the 2018 New Zealand champs, Erin stepped up to the junior (12-15) grade at the 2019 champs. Although she finished in the middle of the pack against older skaters, often with much more experience, it was all good preparation for Brisbane.

Roxanne said that while her daughter was nervous, she thrived on competition.

“She doesn’t get hyped about anything … she gets on the line and just does her thing.”

The Blenheim Roller Skating Club raised money to help fund Erin’s trip by staging a roller disco, funds from which paid for her racing wheels.

With about 40 members, the club has been very supportive, Erin said.

Although she relishes the friendships and the social side of racing it is whirring around a track that gives her a real sense of achievement.

“When I race, I just focus on being fast,” she added.

Erin and Roxanne, who is one of the team managers, departed alongside the 31-strong NZ team for Australia on Thursday.

For further information about the Blenheim Roller Skating Club and Erin’s progress visit facebook.com and search under the club’s name.

Waitohi, East Coast top Marlborough standings

E’stel Tasman Trophy rugby made a long-awaited return to rugby headquarters at Lansdowne Park on Thursday night, with Marlborough rivals Waitohi and Central doing battle under lights.

After a traditionally tight battle, it was the Tohis whose Easter Eggs tasted better after they completed a 28-5 bonus point win to stay on top of the sub-union standings, alongside East Coast.

In a scoring spree at the Seddon Domain, the Coasters got their nose ahead on the line to pip Renwick 34-32. The game was locked up 17-17 at halftime and the visitors led by five with four minutes to go before the Coasters grabbed victory with a late converted try to their player of the day, midfielder Ben Filipo.

At Lansdowne Park, the first half belonged almost exclusively to Waitohi, Central only crossing over the halfway stripe at kick off time following three Tohi tries.

A fiery and accurate forward display set up touchdowns for ever-impressive Tongan international fullback Tuli Paea, equally sharp halfback Sosaia Tokai and busy midfielder Daniel Samita. If Waitohi made mistakes they invariably happened close to the Blues’ line, leaving the home team unable to exit any great distance.

Up front flanker Taine Cragg-Love continued to impress, as did hooker Taimi Fangatua, new prop Duane Aholelei, and lock Jack Evans. Corey Bovey directed play well in the 10 jersey, his goalkicking again at a high percentage, while midfielder Tiare Tautari defended well, especially against the ever-dangerous Central centre Timoci Tavatavanawai who rarely saw the ball in the first 40.

The second half was a different story, Central playing with more fire and purpose, led by flanker Braden Stewart, skipper Reyne Volvaola, hooker Jesse MacDonald, plus replacements Peter Vakaloa, Mitchell Boyce and Francis Roebeck.

However, it took them 70 minutes to get on the board, surges by Stewart and Tavatavanawai earning the field position for Vakaloa to burst over.

Just when it seemed Waitohi were going to run out of time to snag a fourth try, Bovey intercepted a hopeful long pass and sprinted 80m to bag the bonus point.

He duly converted to seal a deserved win for a team who have quickly gone from having barely enough players to start the season, to genuine championship contenders.

Player/coach Jimmy Giles was happy to take away five points against “a very good Central side”, especially as Waitohi have struggled to get a full complement to training this week.

“We had good structure in the first half, although we left a few scoring opportunities out there.

“In the second half we had to grind it out as Central came back but we were really happy to get the bonus point try from Bovey.

“I’m rapt with the way the boys played … it gives us an incentive to enjoy the long weekend and hit Nelson next week over there.”

Renwick head coach Glenn Blackmore was disappointed not to get the win at Seddon but feels his teams are making steps in the right direction, despite having to deal with a spate of injuries.

“I’m over the moon with the effort and attitude. It was ding-dong battle, tit-for-tat most of the way but we didn’t really have enough ball in the second half and made too many errors at the end to deserve to get the result.

“We are just in that space at the moment of not really knowing how to finish a game off.”

Sam Lunn, the East Coast coach, described it as “really good game of rugby from both teams”. He praised the effort of first five Myles Hamilton and Filipo and the influence of veteran lock Stu Campbell in the final stages.

Scores:

Waitohi 28 (Tuli Paea, Sosaia Tokai, Daniel Samita, Corey Bovey tries, Bovey 4 con) Central 5 (Peter Vakaloa try). Halftime 21-0.

East Coast 34 Renwick 32 (Dion Nayaran 3, Ty Bampton, Josh Bason tries, Kurt Schollum pen, 2 con). HT 17-17.

Marlborough sub-union standings (provisional): Waitohi 16*, East Coast 16*, Central 10, Renwick 4, Moutere 2* -* team has had a bye.

Other scores: Waimea Old Boys 29-19; Kahurangi 6 Stoke 3.

 

MBC side win

In the curtain-raiser to tonight’s game at Lansdowne, the Marlborough Boys’ College Falcons downed Aussie school Downlands College, from Queensland 40-19 in a pre-season match.

MBC led 7-5 at halftime through a try to skipper Ollie Lawson, scored immediately after halftime then weathered a comeback from the Aussies who closed the gap to 14-12. However a second try to Lawson, plus touchdowns to Tino Vakaloa, Jaden Eathorne and a late touchdown on the final whistle got the job done.

Impressive for MBC were Lawson, Monu Moli, Tristan Taylor and halfback Ryan McLeod.

Young achievers encouraged to inspire

The Inspire Foundation Marlborough’s burgeoning “family” grew by seven at the ASB Theatre last week.

The Foundation’s fourth grantee evening provided a timely financial boost for a group of the region’s high-achieving youngsters, bringing the total number of 15-23-year-olds helped by the foundation to 22.

The Foundation encourages applications from sports people, music students, all the arts and those with academic achievement who want to go on and make a real difference in their field of excellence of science, design, sport, technology, entrepreneurial and/or innovation.

The first grantees for 2019 came from varying fields.

They comprised 15-year-old classical ballet dancer Samantha Grammer, track cycling specialist Callum Saunders, woodchopper Finn Sloan, rising tennis star Jade Otway, violinist Samuel Lee, 18-year-old tennis player Josh Gwynne and rower Phoebe Trolove.

Two former grantees were given re-grants. They were Connor Guillemot (triathlon) and Brett McKeown (piping).

Guest speaker at the grantee evening was world champion Kiwi free diver William Trubridge, who provided an enlightening and motivational address.

Previous grants have gone to:

2017 – Liv Bishop (mountain biking); Olivia Sheat (opera); Quinn Udy (squash)

2018 – Alex Dawson (athletics); Jody Jansen Van Vuuren (shooting); Eleanor Grigg (music); Brad Palatchie (shooting); Chas Craig (golf); Jonty Zydenbos (music), Connor Guillemot (triathlon); Kodi Rasmussen (music); Lucy Sheat (athletics); Libby Holdaway (music), Brett McKeown (music); Angus McFarlane (rowing).

Maadi medals for Marlborough rowers

The Marlborough colleges rowing contingent came home with four medals from the 2019 Maadi Cup regatta which concluded at Lake Karapiro on Saturday.

Both the Marlborough Boys’ College and Marlborough Girls’ College squads picked up two medals, underlining their potential while up against the cream of the country’s secondary school rowing talent.

While slightly disappointed that a couple of his crews narrowly missed adding to the precious metal collection on the final day, Marlborough Boys’ College head coach John Robinson considered it a successful regatta.

“Overall we made seven A finals and we got two medals so, compared to last year, it was a lot better showing.

“Some of the boys are disappointed as they thought they could do much better … because we didn’t get slower and our opponents didn’t get quicker, we just didn’t produce on the final day what we had previously produced.

“There was quite a side chop and tricky water and we failed to handle the conditions … in the novice four we were challenging for second with about 100m to go and we caught a massive crab which stopped everything, and the novice quad didn’t quite fire.”    

He described the MBC programme as a “work in progress”.

Robinson made special mention of the silver medal-winning under-18 novice double combination of Fred Vavasour and Nikolai Maltesen, who he described as the “find of the year”.

“Nik was struggling to learn how to move a boat early in the year so we put him in with Fred, who was last year’s coxswain, and they seemed to click … winning at the South Islands and getting a second up here in tough conditions. They were our standouts.”

“Fred, especially, is falling into a leadership role. He’s really developing.”

The MGC contingent left it late to grab some podium time, bagging two bronze medals on the final day, their crews competing in three A finals, finishing fourth in the novice eight.

Coach Mike McManaway said he was thrilled by the squad’s performance.

“Those novice girls performed outstandingly well in tough conditions. They were thrilled to pick up two medals. They are all first year rowers and so young … they have years ahead of them, plus lots of grit and determination. They are all coming home with big smiles on their faces.”

Two standouts were Meg Flanagan and Maggie Lane, members of both medal-winning crews, while McManaway also had praise for 13-year-old Holly Feltham. “It’s very rare for a 13-year-old to win a medal at Maadi … she’s got a really bright future.”

MGC principal Mary-Jeanne Lynch was on hand to see the MGC crews medal on the final day, which McManaway noted was “pretty special”.    

Six Queen Charlotte College rowers took part over the week and made their presence felt, the girls’ under-15 coxed quad finishing second in the B final, while single sculler William Dunkley came home third in the under-16 C final.    

ROLL OF HONOUR

SILVER: Boys under-18 novice double (Fred Vavasour, Nikolai Maltesen)

BRONZE: Boys under-15 octuple sculls (Hugh Straker, Rhys Salvador, Leon Poswillo, Ashley-James Fitzgerald, Dylan Burton, Sam Feltham, Mason Henderson, Levi McCauley-Bown, Oliver Price cox)   

Girls novice under-18 quad (Maggie Lane, Meg Flanagan, Liv Theodore, Grace Waring-Jones, Lara Bacchus cox)

Girls novice under-18 four (Paige Materoa, Maggie Lane, Meg Flanagan, Holly Feltham, Lara Bacchus cox)

Joe Wheeler returns to Mako

There will be no shortage of banter in the Tasman Mako camp this season with the announcement that former favourite Joe Wheeler will rejoin the team.

The popular and much-travelled lock, who now plies his rugby trade in Japan, has signed a one-year deal with Tasman, bringing him back to the region where he began his career.

Wheeler played 80 games for the Mako, from 2008-2015; 65 times for the Highlanders from 2013-17, a stint which included a Super Rugby title; and 31 matches for the Suntory Sungoliath in Japan since joining them in 2016.  He also played four times for the NZ Maori team.

The 31-year-old is contracted to Suntory for two more seasons but, due to the Rugby World Cup being staged in their country this year, the Japanese Top League competition will go on hold, leaving Wheeler looking for an opportunity to maintain match fitness in 2019 and have some fun along the way.

The familiar Mako environment seemed a perfect fit and before Christmas he had signed up, excited to be returning to an environment he loves, plus setting up a chance to take care of some unfinished business.

“It’s very exciting, how it all lined up. With there being no season in Japan this year and Tasman looking for another lock … the stars aligned and I’m really looking forward to throwing the jersey back on which will be really special. It’s a dream really to be able to come back home and play for the team I love so much,” Wheeler said.

“I’ve really missed it over the last three years … the last time I played was when we lost to Auckland in the 2015 semifinal.

“Obviously that wasn’t the result that I wanted to go out on and at that stage I didn’t know that I wasn’t going to be coming back.

“When the Japan thing came about it felt like it was the right time to try something new. I had been plugging away trying to reach the pinnacle and the dream, but it didn’t quite happen so when the opportunity came up to experience another culture and play some footy in Japan I took it.”

He was thankful that Tasman and New Zealand Rugby who allowed him an early release from his contract to take up with Suntory, plus the Highlanders who allowed him to come back and play two more years of Super Rugby despite living abroad.

He is still involved with the Highlanders, but in a different capacity. While he maintains his fitness by working alongside the Dunedin-based team his main role is with the commercial and marketing team, promoting the Highlanders brand, especially through the media and social media, an area he has worked in with considerable success and exposure over the past decade.

“It’s been a lot of fun … and it’s helping me figure out what I may want to do long-term, when I finally hang up the boots.”            

Wheeler is well aware that he is joining a Mako team on a roll, having established themselves as one of the nation’s premier provincial sides in recent seasons.

“The team has been going really well over the past few years, but hopefully I can add a bit of something, I don’t know what, but I’ll do whatever the team needs,” he added.

He is also familiar with the fact that young Mako locks Quinten Strange and Pari Pari Parkinson had top seasons in 2018, both earning Super Rugby contracts, and will be hard to dislodge from their starting positions.

“Tasman have two pretty exciting young locks there now and hopefully they will be doing the business and I can just complement them, and push them at the same time, making sure they get the best out of themselves because they have huge potential to both maybe pull on the black jersey one day.

“I’m a pretty competitive guy and don’t like taking a backwards step but the reality is that I’m just here for this season and Quin and Pari will be around long term … but if they do need freshening up I’ll be ready to go.”

The spectre of Canterbury, who have denied the Mako Mitre 10 Cup titles over the past three seasons, looms large over Tasman’s camp, but Wheeler is confident Tasman can go all the way.

“Canterbury are like the Crusaders, they are just ruthless. They nail every bit of detail, don’t often miss a beat with their game. We have to take that mentality into the way we play.

“We have been up a bit up and down in the past and lacked the killer punch on the finals stage … Auckland showed last year that if you take it to Canterbury they are vulnerable and beatable.

“Fingers crossed we get to the pointy end of the season again and can have a decent crack at that bit of silverware that’s been so elusive.”   

When Wheeler rejoins the Mako from his Tokyo base this year he will bring a new supporter north. He and wife Courtney are the proud parents of three-month-old Indie, one of three first-baby girls born to the Wheeler brothers – Joe, Ben and Sam – over the last year. “That was quite hard-case, especially for mum and dad (Cathy and Mark) who produced three boys to then get three girls for grandkids”, added Wheeler.

Despite the changes a newborn will bring to his life, he intends to see out his Japanese contract, “all things going well”, and provided it works out for his family.

“Courtney loves Japan, and you know what they say, ‘happy wife, happy life’. It’s great for families because you get to spend more time together there than you do back in NZ.

“We’ll play it year by year though. I’m just really looking forward to getting back to Tassie.”       

Football season kicks off

The 2019 Marlborough club football season kicked off in fine style on Saturday.

The province’s senior footballers tackled new-look competitions, a revamp required after Rangers AFC decided not to contest the Nelson division one grade this year.   

Fourteen teams have been split into two divisions, with early indications suggesting there will be clear favourites in both grades.

Both divisions will play a seven-week first round, then go into a month-long Knockout Cup phase. There will be no play on Easter and Queen’s Birthday Weekends.

From Saturday June 22 to the end of the season, the province’s top three sides from division one will play in a two-round Top of the South competition against the top three teams from Nelson’s division one.

The 12 remaining teams in Marlborough will be split into two divisions, based on results from the first round.

On Saturday, Blenheim Valley MBC and Rangers AFC were the big winners in round one of Mayfield Motorworld Senior Division 1 action at A and P Park, both prevailing by decent margins. In the other game Central Wolves drew 2-2 with BV Cobras after the game was scoreless at halftime.

Goal scorers for Cobras were Logan Reynolds in the 54th minute then Hamish Westwater after 66 minutes. However, Wolves were hungrier in the closing stages, a Stephen McCaa penalty in the 78th minute and a Nick Allen goal after 80 minutes levelling it up.

BV MBC prevailed 6-1 over clubmates Bottle-O BV Masters. Goal scorers for MBC were Hamish Turner with the opener in the 10th minute, while Shinji Mikame bagged four goals and Benjamin Ivory-McCullum one. Simon Thompson pulled one back for Masters in the final minutes.

Rangers AFC showed they will be a force to reckon with, downing Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 9-0 in another derby match. Four goals to Adam Rose, three to Sam Paterson, one to Oliver Saunders and an own goal allowed AFC a comfortable day in the sun.

Meanwhile, in Mayfield Motorworld Senior Division 2, Rangers Masters drew 1-1 with Central Buccaneers. Central’s Gareth Shawcross scored the opener in the 12th minute but Rangers hit back through a penalty to Klaus Pol.

Redwood Masters opened their account with a big win, downing Trojans Spartans 8-1. Goal scorers for Redwood were Mike Healy, Kerry Wilkin (2) Julian Adamson (3) Chris Short and Mike Columbus. Spartans goal was scored by Aiden Treston.

In the final match Picton Large downed Call Care Trojans 3-2. Picton’s scorers were Phillip Newport (2) and Peter Spreull while Patrick Neal and Adi Chowfin netted for Trojans.

Central Pirates had the Divison 1 bye, Picton Crow Tavern Masters the bye in division two

Christies oh so close to GrapeRide double

Marlborough husband-and-wife cyclists Jason and Georgia Christie narrowly missed out on a Forrest GrapeRide double when the 15th version of the annual cycling classic was contested on the roads of Marlborough on Saturday morning.

Georgia claimed a convincing win in the women’s “speed bunnies” section over the 101km course which takes riders from Renwick to Picton, through Havelock and back to the start line at Forrest Wines.

However, Jason just missed notching the family double when he was pipped on the line by Christchurch rider Laurence Pithie in a dramatic conclusion to the men’s race.

The race turned into a cagey affair and although there were a few breakaways, they were soon reeled in, leaving a group of a dozen riders at the front of the field approaching the finish.

Christie and Skoda team member Pithie were neck-and-neck down the winding finishing straight, before 16-year-old Pithie managed to get his wheel in front at the line, both riders registering the same time, 2.27.37.

However, the leading duo had no time to relax as the lead car slowed down immediately after the finish, forcing the cyclists to take immediate evasive action, Pithie tangling with a hedge.

Pithie, who finished seventh in last year’s event, said, “it’s quite a gnarly wee finish. I knew that if I was leading into that final corner, into the vineyard, I could probably hold on but Jason came round me on the straight. I managed to come back round him on the corner though and just get him on the line.”

Jason Christie, a two-time national road race champion, described it as a “crazy” finish. He said he rode in the leading bunch most of the way and, while there were a couple of breakaways, felt it was always going to end in a sprint finish. Two years ago he crossed the line first but was relegated, making this his second runners-up placing to go with wins in 2014 and 2015.

Georgia, the reigning national road race champion who notched her second win in the race, beating Annamarie Lipp by over a minute, said, “there wasn’t a big women’s field so we just worked together until Picton.

“I knew that Annamarie and I could climb so I tried to get her and I to go hard on the climbs. Up the Wedge I just went hard and dropped everyone apart from her.

“I figured that I had to get away before the finish so I caught her off guard with an attack about 10 kilometres from the finish, then just soloed to the line.”     

Meanwhile, Marlborough endurance rider Craig Harper completed his 15th lap of the GrapeRide course on Saturday, covering 1515km over five days in preparation for his Ride Across America in June.

Event organiser Duncan MacKenzie said the 2019 event hosted over 1200 entrants, aged from 10 to 82.

“The Marlborough community, sponsors and volunteers were fantastic. Cheer squads were out around the courses encouraging the riders, including over 100 in the inaugural mountain bike section. We’ll be looking to grow this in 2020,” added MacKenzie.

Results (provisional):

Speed Bunnies (101km)

Men – 1 Laurence Pithie (Christchurch) 2.27.37; 2 Jason Christie (Blenheim) 2.27.37; 3 Michael Vink (Christchurch) 2.27.38. Women – 1 Georgia Christie (Blenheim) 2.46.11; Annamarie Lipp (Christchurch) 2.47.18.

Magnum (202km)

Men – 1 Paul Odlin (Christchurch); women – Joanna Sharpe (Auckland) 6.18.01

Taster (42km)

Men – Liam Seeley (Whangarei) 1.07.11; women – Anna Salek (Richmond) 1.19.10.

MTB 40 (40km)

Men – Mark Ellis (Timaru) 1.26.47; women – Cecilia Bourke (Lyttleton) 1.26.48.

MTB 20 (20km)

Men – Myles Yarrell (Christchurch) 1.05.58; women – Brooke Harper (Blenheim) 1.16.03.

Rugby focus on Marlborough grounds

By Peter Jones

The focus of the E’stel Tasman Trophy club rugby competition sits firmly on Marlborough this weekend.

All five third round matches will be contested on this side of the Whangamoas, offering a unique chance for Marlborough sub union sides to bounce back after conceding all five cross-over encounters in week one.

Waitohi and Central, who scored wins during the sub-union games last weekend face tough assignments, taking on Waimea Old Boys and Wanderers respectively, both Nelson-based sides having won their first two matches.

The Tohis, who play at Endeavour Park, turned on a superb first half performance against Renwick last Saturday, but will need to maintain that intensity if they are to live with a well-balanced Waimea outfit.

The Blues, who play at Lansdowne Park, lifted their game against Moutere on Saturday, but will also have their hands full against Wanderers. The lads from Brightwater are on the comeback trail this year and sprung an upset win over the highly-rated Nelson side last weekend.

The other Marlborough teams are winless so far, however will be hoping to change that tomorrow.

East Coast welcome Nelson to their home base at Car Horn Valley, also known as the Seddon Domain, Moutere meet Kahurangi at Awarua Park and Renwick tackle Stoke, who had the bye last weekend, at Renwick Domain. Games begin at 3pm.

Standings after two rounds: Marist 10, Waimea Old Boys 9, Wanderers 8, Nelson 5, Waitohi 5, Central 5, Kahurangi 5, * Stoke 1, Renwick 1, * East Coast 0, Moutere 0. * played just one game.

Tasman cricket supremacy up for grabs

By Peter Jones

Home advantage may be the only thing that separates two evenly-matched teams when the Tasman Premier League cricket final is contested at Horton Park on Saturday.

The Marlborough Labour Hire Dolphins host Nelson club Stoke Nayland in a fitting climax to the new, season-long 50-over competition.

Both teams are worthy finalists as they have produced consistent form throughout the competition and been the front runners from start to finish.

Dolphins are top qualifiers and have earned home ground advantage, having beaten Stoke Nayland in their two previous meetings this season, home and away.

In Prabodha Arthavidu and Josh Poole they have two of the best-performed batsmen in the league, big-match players who have consistently been among the runs.

They will miss the inspirational Jerrym Lamb again on Saturday, the rep allrounder tied up with harvest commitments, but there is depth and character in the Dolphins squad.

Accomplished opener Luke Frankland, youngster Tom Sutherland, Jack Holdaway, Kirk Nicholas and Ben Blackman are all very capable with the bat.

The home side’s bowling attack is often under-rated but, as their record shows, gets the job done. Medium pacers Blackman and Akhil Bhardvaj regularly pick up important wickets, while the spin
twins of Arthavidu and Poole have proved difficult to dominate.

Their opponents eased past the Falcons in last week’s semi and appear to be approaching full noise. They will be looking to add this last piece of silverware to complete the clean sweep for
the season.

There should be runs aplenty with Darius Skeaping and Paddy Howes both in good nick while Ben Homan was key to both his side’s wins last weekend.

There is plenty of back up with allrounders Ben Stark, Tim O’Connor, Samuel Chamberlain and Dylan Eginton in the line-up.

Keeper Ricky Edwards comes from pretty good batting stock and he too will relish the occasion.

The visitor’s bowling attack is well-balanced with a raft of medium pacers and the left arm spin of Howes.

TEAMS:

Dolphins: Luke Frankland, Hayden Gauden, Prabodha Arthavidu, Josh Poole, Tom Sutherland, Jack Holdaway,
Ben Blackman, Kirk Nicholas, Liam Young, Logan Robinson, Akhil Bhardvaj, Ben Holdaway (12th man)

Stoke Nayland: Brendan Hodgson, Darius Skeaping, Kurt Pahl, Patrick Howes, Ricky Edwards, Ben Homan,
Samuel Chamberlain, Dylan Eginton, Tim O’Connor, Ben Stark, Mark Mekalick.

The game begins at 11.30am on Horton Park 1.