Andrew McCaa glides the ball behind point during Saturday’s semifinal victory at Horton Park. Photo: Peter Jones.

Falcons reach final, have wings clipped

The Marlborough Labour Hire Falcons may have reached Sunday’s Tasman Premier League final, but they were unable to get the job done in the decider in Nelson.

They went down by six wickets to top qualifier ACOB who restricted the Blenheim-based side to 141 then chased the meagre target down for the loss of just four wickets in quick time.

Although consistent batting enabled them to get the better of semifinal rival WTTU at Horton Park on Saturday, it let them down at Saxton Oval a day later.

After a promising opening partnership of 21 they lost wickets regularly, opener Chris Bartholomeusz the best of the top order with 19 patient runs from 63 balls.

At 53-6 the Falcons were in deep trouble but got enough runs from their lower order to post a score they had a slim chance of defending. Bailey Andrews-Kennedy (17), Harrison Boyce, who produced the top score of 42, Nick Weaver (10) and No 11 Tim Petrie (14 not out) pushed the visitor’s score to 141 before they were dismissed in the 49th over.

Andrew McCaa glides the ball behind point during Saturday’s semifinal victory at Horton Park. Photo: Peter Jones.
Andrew McCaa glides the ball behind point during Saturday’s semifinal victory at Horton Park. Photo: Peter Jones.

The ACOB bowlers were particularly miserly, while sharing the wickets around. Thomas Zohrab bowled 10 overs, taking 2-12, Mason Lund grabbed 2-19 from seven, rep coach BJ Barnett picked up 2-28 from seven while Reuben Smith took 2-34 from six. David Zohrab was equally hard to score from, snaring 1-18 from 10.

Falcons needed early wickets and got two, picking up Barnett and No 3 Ben Hazlett with just 10 on the board. However, that brought the Zohrab brothers together and they were not separated until the scoreboard read 102. Thomas scored 50 from 86 balls, while David was not out 60 off 103 at the close, which came in the 38th over.

Weaver, 2-22 from eight, Matthew Stretch 2-31 from 8.4, were the wicket-takers.

On Saturday they booked their place in the TPL decider with a five-wicket victory over Nelson rivals WTTU at Horton Park.

The Falcons, who lost the toss and were put into the field by WTTU, worked hard to limit the visitors to 222-7 from their 50-over allocation. Veteran Central Districts batsman Greg Hay was the standout in the WTTU batting effort, working his way to an unbeaten 108 from 116 balls and holding his side’s innings together.

Sam Boyce, who took 3-54 from 10 was the best bowler for Falcons, with Tarin Mason bagging 2-24 from nine. Spinners Matthew Stretch and Tim Petrie went wicketless, but helped slow WTTU’s momentum after they had made a rapid start.

In reply, the Falcons were consistent. After losing Chris Turkington, early, Andrew McCaa and Chris Bartholomeusz (39) took the score to 91, blunting WTTU’s attack.

McCaa went on to score a well-timed 82 from 114 balls, anchoring the home side’s effort.

An unbeaten 51 from just 54 balls from skipper Stretch saw the Falcons home, assisted by Mason and Petrie who contributed handy knocks at the end.  Josh Newport, who claimed 3-59 from 9.5 was the most successful of the WTTU attack.

Akhil Pant scored a superb maiden century in Rangiora. File photo.

Cricket reps come up short

Marlborough came up just 29 runs short of a first innings win over Hawke Cup holders Canterbury Country in their zone three qualifying match at Rangiora on Sunday.

The home side batted most of Saturday, amassing 317 from 86.3 overs. Marlborough batted for 19 overs before stumps, sitting on 23-2 after losing Tom Sutherland and Andrew McCaa.

On day two, Chris Bartholomeusz and Ben Ivory-McCullum combined resolutely to take the score through to 57 before the latter was run out, then wickets began to fall regularly, including a vital run out of the experienced Jerrym Lamb.

At 93-6 the game was slipping away, but allrounders Akhil Pant and Tarin Mason had other ideas.

With a mixture of clean-hitting and solid defence the pair began to take the game away from Country. At tea Marlborough required 88 runs off 30 overs with four wickets in hand.

At 267-6 it seemed Pant and Mason, who put on 174 runs together, were poised to get Marlborough over the line. However, the loss in consecutive overs of Pant for a superb 111 off 146 balls, his maiden century for Marlborough, and Mason, who continued his recent run of batting form with 65 from 190, stalled the visitors’ momentum.

No 10 batsman Will Smith, with 18 from 28, provided a late flurry but, after batting through 121 overs Marlborough were dismissed for 288.   Country’s first innings total was based around a patient 122 from 237 balls from opener Rhys Mariu, who was dropped by Maarlborough when on 30,

He and Rupert Young, 36 from 62, contributed 78 runs for the first wicket, then Mariu combined with Henry Shipley to put together an 83-run partnership for the fourth.  Mariu was also part of a pivotal seventh wicket combination of 91 with Joe Williams.

Marlborough’s bowlers responded well despite being put under pressure during several significant partnerships. They continued to push for a breakthrough, then put the brakes on, managing to restrict the home side to a manageable total.

Best of the visiting attack was Will Smith, a Country player last season, who bagged 5-54 from 23 overs. Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, 3-81 from 20, Nick Weaver, 1-45 from 13 and Matthew Stretch, 1-11 from five, were the other wicket-takers.

Marlborough head coach Jarrod Englefield said his side’s focus from the outset was “to take the game as deep as possible”.

“We lost the toss but were thinking about bowling in any case.

“We had opportunities to restrict them to under 300 but considering the momentum that they had at times we did really well to keep them to 317. “Will Smith bowled awesome on that wicket.”

Englefield was happy with aspects of the batting effort.

“Chris Bartholomeusz batted 60 overs for 44 runs, he was a real anchor for us … then we had a couple of run outs that just ripped the soul out of us.

“However our strategy was to have a lengthy batting order and that nearly paid off.

“The partnership between Akhil and Tarin was just unbelievable, they got us right back within a sniff. They took the initiative away from [Country] … but we were against the clock a bit and when Akhil got bowled then Tarin got out it became a bit much to do in the end, although we got bloody close.”

Englefield described Pant’s knock as “amazing … one of the best hundreds I have seen for Marlborough, especially from the position we were in”.

“He put them under a lot of pressure. There was some crunching pull shots, some over cover and powerful drives down the ground.”

Next weekend Marlborough take on Buller in Blenheim, needing at least a first innings win to remain in the race for a play-off position in their zone. In another first round match, Nelson beat Buller on the first innings.

 

Twenty20

On Friday night the latest round of the Marlborough senior T20 competition took place.

Wairau Valley and Renwick were victorious, both prevailing by significant margins.

Valley took on Wairau and notched a comfortable win, restricting Wairau to 73-8 from their 20 overs, then running the total down for the loss of just one wicket in 9.4 overs.

Extras were top score for Wairau, with Colin Wood’s 16 runs next best. Sukhjinder Sukh claimed 4-10 from four overs while Tom Sloan bagged 2-5 from two.

Andrew Forgesson (47 runs from 33 balls) and Patrick Williams (16 from 21) made short work of the chase.

Renwick batted first against Marlborough Boys’ College, scoring 136-8 from 20 overs. Rikki Bovey (32 from 30), Mark Zillwood (30 from 33) and Ben Weaver (22 from 15) were the main contributors. Ben Holdaway claimed the remarkable figures of 5-17 from four overs for MBC.

The students struggled to score freely against a steady attack, being held to 102-6 when their 20-over complement was completed. Tim Petrie (23 from 28), Will Sutherland (20 from 32) and Holdaway (22 from 19) were the top MBC scorers while Nick Wilder (3-14) was the main wicket taker for Renwick.

Renwick winger Mesake Bula dives in at the corner to score a try during Saturday’s Awarua Park Rugby 7s tournament. Photo: Peter Jones.

Sevens action proves popular

Although visiting teams picked up the main titles at the inaugural Awarua Park 7s tournament on Saturday, the event was hailed as a “fantastic day of sevens action”.

Laurie McGlone, a member of the Moutere Rugby Club’s organising committee, said they “were really happy with how it went”.

“The number of teams that supported the event was fantastic … we have had plenty of positive comments about how it was run and we plan to make it an annual fixture.

“The standard of footy across all divisions was excellent and it was great to see some players stand out who would otherwise not have been given the opportunity.”

Eighteen teams were involved – six in division one, eight in division two and four in the women’s grade, with Laurie suggesting there is room for more in 2021.

The men’s division one title was won by the slick combination from Marist, who were unbeaten in pool play, beat local side Renwick 29-10 in the semifinal, then downed Kahurangi 24-19 in a thrilling final. Kahurangi beat home team Moutere 33-0 in the other semi.

The other Marlborough-based side involved, Waitohi, downed Wanderers 39-7 in pool play but narrowly missed a place in the semis.

The women’s title was taken out by Waimea, who also won three-from-three in round robin play. They accounted for Riwaka 34-19 in the final.

In men’s division two, Stoke ran away with the title, downing Marist 33-0 in the decider. In the semis Marist beat Valley Stags 27-26 while Stoke downed local team Old Boys 21-7. Two other local sides, Awatere and Moutere, competed in this division but were unable to pick up a win.

Harrison Somerville, left, and Jordan Gasson in their prized red coats. Photo: Sarah Brown.

Rowers bow out in style

A couple of contrasting awards ceremonies provided appropriate stages to salute the careers of two of Marlborough’s hardest-working rowers last week.

On Sunday, Harrison Somerville and Jordan Gasson, premier champions at the 2020 NZ champs, were presented with much-coveted red coats during the Wairau Rowing Club’s prizegiving at the Royal Hotel.

The following day they stepped onto the Convention Centre stage at the Marlborough Sports Awards, wearing their prized red coats, and came away with the Team of the Year award.

The duo earned their Sports Awards nomination during the national rowing champs at Lake Karapiro. Harrison (26) and Jordan (22) joined forces with American brothers Sebastian (23) and Rhys Krappe (19) to create their own slice of rowing history.

The talented quartet claimed the New Zealand men’s premier quadruple sculls title with a superb row in the decider. It has been 17 years since the Wairau Rowing Club last won a premier title and 32 years since they last won the men’s quad.

Harrison, who had missed a place in the NZ summer squad and RPC intake this season, said his 2020 rowing plans were up in the air until a chance meeting with the Krappe brothers.

“I ran into the American boys for a beer, got yarning and decided, ‘you know what, maybe a club season wouldn’t be a bad idea – just to finish it off’.

“And it definitely worked out better than expected.”

Although there were no RPC crews in the premier final at nationals this year, the Wairau crew were up against some highly-talented opposition.

“Karl Manson was in the Waikato boat, along with three other former NZ or RPC rowers, and they had been dominant through the club season in the North Island, so they weren’t a crew to sneeze at.”

Harrison and Jordan are products of the highly-successful Marlborough Boys’ College and Blenheim Rowing Club development system. Both showed huge potential at Maadi Cup level, then went on to gain national recognition.

Harrison, a lightweight sculler, represented New Zealand at under-21, under-23 and University level, before graduating to elite selection in 2019.

Jordan, also a lightweight, wore the silver fern at under-21 level.

Now both young men have decided to call time on their rowing careers, recognising that it would be an appropriate moment to move on from a sport that they have put so much into over many seasons, and which has given them plenty in return.

“You can’t see into the future, but for now I’m content [to step away from competitive rowing],” said Harrison. “I’ve had a decent run and it’s time to start looking down other avenues. I’m excited to see what comes next.”

Jordan, who is studying law in Hamilton, has a similar mindset.

“I was seeing this as my last season of rowing and [a shot at a national title] certainly wasn’t on the radar to begin with, but we saw a chance open up and we just went for it.

“It’s really great to end my career on such a high note.”

Although he has pulled down the curtain on his rowing career for now, Jordan could not rule out a return somewhere down the line.

“Rowing is one of those things that you can come back to at any time, assuming your fitness hasn’t dropped off to much, so [getting back in the boat] is always an option,” he added.

Dolphins batsman Rikki Bovey walks off as the WTTU fielders celebrate another wicket a t Horton Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tough start for local TPL sides

Marlborough’s two Tasman Premier League cricket sides made inauspicious starts to the new season on Saturday.

Both the Falcons and Dolphins bowled first against Nelson rivals ACOB and WTTU respectively, with contrasting success.

While the Dolphins were excellent in the field, restricting their rivals to 146, the Falcons allowed ACOB to amass 274 and were never in the hunt as both local sides struggled to make inroads with the bat.

Ultimately, the Falcons were beaten by a hefty 221 runs, while the Dolphins lost by 20 runs.

ACOB’s total was built around a superb 99 from opener Thomas Zohrab, along with 75 from No 9 batsman Felix Murray.

Tarin Mason, with 4-56 from his 10 overs while Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, helped by three late wickets also claimed four scalps, including that of Zohrab, one short of his century.

The home side’s reply was underwhelming, being bowled out for just 53 in the 21st over.

On Horton one, the Dolphins performed admirably in the field to restrict a handy WTTU line-up to 146, bowling them out in the 47th over.

When Will Smith removed both openers and Akhil Pant claimed the key wicket of Mason Thelin, the visitors were struggling at 35-3 and never really recovered their momentum.

Sam Baxendine, batting six, steadied the ship with a patient 48 from 84 balls and No 10 Billy Powick hung around for 24 from 44 deliveries, their 44-run partnership for the 10th wicket the best of the innings.

Dolphins bowled accurately, conceding just eight wides, and kept the pressure on their rivals. Three bowlers picked up three wickets each, Joel Pannell and Tom Sutherland bagging 3-18 while Smith claimed 3-23, all proving difficult to score readily from.

The home side’s run chase began disastrously, five wickets falling for just the addition of 28 runs as openers Baxendine and Josh Newport made big inroads with the new ball.

However, Dolphins began to resurrect matters when Corey Bovey and Tom Leonard got together, the pair adding 55 runs and bringing the home side back into the match before Bovey departed.

After that wickets fell regularly, leaving Leonard fighting a lone rearguard action. He was last man out, in the 38th over, for a splendid 64 from 80 balls with nine fours, a game-high score.

Newport, with 3-29 from 10 overs and Baxendine, 2-16 from eight, led the WTTU attack well, with help from Jon Routhan, 2-30.

Brothers Finn, left, and Billy Sloan slice through a block. Photo: Peter Jones.

Chips fly as axemen show their chops

The Blenheim Axemen’s Club are an adaptable bunch.

With the Marlborough A and P Show cancelled, they decided to relocate their annual wood cutting event from A and P Park to the Hocquard property in Riverlands.

On Saturday, competitors came from far afield to take part in a series of events, all contested in a relaxed, rural atmosphere.

The day’s premier event was the Geoff Hocquard Memorial Standing Championship contested by the top four back markers on the highest handicaps. The event was won by Joe Cox from Timaru, from Andrew Cox, also from Timaru, with Ray Biggs of Nelson third and Christchurch’s John Aitken fourth.

Championship races have all the competitors starting on a count of three seconds.  The Open and Restricted races see all the competitors starting on their marks from the woodchopping handicap system.

The four Open woodchopping events, consisting of small and large Underhand and Standing Chops, had two heats with placegetters meeting in the final.

The 300mm underhand was won by Kyle Hedley, with Chris Heath second, Steve Foster third and Marlborough chopper Finn Sloan fourth.

Hedley and Foster tied for first in the 325mm underhand, with Ross Birchfield third and Sloan fourth.

Foster won the 275mm standing from Hedley, with Picton’s Tim Abel third and Peter McEwen fourth.

Abel claimed the 3000mm standing title, Dave McEwen finishing second, Hedley third and Andrew Cox fourth.

Nelson chopper Hedley, with 15.5 points, claimed the overall points trophy from Steve Foster (Greymouth) on 12.5 pts.

The single and double sawing events had reduced numbers this year, especially with local sawyers Geoffrey Hocquard and Willie Abel unavailable to compete.

The single saw was won by John Aitken, with Andrew Cox second, local sawyer Robbie Brownlee third his grandson Finn Sloan fourth.

The double saw title was claimed by Andrew and Joe Cox, from Brownlee and John Aitken, then Finn and Billy Sloan, followed by Charlie Morgan and Martin Mason.

The three restricted underhand chops were contested by the newcomers, juniors and ladies also competing under the handicap system.

The No 1 restricted was won by Justin Carter, from Ashleigh Radford, Alex Gregg and Toby Godsiff.

The No 2 restricted was taken out by Louie Gregg, with Emma Riddell second, Justin Carter third and Alex Gregg fourth.

Carter claimed the No 3 restricted title, from Louie Gregg, Alex Gregg and Ashleigh Radford respectively.

Carter scored the most points in the restricted chops, with Louie Gregg second.

Local competitors were Tim Abel, Robbie Brownlee and his grandsons Finn Sloan, Billy Sloan, Alex Gregg and Louie Gregg.

Everyone competing at the Blenheim Axemen’s Club event also had a second day of competition with the Nelson Axemen’s Club meeting at the Wakefield Hotel on Sunday.

Tennis leaders win another close encounter

Renwick CPR continue to show the way in the Wine Brokers NZ premier tennis competition, notching up another narrow win on Wednesday.

The leaders managed a countback victory over Rapaura Wairau River Noir while Rapaura Wairau River Blanc also claimed a win on countback, beating Marlborough Forrest Wines.

Renwick CPR lead after four rounds, sitting on 42 points, with Rapaura Blanc second on 38 and Marlborough tied with Rapaura Noir on 19.

Despite their relative positions on the standings, the Renwick v Noir tie turned into a battle royal. The doubles were shared, Hamish McRae and Jared Bell giving Rapaura an early boost by recovering from a first set reversal to win the top double, 0-6, 6-2, 10-4 over brothers Oscar and Joseph Sandford-Jury.

The Renwick duo of Daniel Riordan and Mieko Kimura levelled the scores with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Blair Harvey and Ella Sowman.

The singles were also shared, both Sandford-Jury teens winning their matches, then Bell and Sowman replying for Rapaura.  On countback Renwick won seven sets to Rapaura’s six.

The other match was also extremely tight.

Hamish Morrow and Stephen Dempster best Ant Walkenhorst and Glen Cameron 7-6, 7-6 in the top double to allow Marlborough a strong start, but Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark’s 6-1, 6-1 win over Jay Geris and Amber Lyons levelled the tie.

The key match in the singles was between Geris and Robinson. Although the former prevailed, the fact it went to three sets worked in Rapaura’s favour when the tie was decided on countback.

Morrow also won his single, beating Walkenhorst 6-4, 6-2, while Cameron and Clark replied with for Rapaura, leaving the tie locked up 3-3, Rapaura getting home 7-6 on set countback.

In division two, the Marlborough Nga Hau Wha team continued on their winning way, beating Marlborough Next Gen 5-1, while Rapaura Wairau River Rose downed Renwick Rallycats by the same score.

After four rounds Nga Hau Wha sit on top of the table with 46 points, from Next Gen (31), Rapaura (27) and Renwick (17).

Luke Romano wins another lineout at Lansdowne Park on Saturday night. Photo: Shuttersport.

Canterbury turn season around at Lansdowne

Tasman’s uninspiring Mitre 10 Cup premiership display against Canterbury on Saturday may not prove as costly to the Mako play-off hopes as initially thought.

Going into the 29-0 defeat at Lansdowne Park, Tasman, fresh off an away win over Wellington, lay second on the premiership points table, justifiably eying a home semifinal.

At the other end of the table languished Canterbury, an unfamiliar position for the perennial pace-setters, with the threat of relegation looming large.

Teetering above the trapdoor, the Red and Blacks responded by producing the sort of performance that has underlined their previous dominance of the provincial scene.

Their emphatic 29-0 victory at Lansdowne Park on Saturday evening appeared to have assured their participation in the top echelon next year and derailed Tasman’s chances of hosting a semi this season.

However, a combination of upset results in what is quickly turning into the closest premiership battle for many seasons has seen Tasman remain in second position at the end of the round, with Canterbury still equal bottom of the table.

Now, although they face a tricky away match against Otago on Saturday, the Mako at least have their semifinal future in their own hands.

Things were not looking so positive at the final whistle on Saturday though.

Putting their patchy form this season behind them, Canterbury took their frustrations out on a Mako side who undoubtedly knew what was coming, but were unable to match the defensive intensity and clinical finishing that came their way. Their unrelenting work without the ball quickly created hesitation in the Tasman attack, forcing them to chase the game from early stages, rather than build into it.

Given the familiarity of so many of the players through Crusaders connections, it was perhaps no wonder that, at times, it appeared as if Canterbury had read Tasman’s script.

The influence of former All Blacks Luke Romano and Mitchell Drummond cannot be underestimated. Pivotal players when Tasman lost to Canterbury in the 2018 semifinal, they repeated the dose. Romano’s disruptive lineout presence, ability to slow Tasman’s ball down and general work rate proved constant thorns in the home side’s flesh. Drummond continues to haunt his former home town team, pulling all the right strings with coolness, slick passing and clever kicking options.

The impact of the opening try, to Canterbury winger Ngatungane Punivai in the third minute, should not be underestimated.

It not only gave Canterbury the belief that they have been struggling for, it also put the Mako firmly on the back foot from the outset, a situation compounded by early injury concerns.

Mako lock Quinten Strange said while Canterbury, “with their backs to the wall”, played well, some of the damage was self-inflicted.

“We were just one or two percent off tonight, in a few areas of the game we were our own worst enemy. At set piece we weren’t executing … we were throwing those 50-50s a bit much, trying to score off first phases and they had a good plan, a good strategy.

“As we know, if you don’t turn up against Canterbury they are going to punish you.”

And that they did, Saturday’s defeat ending an 11-game winning run at Lansdowne Park, with Tasman’s last defeat in Blenheim coming against Auckland in September 2015.

However, if Tasman’s supporters have discovered anything about their team over recent years, it is their ability to rebound quickly from adversity.

In the age-old cliché, they “have plenty to work on” over the coming week.

No-one could fault their intent and effort on Saturday, but there seemed to be more spring in Canterbury’s step, perhaps a result of being pushed into a corner and facing a previously-unthinkable fate.

The Mako will be looking for the same desperation when they travel to Dunedin.

As Strange suggests, “it’s such a tight competition, whoever turns up on the day is going to win.

“That’s the beauty of this competition … we have to make sure we get the right mindset heading into next weekend.”

Mitre 10 Cup premiership table with one round remaining: Auckland 34, Tasman 29, Waikato 29, Bay of Plenty 26, North Harbour 25, Canterbury 24, Wellington 24.

Wairau Valley batsman Tim Abrahams is bowled by Celtic spinner Josh Poole during the one-day final at Horton Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Lamb propels Celtic to one-day trophy win

Celtic are the Marlborough 50-over cricket champs after beating Wairau Valley by three wickets at Horton Park on Saturday.

In a low-scoring encounter, on to a Horton Park No 1 wicket which contained plenty of moisture and made free-flowing shot-making hard to accomplish, Celtic made the most of winning the toss.

Electing to bowl, they soon had Valley in trouble, removing opener Tom Leonard with just three on the board. Ben Ivory-McCullum and Luke Pannell played within themselves to push the score up to 22 before Ivory-McCullum perished.

Pannell, who finished as top scorer with 18 from 36 balls, began to form another partnership with Matthew Stretch before the youngster was bowled by impressive medium pacer Matt McCormick with just 40 runs on the board. The key wicket of Stretch followed soon after, caught at slip by man-of-the-match Jerrym Lamb from Jaden Adams’ bowling.

From then on it became a steady procession out to the middle then back to the pavilion for the remainder of the Valley order as they limped to 129 in 45 overs.

Celtic used seven bowlers who, backed up by some slick fielding, all bagged at least one wicket. Left arm spinner Josh Poole, who took 2-21 from his 10 overs, and medium pacer Adams, 2-23 from 10, picked up a brace apiece, while Lamb, with 1-12 from seven was the most miserly.

Elated with their fielding effort, Celtic were immediately put under pressure when it came their turn to bat. Openers John Porter and Logan Robinson were both bowled by the lively Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, leaving their side 2-3 after seven overs.

However the arrival of Josh Poole and Jack Holdaway steadied the ship, the pair taking the score through to 30 before Poole departed for 14. Holdaway then joined forces with Lamb and they began to turn the match around. When Holdaway was dismissed by Stretch for 24 from 72 balls they had lifted Celtic’s score to 70 and the platform for victory was set.

Reuben Kepes became Andrews-Kennedy’s third victim 15 runs later, Liam Young and McCormick came and went with the score at 111, but through it all Lamb remained calm and in control.

When Celtic achieved victory the vastly-experienced allrounder was unbeaten on 69, scored off the same number of balls, with six fours and two sixes.

For Valley, Andrews-Kennedy and Sam Boyce bowled accurately and economically, the former recording figures of 3-18 from his 10 overs, while Boyce claimed 2-18 from his full complement.

Next up for the club players is the first round of Tasman premier league play next Saturday.

Andre du Toit won the A grade title at the Kaituna range over Labour weekend. Photo: Peter Jones.

Shooters defy breeze to register good scores

Young South African shooter Andre du Toit, representing the Malvern club, claimed the A grade title at the Marlborough Fullbore Shooting Championship, staged over three days at Labour Weekend.

Forty eight competitors at the Kaituna range had to contend with a weekend of warm nor’westerly crosswinds making accuracy a challenge.

The net result of the conditions was that only 11 possibles were shot over the weekend, Alan White from Malvern bagging three of them.

In A grade du Toit led from the front for most of the weekend to take out the title with 475.33 from Brian Carter (Te Puke) on 473.30 and White on 472.27.

Du Toit arrived in New Zealand two years ago from the Transvaal area of South Africa. He has represented his homeland at under-19 and senior level, shooting for South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He hopes to become eligible for NZ in time to shoot for this country at the world champs in 2023.

Entry numbers for the annual champs were well up on 2019, due to the strong support of those prepared to travel long distances and the addition of the two new F Classes. Shooters travelled from as far afield as Dunedin, Gore, Te Puke and Hamilton.

The Long Range aggregate was decided using the 900 yard scores with three tied on 185.10, with Carter winning from Ross Mason (Trentham) and Bevan Mehrtens (Malvern).

In B grade Les Marshall (Hawkes Bay) had a comfortable five point margin with 457.24 from Megan Snowden (Ashburton) with 452.25 and Martin Fleming (Ashburton) 452.23.

In C grade Shaun Ellis (Cheltenham) won easily with 435.11 from Brian Hawksby (Ashburton) on 420.18 and John Fleming (Ashburton) on 417.14

The tightest competition of the weekend was in F Open with Ian Hughes (Cheltenham) and Mike Chui (Ashburton) battling for supremacy. Going into the final shoulder-to-shoulder 900 yard match they were four Xs apart. Hughes came out on top, scoring 565.29 to Chui’s 563.27.

In FTR Murray Cook (Ashburton was a runaway winner on 535.21 from Mark Alexander (Malvern) on 506.19 and Les Grimsey (Oamaru) on 502.11.

In the new FTR Classic class Sharon Grimsey (Oamaru) won on 514.16 from Conal Richardson (Cheltenham) on 504.7 and Mike Slade (Kaituna), 502.10.

On Monday afternoon, four club TR teams and two club F class teams fought out the coached teams match.

The Malvern TR team of du Toit, Charlotte Flanagan, Alan White and Chris Kershaw, coached by Bevan Mehrtens and Richard Rowlands, were dominant with all four shooters scoring in the 70s over the 15 shots to win with 283.17 from Cheltenham on 266.5. The only other shooter to better the 70 mark was Megan Snowden (Ashburton), coached by her father John, who top scored the match with 73.2.

In the F Class match the Cheltenham team of Ian Hughes, Shaun Ellis, Conal Richardson and Greg Hayes won with 320.10 from Ashburton on 314.6.