Pace bowler Nick Weaver was Marlborough’s player of the season in 2019-20. Photo: Shuttersport.

Dust off the whites – it’s cricket time again

Although the weather seems unable to make up its mind whether we are in winter or spring, the 2020-21 cricket season is suddenly upon us.

Once again, there has been a change to the season’s format for our senior players.

This season starts with the return later this week of the senior grade one-day competition for the Grove Tavern Cup.

Celtic, Renwick, Wairau and Wairau Valley will compete over three rounds starting on Saturday, October 17 with the top two teams playing in the final on November 7.

The 2020-21 Tasman Premier League commences the following weekend with once again the Marlborough Labour Hire Falcons and Dolphins representing Marlborough, alongside six teams from Nelson. This season’s format sees the TPL is reduced from two full preliminary rounds to just one, the seven round robin games followed by semi-finals and the grand final, scheduled for Saturday, February 27.

From late November through to early February the regular T20 competition will be staged, with games on Friday and Wednesday evenings, culminating in a final on Friday, February 5.

The Marlborough senior rep side, under head coach Jarrod Englefield, will again be kept busy.

They start their season with a game against Buller on Sunday, November 1 for the Scanlon/Stretch Challenge Trophy, then head to Nelson for a Newman Shield challenge on November 15.

Then it is up to Napier for the annual Chapple Cup tournament on November 20-22.

Their Hawke Cup qualifying campaign begins with a trip to Rangiora to take on holders Canterbury Country on December 5-6, followed by home games against  Buller (December 12-13) and Nelson (January 23-24, 2021).

Wairau squad: Nick Weaver, Tarin Mason, Alex Kennedy, Chris Turkington, Andrew McCaa, Max Armstrong, Cooper Roberts, Tim Petrie, Hunter Ruffell, Matt Deaker, Cameron Collins, Harry Boyce.

Celtic squad: Jerrym Lamb, Josh Poole, Matt McCormick, John Porter, Andy Fitzpatrick, Logan Robinson, Liam Young, Jayden Adams, Jack Holdaway, James Croker, Matty Bryce, Tom Turner.

Renwick squad: Luke Frankland, Akhil Pant, Sam Solly, Mike Anstiss, Ed Gilhooly, Kirk Nicholas, Cody Golding (short format only), Joe Timms, Blair Timms, Max Brydon, Rikki Bovey, Corey Bovey, Griffin Carter, Hayden Gaudin, Keiran Gaudin, Mark Zillwood, Jacob Zillwood.

Wairau Valley squad: Sam Boyce (co-captain), Matthew Stretch (co- captain), Chris Bartholomeusz, Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, Chirag Jagota, Patrick Moran, Benjamin Ivory-McCullum, Joel Pannell, Tom Sloan, Tom Leonard, Tim Abrahams, Greg Stretch, Patrick Wilkins, Michael Dillon, Luke Pannell.

Falcons squad: Matthew Stretch (captain), Nick Weaver (vice-captain), Sam Boyce, Chris Turkington, Tarin Mason, Chris Bartholomeusz, Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, Benjamin Ivory-McCullum, Cooper Roberts, Andrew McCaa, Harry Boyce, Harry MacDonald, Tim Petrie, Cameron Collins, Max Armstrong, Joel Pannell, Tom Sloan, Patrick Moran, Greg Stretch.

Gains: Chris Bartholomeusz, former Nelson and Canterbury Country allrounder. Moved to Marlborough from Melbourne. Bailey Andrews-Kennedy, Former Otago Country and Southland medium fast bowler. Moved to Marlborough from Dunedin. Losses: Ma’ara Ave, Playing in Palmerston North this season. Joel Lavender, recovering from surgery, due back in the New Year

The Dolphins squad was unavailable at the time of publishing.

Squash player Chris Hebberd is the NZ under-15 champ. Photo: Supplied.

Marlborough students pick up national titles

It has been a big weekend for Marlborough college sportspeople who took advantage of relaxed COVID rules to demonstrate their skills across the country.

Two MBC students bagged national titles, Chris Hebberd at the NZ junior squash champs in Christchurch, and Finn McKenzie at the national secondary schools mountain biking champs in Wellington, where his sister Neve, a Bohally student, also claimed a gold medal.

Hebberd heroics

Hebberd’s national title provided the highlight for the Marlborough contingent at the New Zealand junior squash champs in Christchurch last weekend.

He was top seed in the boys’ under-15 grade and made no mistake on his way to a NZ crown. He downed Kaikoura’s Charlie Prince 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 in a tightly-contested final.

Also on the podium at the nationals was Marlborough competitor Paul Moran, who came runner-up in the final of the boys’ under-17 grade. Moran, the top seed, lost 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 to second-ranked Mason Smales.

Marlborough results

Under-19 boys: Henry Moran 12th. Under-19 girls: Leonie Marshall 7th. Under-17 boys: Paulie Moran 2nd; Tom Marshall 5th. Under-15 boys: Chris Hebberd 1st; Jack Frisken 6th. Under-13 girls: Victoria Moran 5th; Carly Craig 6th.

Good as gold

A gold medal to MBC’s Finn McKenzie in the under-15 cross country capped off a strong showing from the Marlborough contingent at the NZ schools MTB champs held at Maidstone Park and Wainuiomata.

In an event missing one of McKenzie’s main rivals, former NZ champ Cam Anderson, who was injured in a training accident 10 days ago, the MBC youngster underlined his rising status on the national scene. McKenzie also showed promise in the enduro, finishing 10th at his first attempt.

MBC riders picked up several other podium placings, including thirds to Ben Siryani in both the under-15 downhill and enduro.

Jonty Burfoot came second in the under-16 downhill with what coach Paul Molyneux described as an “amazing ride”. He also finished ninth in the enduro.

Cam Clemett showed his allround skills with a fifth in the under-17 downhill, fourth in the enduro and a 10th placing in the cross country.

Tom Morrison came fourth in the under-17 downhill and seventh in enduro, while Jacob Herd managed 10th in the under-16 enduro.

Last year MBC won the overall award but this time they had to settle for third, behind Cashmere High School and John Paul College from Rotorua. MBC also finished third overall in the enduro team section.

Other Marlborough riders involved were Neve McKenzie, from Bohally, and Maddy Sinclair, from MGC.

They both excelled, McKenzie winning the under-13 enduro and placing second in the cross country, while Sinclair came third in the under-15 downhill and fifth in the enduro.

Next year the nationals will be staged in Marlborough.

Rowers return

Marlborough’s rowers finally had a chance to stretch their muscles when the R2K regatta was staged at Lake Ruataniwha on Saturday.

From the Wairau club, Tristan Gregory-Hunt finished third in the A final of the open men’s singles, while Meg Flangan came home second in the A final of the women’s under-19 singles.

Blenheim club rower Ashley-James Fitzgerald won the A final for the under-17 boys single while Fred Vavasour came sixth in the under-19 single.

The Mainland interprovincial champs were also due to be raced on both Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately Sunday’s programme was blown out by high winds, however a few races were completed on Saturday. The Marlborough under-20 coxless four of Flanagan, Liv Theodore, Lily Crawford and Paige Materoa finished third in their A final.

Abbey Moody shoots for goal. Photo: Supplied.

Water polo finals

The Government’s relaxing of the COVID levels could not have come at a better time for the local water polo fraternity who were able to stage their term three finals in front of friends and family at Stadium 2000 recently.

In the junior grade, the under-14 final was between Gladiators and Marlborough Magic, the two standout teams throughout the term. Gladiators came out firing and led 7-4 at three quarter time but, in the last quarter the Magic made a comeback to draw within one goal.

Gladiators’ Scott Keay was the top goal scorer, but his whole team played well as a unit, boding well for future representative teams.

The senior grade final was between Straight off the Couch and the Under-16 girls’ rep team.

SOTC comprised mainly under-18 former Marlborough players and were the favourites going into the game, but the Girls showed the benefit of training hard for the upcoming nationals to forge a 4-3 lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter defence dominated as both sides scored just one further goal.

The third quarter saw SOTC prevail 4-3, leaving the sides locked at 8-8 entering the final period.

The final quarter was a see-saw affair. With less than two minutes to play the Girls went ahead 12-10, but SOTC replied with two quick goals to level at 12-12 going into the last minute.

The Girls scored again with 40 sec left on the clock, then SOTC levelled with just 12 sec remaining.

It looked like there would be a penalty shoot-out but no-one told the Girls who scored the winning goal with four seconds remaining.

Next term starts on October 21 with Minipolo 7-10 year-olds making an overdue comeback now we are back at level 1. If you are keen to give water polo a go, or want your kids to gain some water confidence prior to summer, please register your interest. Email [email protected] , information about Marlborough Water polo is available on the Marlborough Water Polo website.

Val Wadsworth, right, with the Marlborough Girls’ College shooting team. From left, Issy Adams, Sara Wiblin and Sophia Wills. Photo: Peter Jones.

Val’s still happy at home on the range

Some Marlborough names have become synonymous with their chosen sport.

One such person is Val Wadsworth, who recently chalked up a half century of service to the Marlborough RSA Smallbore Rifle Club as a shooter, coach and administrator.

Over those 50 years he has represented Marlborough, the South Island and New Zealand numerous times, while coaching many young shooters to national and international level success.

Although he joined the RSA club in 1970, his connection with smallbore began two years earlier when, as a primary school pupil at Wairau Valley School, he first lined up a target in competition.

His reasons for taking up such an exacting sport are simple.

“Well, it was a small country town and there’s not much to do is there?

“Too young for bowls, couldn’t go to the pub to play darts and I wasn’t big enough to play rugby – so what else is there?

“There was a good, strong club at Wairau Valley … some really good shooters came out of there, the likes of Don McClellan, Laurie Moore, John and Ken Anderson being the senior members in those days.

“Then, in 1970, I effectively got poached by a friend of Dad’s [Wilf Collett] who shot at RSA … I still feel a bit guilty about that.”

As he rose through the ranks at RSA, Val was quickly bitten by the shooting bug, although he admits it’s not a pursuit for everyone.

“[The sport] just appealed to me … it’s hard to know what attracts you to it. We get people down [at the RSA range] who give it a go but it doesn’t spin their wheels. It’s a mental sport and you have got to want to do it if you hope to make it to higher levels.”

Val says that chasing provincial and national honours “just wasn’t on the radar” in his formative years.

Simply getting a higher grading for the next year was the goal.

“I remember looking at the Master graders when I was in B or C grade and thinking, wow, those guys can shoot.”

It wasn’t long however before he began to rise through the grades and then began to shoot outside the province.

“RSA was probably a little more social than the Blenheim club, and that was where the likes of Leon and Noeline Griebel, Doris and Geoff Holdaway were shooting … they were travelling away and they took me along as well on some of the competition shoots. Then you get a taste for competition and just keep building.”

His first national representation came in 1989, when he made the NZ Open team after the champs in Masterton. It was a moment he has never forgotten and still stands out as a career highlight, despite wearing the silver fern on many subsequent occasions.

Always keen to give back to the sport, Val has coached up-and-coming shooters for the past 25 years.

Alongside Glenn Harris and Sue Cresswell, Val has mentored the Marlborough Girls’ College team and gets a great thrill out of seeing the young ones coming through and doing well.

Val says there has never been a shortage of students keen to try their hand.

“Because it’s something different … and you can come and try it without having to sign up or buy specialised gear … you can just come along as a casual and try it, we provide all the gear.

“But it has a high attrition rate because, as I said, it doesn’t appeal to everybody.”

Three youngsters who it does appeal to though are the current MGC senior team, comprising 18-year-olds Issy Adams and Sophia Wills, plus Sara Wiblin (17).

On Sunday, the trio competed in the National Secondary Schools Smallbore Championships at the RSA range. The event was meant to be staged in Marlborough but, because of COVID, had to be shot live at different venues.

Val was thrilled with their efforts, especially that of Issy who shot her way into the South Island and national teams.

“She actually top scored the school match with a record score of 298.21, and then was subsequently selected in both the South Island and New Zealand teams … a top effort,” he said with obvious pride.

He admits his sport is facing future challenges.

“The firearms legislation and a lesser acceptance of firearms by a greater proportion of the community have had an impact … this is not a bad sport though, it is a full Olympic sport but we get lumped in with the people who do silly things with firearms.”

On the positive side, Val says the sport offers many benefits when it comes to the development of skills and character.

“There is a lot of concentration, mental application and discipline required.”

As to his own future in the sport, Val is, as usual, understated when he suggests, “I’ve got a couple of years left in me yet”.

Given he is currently the RSA club secretary, Marlborough association secretary and life member, plus South Island Target Shooting Association president, there will be plenty of folk hoping he is involved for even longer than that.

The Tasman Mako were outplayed by an inspired North Harbour combination on Sunday. Photo: Shutterpsort.

Mako lose unbeaten record

There’s another reason, apart from chronological order, why the low numbers are written first on a team sheet. Because, generally, their performance dictates the outcome of a match.

And so it was at Albany on Sunday as the Mako, unbeaten in their previous 15 games, had their fins lowered 40-24 by an inspired North Harbour combination.

The damage began up front, Harbour’s hefty pack taking control at scrum time, which created a steady flow of penalties and ultimately two yellow cards. The northerners also competed willingly at the breakdown, throwing the Mako off their stride and ensuring their ball was either laboured or rushed.

Tasman were haunted by the ghost of seasons’ past, namely former coach Kieran Keane, a man who relishes the underdog tag.

After a loss to lowly Southland last weekend, Harbour’s competitive fires would have been fuelled, with Keane stoking the flames all week long. His troops demonstrated desperation and excitement all afternoon, usually the hallmark of a Mako performance.

Even more concerning from a Tasman standpoint was their discipline, with referee Nick Briant whistling 20 penalties against them. That statistic, and the fact the only time the Mako were able to build pressure and create tries, apart from two timely interceptions, was in the final minutes, will be a subject of much conversation at Tasman training this week.

Co-head coach Andrew Goodman was straight to the point when asked where the problem lay.

“Well, [giving away] 20 penalties and with your set piece under as much pressure as it was out there, it’s always going to be a hard afternoon … especially when you give a quality team like Harbour that many opportunities inside our own half.

“We knew they were going to come hard at the breakdown. When we got down to 13 men we actually did well to get a try and just trail by two, then when we came back on with our full 15 we just struggled to find our shape.

“Full credit to Harbour, they deserved to win.”

Tasman’s scrum issues are in stark contrast last year’s efforts when they were often the team creating pressure at scrum time, winning penalties and building momentum through the set piece.

However the loss of such tight five powerhouses as Wyatt Crockett, Tim Perry, Tyrel Lomax, Atu Moli, Quinten Strange and Pari Pari Parkinson has throw the onus back on a new combination and today’s effort suggests there is still some work to be done.

Goodman said there was no problem with the side’s preparation this week. “The boys prepared and were ready for it as well as they could … we had a good training week and the mindset was good … it’s just one of those things, we got out-performed on the day.”

He had praise for his opposite head coach, having played under Keane in days gone by.

“He’s a smart coach and we have huge respect for KK as a person and a coach … congratulations to him and his team on their win,” he added.

With their long unbeaten record abruptly ended, the Mako will quickly turn their attention to their next clash, against Bay of Plenty in Nelson on Sunday.

Goodman said, “We’ll have a good, honest review and make sure we bounce back next week. We will have a look at what we do when teams put us under pressure, how we get back on top of the game.

“Every game you have to be right up there or this sort of result will happen, but the great thing about this squad is our fine young leadership group who will make sure we have an honest review and we look forward to getting back on Trafalgar Park … I’m sure there will be some good excitement around having an awesome response next week.”

If, as Tasman skipper David Havili suggested, “[the defeat] was just one bump in the road”, how quickly the Mako can get back into the fast lane will decide whether they are truly premiership material.

Meanwhile, in Motueka on Sunday, the Tasman Mako women slid to their fourth consecutive defeat, beaten 62-5 by Hawke’s Bay in the Farah Palmer Cup clash.

At halftime the visitors led 19-0 but the floodgates opened in the second spell. Pippa Andrews scored a consolation try for Tasman.

The women’s final game is away against Canterbury on October 17.

Hugo Escalle, from the Rangers Kiwis team, shoots for goal during her side’s match against clubmates Rangers Red on Tuesday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Young footballers relish tournament play

FC Nelson Tornadoes came out on top of their 11th-12th grade tier 1 rivals after the two-day tournament at A and P Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Nelson-based side went unbeaten through pool play, winning four of their five games with one draw, and took on local side Rangers Kiwis, who previously won three, lost one and drew one, in the final.

Tornadoes prevailed 7-2 in a skilful encounter, underlining their dominance over the two days.

Rangers Kiwis, who claimed the fair play award, finished second, FC Nelson Thunder were third, Motueka Titans fourth, BV Yellow fifth and Rangers Red sixth.

Ben Lindfield, from the Rangers Red team, drives between two Rangers Kiwis defenders.  
Ben Lindfield, from the Rangers Red team, drives between two Rangers Kiwis defenders.

Tournament MVP was FC Nelson Thunder player Ronan O’Donnell.

In the tier 2 competition, Nelson Suburbs beat BV Jets 7-1 in the final to take top spot. Suburbs were unbeaten in pool play.

FC Nelson United claimed the fair play award, while Ami Bruce from Nelson Suburbs was voted MVP by opposing teams.

Third was the Richmond Raptors, with BV Phoenix fourth, Rangers White fifth and FC Nelson Utd sixth.

Liam Sluiter was one of Rangers’ best on a tough afternoon in Nelson. Photo: Shuttersport.

Rangers forced to settle for league title after cup final loss

Rangers AFC, having swept all before them this season, tripped at the final hurdle in Nelson on Saturday.

Bidding for the league/cup double in the Nelson division one competition, Rangers lost 3-1 in the Price Charity Cup final to Nelson FC at Guppy Park.

Having wrapped up the league title a few weeks ago, as well as having previously beaten FC three times during that competition, Rangers were favoured heading into Saturday’s game but went down to a side who made the most of the  chances that came their way.

Manager Wolfie Waechter said although Rangers side were naturally disappointed after the tight encounter, “their heads are not down, they played a great season and today was no different.

“It was just one of those games … sometimes there are just a couple of big moments in the game that decide which way it goes.

“It was a really good game, two close teams and it could have gone either way. The boys were well up for it.”

Early on Rangers, who began strongest, created a couple of prime opportunities to open the scoring.

“In any other game we would have scored from both those chances and game over, but we didn’t and they came back into the game and scored just before halftime, catching us on the break,” explained Waechter.

Rangers had keeper Dan Diamond to thank for the narrow margin at halftime, a couple of superb saves in one-on-one situations keeping the visitors in the game.

Rangers came out in the second spell with an attacking mindset, but were caught out again after five minutes.

“We didn’t clear the ball, they squared it back into the box and then scored from around five metres. Our keeper had no chance,” said Waechter.

However Rangers were far from done and, with 25 minutes to play they were on the scoresheet. Carl Connor-McClean played a fine one-two with Liam Sluiter then slammed the ball into the top left hand corner to drag the visitors back into the match.

At 2-1 it was game on, and play see-sawed up and down the paddock. Both sides had chances but Rangers pressed harder, exposing themselves at the back and, with just a couple of minutes to play, FC Nelson wrapped it up with their third to place their hands firmly on the trophy.

“Our guys gave their all,” said Waechter, “at the end they were absolutely exhausted. We had to use the entire bench to keep some fresh legs out there.”

He said it was a real team effort by Rangers, although a few players stood out in the season finale including Diamond, the energetic Sluiter, winger Aaron Hayes, target man Connor-McClean, replacement Ollie Baker, Sam Pearson, following a long injury break, Keagan Mortimer and workhorse Martin Delgado.

“I know the lads are not too down because they know they put a really good shift in … that’s the thing about sport, sometimes even with your best efforts things don’t go your way and that’s how it was today.”

At the end of proceedings Rangers were presented with the league trophy, reward for a superb campaign and recognition of the effort required to compete in a Nelson-based competition.

They made 10 trips over the Whangamoas during their 18-match season, usually in the Blenheim Toyota-sponsored Community Van.

Waechter said although they spent plenty of time on the road the frequent trips helped bond the team together, making them a very tight unit as the season progressed.

“All in all it was a fantastic season and after the match the FC Nelson people acknowledged that we were the strongest team, who played the best football and were the team to beat all season long,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the women’s final at Neale Park, the Richmond Foxes were too good for Nelson Suburbs, claiming the title in a 4-1 win.

Honk ‘n’ Jack weaves through the traffic. Photo: Supplied.

Yachts flock to Waikawa regatta

Despite Covid-19 limitations, the Waikawa Boating Club’s annual women’s regatta, sponsored by Mud House Wines, boasted the largest fleet in the event’s history.

The waters of Queen Charlotte Sound saw over 170 sailors on 24 boats compete in two divisions.

Saturday saw the fleet take on two ‘long harbour’ courses, a dying southerly offering conditions that favoured those with local knowledge as boats picked their way from breeze line to breeze line and significant gains and losses were made. With many of the fleet aboard their boats for the first time, the learning curve was steep. Race two took place in a gently-building norwester, allowing visitors another look at the challenges of Sounds sailing. After the learning session of the morning, boat handling and trimming stepped up considerably as the boats were driven harder and the chance came to explore sail wardrobes.

A highlight of Saturday evening’s regatta dinner was a chance to hear from four Kiwi ‘Maidens’ (women who have sailed as part of the Maiden crew) – Jo Lowrey, Sharon Ferris Choat, Jo Ivory and Tash Fickling. The Maiden experience continued at Sunday breakfast with a Zoom linkup with Tracy Edwards MBE, the driving force behind the Maiden campaign.

Sunday’s buoy racing got off to a slow start as the forecast breeze built.

Some great sail handling and tactical sailing kept margins close and the committee boat busy recording some very tight finishes.

Evidence of the close competition came at prize giving with both divisions decided on countback after the top boats finished tied together on points. In division 2 local skipper Adrienne Crossen brought Sequin home for the win, the Jeanneau 36 beating out Farr 727 Freaky, skippered by Mandy Carpenter, on countback with Young 780 D’Edge, in the hands of Felicity Loncar, two points back in third.

Division 1 saw some huge gains, Jo Lowrey coming to terms with Khamsin to win the final race after three mid-field finishes, the big Beneteau First 456 showing a good turn of pace once the breeze built. In the final analysis the well-performed Farr 30 Loco, in the hands of top centreboard sailor Emily Overend, took the division on countback from Amnesty, the Wellington-based Farr 11.6 guided around the course by Ingrid Harder. After winning division 2 in 2019 on her Young 88 Abracadabra, skipper Karen Selway stepped up to division 1, helming the Ross 12 Revs to a consistent set of results enabling her to sneak in a point ahead of line honours winner Satellite Spy, the Ross 40 performing well with Carla Dixon as skipper for the third consecutive year.

Worthy of note was the performance of the RNZYS Youth Training Programme crew. With no previous trapezing experience the team rose to the challenge aboard the Thompson 750 Honk ‘n’ Jack. A series of mid-field results and some tight duels with boats around them saw the team go home with great smiles and a good deal of experience gathered on the race track.

With dates already set for 2021 (September 18-19) crews are already booking accommodation and flights for what is becoming one of the ‘must-do’ events on the sailing calendar.

The winning Robinson Construction crew, from left, Mark Watson, Nick Robinson, Hugh Robinson and professional Josh Geary. Photo: Peter Jones.

Course record broken during Pro-Am

The Marlborough Golf Club has a new course record holder.

Millbrook professional Ben Gallie shot a five-under-par 67 during Thursday’s Whitehaven Wines Pro-Am at the Fairhall venue, breaking the previous record of 69.

The Otago-based player, who was one of the late starters and had to battle blustery winds, was somewhat surprised by his success, especially given the limited amount of competition golf he has played in recent times.

“I’m a full time [goal] teacher at Millbrook and I haven’t actually played any competitive rounds for about five years,” he explained.

His first return to competition came on Wednesday in Nelson, at their Pro-Am where he shot a 73, a score he termed “OK”.

New course record holder Ben Gallie. Photo: Supplied.
New course record holder Ben Gallie. Photo: Supplied.

Ben was doubly surprised to win in Blenheim, given the strength of the field which was bolstered by several professionals who would be plying their trade on various tours abroad but for COVID. In total, 52 professionals turned out yesterday.

“The level of golf this year was pretty awesome so it was good to be able to beat the guys that play full-time.”

Among that list he mentioned high profile players such as Josh Geary and Michael Hendry, plus rising stars such as Kieran Muir and Dan Hillier.

“They play pretty solid golf so it was pretty good [to get the win]. I hit seven birdies and two bogeys, drove two of the par fours and birdied all of the par fives.

“I’ve got a new driver in my bag, the new Ping G425 that hasn’t come out yet, and I’ll be keeping it,” he added.

Although Ben knew what the course record was he felt someone else would go lower on the day.

“I didn’t think my score would be good enough … I assumed someone would be about seven-under, looking at the scores from Nelson, so was hoping I would get top-five, then someone said when I came in ‘you are leading by two and have got the new course record so get your speech ready’.”

Ben enjoyed the course, a layout he had never played on before.

“I didn’t have a practise round so I didn’t actually know where I was going”, he said, “so I was just using my laser and aiming and firing and it turned out quite well.”

Six professionals either equalled or beat the previous course record.

The top team on the day was the Robinson Construction combination. They played with Geary, who finished second with a 69 on the individual standings. The Robinson’s team comprised Nick and Hugh Robinson, plus Mark Watson.

Second was the Whitehaven Wines team of Hendry, Julian Terry, Wendy Batchelor and Allan Shutkowsi.

Leading teams: 

1 Robinson Construction – Nick and Hugh Robinson, Mark Watson and their pro player Josh Geary

2 Whitehaven Wines – Julian Terry, Wendy Batchelor, Allan Shutkowski and pro Michael Hendry

3 Barking Cat – Murray Swanson, Lance Nuttal, Duncan Bint and pro Kieran Muir (last year’s winning professional)

4 Harcourts – Mark Davis, David Searle, John Davis and pro Peter Fowler

5 The Pin Seekers – Pru Jensen, Marion Tripe, Lizzie Turnbull and Harry Bateman

6 McKendry Ford – Tracy Bary, Marilyn Smit, Julie Smith and Gareth Paddison

7 Teamsters – Sue Murray, Steve Marfell, Tony Jordan and Troy Ropiha

8 North and South – Mark Kininmonth, Youngho Cho, Malcolm Mackenzie and Robin Smalley

9 Kaikoura Livestock Limited – Liam Harnett, John McDonald, Geoff Pacey and Lachie McDonald

10th Pertatetts – Roger Pears, Shane Tate, Sean Hassett and Peter Giles

The Ping Putter was won by Julian Terry – the money raised from this putting competition bought a set of golf club and trundler for Junior Golf.

Leading professionals

1 Ben Gallie from Millbrook who shot 67 (broke the current course record of 69); 2 Josh Geary 69; 3 on countback 69 Michael Hendry; 4 on countback 69 Mark Hutson; 5 on countback 69 Tae Koh; 6 on countback 69 Kieran Muir.

Halfback Pippa Andrews battles with the Otago defence. Photo: Shuttersport.

Mako women choose to look on the bright side

The Tasman Mako women are off the mark.

After a couple of decent reversals in their opening two Farah Palmer Cup fixtures they bounced back with some points of their own at Trafalgar Park on Saturday.

Although well beaten, 67-24 by a slick Otago Spirit side, the Mako managed four tries to claim a hard-earned competition bonus point.

They began the game slowly, still reeling from an 88-0 loss to Manawatu last week, and were quickly behind 21-0. However they showed admirable spirit to work their way into the game.

Before halftime they had their first try, and their first points of the campaign, hooker Stephani Mitchell barging over from close range to make the score 33-5 at the break.

The Mako conceded a try immediately following the restart but immediately afterwards had their second, this time to skipper and loosehead prop Anna Bradley.

Although the Otago tries kept coming, Tasman notched a third after 60 minutes when Mitchell bagged her brace. This time the conversion from impressive right winger Eve Finlay was successful.

The home side’s final try came tight on fulltime, reserve prop Ashley Ulutupu grabbing a five-pointer to finish the match on a high and pick up a bonus point.

Tasman head coach Mel Bosman said, “there was much more self-belief out there … the message we gave them today was not to be afraid of the unstructured play and to have a crack, and they did, so I am really proud of them.

“They are definitely making progress … they are in a better head space this week.”

She singled out fullback Bethan Manners, flanker and co-captain Tamara Silcock and young prop Alisi Seigafo for special mention, plus Finlay and lock Gina Healey, who broke her nose in the warm-up but played through.

Mel said two heavy opening defeats had been a bitter pill for some of the squad members to swallow but they had handled it well.

“Big defeats like that first up can be hugely soul-destroying for young players but as coaches we have tried to put things in perspective … as to what that actually looks like in the bigger picture.

It’s a new team, it’s a new structure … 88 points against us last week is only one moment in time and we have many more moments ahead of us.”

Next up for the Mako women is a game against Hawke’s Bay in Motueka next weekend.

We are looking forward to that game,” said Mel.

“We are definitely going to build on this one … there is only one way for us and that is to keep moving forward slowly but surely.”