Strong finish from Poverty Bay-East Coast

By far the smallest golfing district in New Zealand yesterday finished ahead of three others at the national interprovincial tournament.

By far the smallest golfing district in New Zealand yesterday finished ahead of three others at the national interprovincial tournament.

IF you counted the number of golf courses in the Poverty Bay-East Coast region on two hands you would have two fingers and a thumb left over.

Only two of those are 18-hole tracks. Almost all the rest fall into the country club category.

Yet somehow, by far the smallest golfing district in New Zealand yesterday finished ahead of three others at the national interprovincial tournament on New Plymouth’s Ngamotu course.

PBEC made it two team wins in a row with a 3½-1½ victory over Aorangi in their final group clash.

It wasn’t a surprise. Certainly not to the players, their managers and a fair few fellow golfers at home.

Last year they also beat South Island province Aorangi, often their rivals in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Yesterday’s victory came the day after they toppled Hawke’s Bay and underlined the week-long progression of a tightknit group, all but one of whom have had extensive experience of this prestigious tournament.

What they didn’t have was the competitive preparation. And perhaps if they had, it could have been a top-10 story being told.

The national interprovincial is the only representative event PBEC play nowadays.

For decades they had two, even three, quadrangulars featuring the likes of Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay, but those ended two years ago. They also no longer play in the Southland Invitational interprovincial strokeplay.

The only provincial workout they got this year was a “friendly” against Hawke’s Bay . . . unlike all 14 other provinces.

PBEC will take the 12th ranking and finishing ahead of Northland (whom they did not play), Hawke’s Bay and Aorangi.

But as team manager Dave Keown said after the 3-2 win against Hawke’s Bay on Thursday, even two team wins would not reflect how well they played.

In his words: “bloody well from the first day”.

He would point out how close most of the individual matches were. There were a couple of 14th-hole defeats but the majority of matches went to 16 and beyond, and a large proportion were decided on 17 and 18.

Yesterday’s win also reflected the growing confidence of the players and the development of their ability to step up when the acid dripped in the latter holes — a weakness of past teams.

Keown used the words “fighting spirit” all week and yesterday was no different.

PBEC No.2 Peter Kerekere exemplified that in coming back from 2-down to beat Jeff Hewitt 2 and 1 — an effort that earned him the description of “streetfighter” from his manager.

Their other victories also came on the 17th. No.1 Nathaniel Cassidy defeated Garth Simpson and Andrew Higham made it three wins in a row in downing Nigel Heney.

No.5 Te Raumati “Tini” Hawea had his second half of the week — sharing the honours with Regan Stills.

Teenager Hawea was playing in his first national interprovincial and he was there predominantly to gain experience.

The five matches he played — reserve Tony Akroyd replaced him for one clash — will only be good for his game.

No.3 William Brown was the only player to taste defeat yesterday. He went down 3 and 1 to Daniel Perham, who lost just one match all week.

Keown always had a good feeling about yesterday. He told the team before the Hawke’s Bay tie that it would be their day in the sun. And he reiterated that yesterday morning when telling them to look at the sun emblem on their shirts, and that it would “be our day again”.

The team will return home — all but Tokoroa-based Cassidy to Gisborne — and enjoy a break. But next year should not be too far from their minds, depending on what lies ahead of them in other aspects of their lives.

A major issue for PBEC golf at this level is depth. There is a huge void to fill if you take two or three of these players out of the equation.

The PBEC Golf Association can be proud of this week’s performance but also needs to be looking to the future.

This morning’s semifinals at the national interprovincials were Otago versus Wellington and North Harbour versus defending champions Waikato.

Gisborne man and former PBEC rep Paul Mountcastle’s son Kerry Mountcastle is in the Wellington team and has had an outstanding tournament so far, winning five matches and halving the other.

IF you counted the number of golf courses in the Poverty Bay-East Coast region on two hands you would have two fingers and a thumb left over.

Only two of those are 18-hole tracks. Almost all the rest fall into the country club category.

Yet somehow, by far the smallest golfing district in New Zealand yesterday finished ahead of three others at the national interprovincial tournament on New Plymouth’s Ngamotu course.

PBEC made it two team wins in a row with a 3½-1½ victory over Aorangi in their final group clash.

It wasn’t a surprise. Certainly not to the players, their managers and a fair few fellow golfers at home.

Last year they also beat South Island province Aorangi, often their rivals in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Yesterday’s victory came the day after they toppled Hawke’s Bay and underlined the week-long progression of a tightknit group, all but one of whom have had extensive experience of this prestigious tournament.

What they didn’t have was the competitive preparation. And perhaps if they had, it could have been a top-10 story being told.

The national interprovincial is the only representative event PBEC play nowadays.

For decades they had two, even three, quadrangulars featuring the likes of Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay, but those ended two years ago. They also no longer play in the Southland Invitational interprovincial strokeplay.

The only provincial workout they got this year was a “friendly” against Hawke’s Bay . . . unlike all 14 other provinces.

PBEC will take the 12th ranking and finishing ahead of Northland (whom they did not play), Hawke’s Bay and Aorangi.

But as team manager Dave Keown said after the 3-2 win against Hawke’s Bay on Thursday, even two team wins would not reflect how well they played.

In his words: “bloody well from the first day”.

He would point out how close most of the individual matches were. There were a couple of 14th-hole defeats but the majority of matches went to 16 and beyond, and a large proportion were decided on 17 and 18.

Yesterday’s win also reflected the growing confidence of the players and the development of their ability to step up when the acid dripped in the latter holes — a weakness of past teams.

Keown used the words “fighting spirit” all week and yesterday was no different.

PBEC No.2 Peter Kerekere exemplified that in coming back from 2-down to beat Jeff Hewitt 2 and 1 — an effort that earned him the description of “streetfighter” from his manager.

Their other victories also came on the 17th. No.1 Nathaniel Cassidy defeated Garth Simpson and Andrew Higham made it three wins in a row in downing Nigel Heney.

No.5 Te Raumati “Tini” Hawea had his second half of the week — sharing the honours with Regan Stills.

Teenager Hawea was playing in his first national interprovincial and he was there predominantly to gain experience.

The five matches he played — reserve Tony Akroyd replaced him for one clash — will only be good for his game.

No.3 William Brown was the only player to taste defeat yesterday. He went down 3 and 1 to Daniel Perham, who lost just one match all week.

Keown always had a good feeling about yesterday. He told the team before the Hawke’s Bay tie that it would be their day in the sun. And he reiterated that yesterday morning when telling them to look at the sun emblem on their shirts, and that it would “be our day again”.

The team will return home — all but Tokoroa-based Cassidy to Gisborne — and enjoy a break. But next year should not be too far from their minds, depending on what lies ahead of them in other aspects of their lives.

A major issue for PBEC golf at this level is depth. There is a huge void to fill if you take two or three of these players out of the equation.

The PBEC Golf Association can be proud of this week’s performance but also needs to be looking to the future.

This morning’s semifinals at the national interprovincials were Otago versus Wellington and North Harbour versus defending champions Waikato.

Gisborne man and former PBEC rep Paul Mountcastle’s son Kerry Mountcastle is in the Wellington team and has had an outstanding tournament so far, winning five matches and halving the other.

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