Sloan team spectators to finals drama
- 4 September 2023
- Peter Watson
Our Sloan Trophy team ended a frustrating season on a disappointing note in going down to Totaradale at Motueka before witnessing some gripping final-round drama on Sunday (Sept 3)
Sudden death was required to decide who won the title after both Totaradale and Golden Downs finished on 51 points each.
In front of a large gallery the two No 1s, Mark Topia (Totaradale) and John Galletly (Golden Downs), teed off on the par five No 18. It looked all over when Mark hit his drive and second down the middle while John drove into the trees and took four to get near the green. But pressure does strange things and Mark thinned a routine wedge over the back and out of bounds. He then failed to get up and down, while John chipped to 10 feet and sank a curling putt for a six to clinch the cup in astonishing fashion.
Going into the final round with a one-point lead over Totaradale, Golden Downs did just enough to get into the play-off by downing Nelson 6.5 to 2.5 to match Totaradale who dispatched Waahi Taakaro 7.5 to 1.5.
Our loss to Totaradale meant we finished sixth, with just one win, five draws and two losses over the season.
None of our top five played particularly well, with the speedy greens causing problems. The only bright light of the day came from our No 6 Warren Carey who streaked to a five-up lead after nine holes before a slight hiccup on the way to a comfortable 3/2 win.
His fellow junior Lewis Wilson was always behind against former Waahi Taakaro member Elton Netto who showed the benefit of hitting it down the middle. Two down at the turn, Lewis quickly dropped away to a 5/4 defeat.
No 4 Jonathan Tuheke had a horror front nine to be seven down and despite a minor revival he was thumped 6/5.
Andy Isle showed some ticker after being two down at the turn to fight back and square his match.
Keri Kotua also found himself three down at the halfway mark. He pulled it back to one-down with two to go before losing the 17th and the match 2/1.
No 1 Peter Green was in danger of an early handshake after falling four behind after nine holes, but two halves and three wins on the trot saw him head down the last just one down. However, he could only halve the hole for a narrow loss.
In other matches, Murchison claimed a deserved third place with a 6.5 to 2.5 win over Greenacres, while Takaka took fourth by defeating Tasman 7 to 2.
So the final points table saw Golden Downs and Totaradale on 51, Murchison 35, Takaka 34.5, Nelson 33.5, Waahi Taakaro 30, Motueka 28, Tasman 27.5 and Greenacres 20.5.
Our best performers of the season were James Campion who won all three of his matches and Warren Carey who won both of his. Lewis Wilson was the only player to tee it up in every round and he finished with three wins, three draws and two losses. Jonathan Tuheke was next best with two wins, a draw and two losses.