Sloan team stuck in neutral

  • 21 May 2024
  • Peter Watson


Our Sloan team are going nowhere fast after going down to defending champions Golden Downs on Sunday (May 19).

The 7-2 defeat at Totaradale sees us stuck in second last place after five of nine rounds, with the only redeeming feature is that we have already had our bye and played the three leading teams.

It didn't start well on Sunday with our No 6 Andrew Craig two down after three, although he recovered well to be all square at the turn. However, he found it tough going early on the back nine to be two down with three to play. He had a chance to square the match after winning his 17th but stumbled to a 2 down loss.

Our ever-reliable Sloan veteran Lewis Wilson answered a late call-up and got us back on even terms. Three up at the midway point against a recent tournament winner, pars at No 10, 14 and 15 saw him coast to a 4/3 win.

Mike Williams endured a tough debut at No 4, letting nerves get the better of him early on as he suffered a 7/6 beating against an experienced opponent. Despite a 4-shot advantage, Mike lost the first three holes and never recovered.

His fellow intermediate, Geoff Halkett, won his first hole but lost the next five against a revved-up rival. To Geoff's credit, he rallied with birdies at No 7 and 8 but still turned for home three down. Another win at the 10th trimmed the deficit but an errant tee shot at No 13 proved costly and he eventually succumbed 3/2.

Our Sloan selector, Keri Kotua, made his first appearance for the year a successful one battling back from two down at the turn against the big hitting Gazza Oldham to snatch victory at the last. Giving away two shots, Keri went further behind after bogeying the 10th but a birdie on the 14th and a par on the 17th meant he went down the 18th all square.  With Gazza hitting his approach out of bounds, Keri sunk a nervy three-footer for a bogey and the win.

With the team reliant on James Campion for a share of the points, our No 1 was always on the back foot against an in-form John Galletly who birdied the opening two holes. James birdied the par five No 5 to cut the lead to one but he bogeyed No 8  to end the front nine two behind. Struggling for consistency off the tee, he birdied No 12 to get closer but lost No 13 and No 15  to go dormie. A poor chip on No 17 signalled the end and a 2/1 defeat against an ultra consistent opponent, despite James shooting 75 off the stick.

In other results, Takaka whitewashed Tasman 9-0, Motueka bested Murchison 7-2 and Greenacres got the better of Nelson 6.5-2.5.

So after five rounds, Golden Downs lead on 35 points, with Motueka (31) and Totaradale (30) still well in contention, with Totaradale the only one to have had their bye.

They are followed by Takaka (22), Greenacres (17), Nelson (14.5), Murchison (13.5) and Waahi Taakaro (12.5). Languishing in last place is Tasman on 4.5 points.


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