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2024 NZ Interprovincial Overview

Posted by: on 11 December 2023

The 2024 edition of the Men’s and Women’s NZ Interprovincial tournament was played last week on the Kapiti Coast with the Men’s and Women’s premier Representative competitions once again being played in parallel to each other at Paraparaumu Beach and Waikanae Golf Clubs.

NZ Men’s Interprovincial

The Canterbury Men’s team had several new faces involved with 4 players in total making their debut for Canterbury at the NZ Interprovincial level. Tom Lee, in his first season representing Canterbury, was selected in the one position having previously played in this position in the past during his time in Otago. The number 4 spot went to 15-year-old Cooper Moore who attended the event in a development capacity 12 months earlier and has since proved himself to be included in the main lineup for 2024. The number 5 spot saw the experienced Tim Leonard representing Canterbury at this level for the first time after several years formerly with Aorangi. The final debutant was Seb May in the reserve spot after several years representing the Canterbury Boys’ team and continuing an impressive season which of course included his NZ Amateur Championship victory just last month. Other familiar faces included number 3 and team captain Reid Hilton returning for his 7th successive interprovincial tournament alongside number 2 Dominic Brettkelly playing in his 4th tournament. The team was also managed by the experienced Mike Taylor and Kerry Chuck.

In round one the team took on Waikato who managed to get the better of them 12 months earlier. The team was however able to turn around that result coming away with a 3.5-1.5. Tom Lee and Cooper Moore getting their debut wins 3/2 and 2/1 respectively with Hilton also prevailing. Onto the second-round match on the doubleheader day 1 where the men faced Hawkes Bay. Unfortunately this time we were on the other side of the 3.5-1.5 scoreline in a very tight contest which saw both Brettkelly lose 1down and debutant Seb May, who came in at the 5 sport in place of Tim Leonard, also going 1down. Hilton was the only victor with Moore picking up a half.

On to Day 2 and with the morning BYE it was an important match then in the afternoon vs North Harbour. Thankfully the men were up to the task winning 3-2 with wins to Lee 4/3, Hilton 3/1 and Tim Leonard recorded his first victory 3/1. Day 3 saw all teams just playing the one match with Canterbury taking on neighbours Aorangi. In a dominant display, the Cantabs came away with a 5-0 victory with Brettkelly getting his win 3/2 and the impressive Reid Hilton continuing on his strong form with a comfortable 6/5 victory. Lee was also impressive winning 7/6 with Moore winning 4/3 and Leonard 2Up to round out the perfect performance.

With 3 wins and one defeat Friday’s double-round day would decide whether the team would proceed to semi-final action on Saturday with several teams still able to qualify. First up we faced table leaders Auckland with the men coming very close to prevailing but in the end having to settle for a 2.5-2.5 draw. Hilton and Moore again were solid in the middle of the order both winning 4/3 while Brettkelly and Leonard unfortunately fell 1down with Lee managing a half at the top of the order. The final round-robin contest saw us take on Southland who started the event very well and beat Canterbury at this event in 2023. Fortunately, Canterbury had enough this year winning 3-2 with Hilton and Moore once again proving dominant winning 7/5 and 7/6 respectively. Tom Lee added the other win at the top with that result being enough for the men to claim second spot in their pool and progress to the Saturday semis.

On Saturday the men had a tough task taking on defending champions Bay of Plenty who topped the other pool. The men handled themselves very well however throughout a tight contest in which every match went to at least the 17th hole. Lee and Hilton were able to claim 2/1 victories but with Brettkelly and Leonard falling it all came down to the result of the Cooper Moore match vs Trent Munn. With Moore two down with two to play the young talent showed his resilience winning 17 and 18 to force a playoff hole. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite able to complete the job with the match being decided on the 20th hole with Bay of Plenty just sneaking through and ending Canterbury’s tournament. They went on to fall to Auckland in the final 3-2.

Overall, it was a solid effort from the Canterbury team with many new faces, securing a third-placed finish. Captain Reid Hilton was outstanding throughout winning all of his 8 matches in the number three spot. Cooper Moore was also impressive on debut with 4 wins and 2 halves and just 1 defeat with Tom Lee also leading very well from the front with 5 wins and one half and defeat. Full results can be viewed – HERE.

Pictured below from left to right:
Front- Cooper Moore, Reid Hilton (captain), Dominic Brettkelly
Back- Kerry Chuck (Assistant Manager), Tim Leonard, Seb May (reserve), Tom Lee, Mike Taylor (Manager.)

Team Photo

NZ Women’s Interprovincial

The Flexi Lease Canterbury Women’s team also had a very new and young look to their team with 4 debutants within the squad. Four new teenagers were included this year, all members of the successful Canterbury Girls team who won their NZ Interprovincial tournament back in October. 15-year-old Sora Kishida came into the team and played in the tough number one spot with her Rangiora clubmate Mikana Suto (16) playing in the number 4 position. The impressive Aroha Minhinnick (16), who had previously played for Tasman at this level, made her Canterbury NZ Interprovincial debut in the number 2 spot with her clubmate Zarai Bourne (15) also debuting at this level at number 5. Olive Tapu fresh off representing Samoa at the Pacific Games added some much-needed experience playing in the number 2 spot in her 6th successive NZ Interprovincial with Mel Newburn also in the reserve position. The team was managed again by Debbie Scott and Julie Jones.

The tournament was played in a newly revised format that saw the tournament split into two different divisions which were seeded based on the finishing positions of provinces over the last 5 events. This saw Canterbury placed in Division 1 (the only South Island province to be in the division) with 5 other teams who were competing for the title as well as trying to preserve their Division 1 status for next season with the knowledge that the 6th pace team would be being relegated to division 2 for next year’s event. Division 2 was made up of 6 teams who were all competing for promotion to Division 1 for 2024.

Day 1 provided a steep learning curve for our very young and inexperienced Canterbury team at this level and unfortunately saw the team suffer two heavy defeats. First up we struck a strong Manawatu/Wanganui team who prevailed 4.5-.5. Olive Tapu was able to get the half against her Samoan teammate Faith Vu who last month won the NZ Women’s Amateur Championship. In the afternoon the team again faced tough opposition in Bay of Plenty who won out 4-1. The standout performer in that match was Aroha Minhinnick who played a sub-par round to win 1Up vs Taylor Rose-Parrett. Several of the other matches were close too with Mel Newburn coming in at the number 5 position and narrowly falling 2down with her opponent birdieing the last two holes while both Tapu and Sora Kishida fell 2/1.

Looking to put a tough day behind them and take the lesson learnt on Day 2 they came up against defending champions Auckland which would again be a stern test. However, the team handled themselves well in a much-improved effort but ultimately came up just short losing 3-2. Minhinnick again played well winning 2/1 against 2023 Canterbury Stroke Play Champion Chloe So while Sora Kishida earned a hard-fought half at the number position. Tapu also came within a whisker of securing a win and team half losing the last hole to half her match vs Grace Zhan.

With the confidence of an improved performance, the team entered Thursday with the determination to get something out of their match vs North Harbour, and they duly delivered by claiming a 2.5-2.5 half against the 2023 finalists. Kishida recorded her first victory winning 3/2 with Zarai Bourne also getting a crucial 1Up victory, her first at this level. Tapu once again contributed with a half which was enough to get Canterbury on the board ahead of a crucial match with Wellington on Friday.

The Friday match versus host Wellington was effectively a relegation match with Wellington sitting in 6th place just .5 behind Canterbury with Canterbury needing to avoid defeat to retain their division 1 status for 2024. As was a theme throughout the week, the ladies again improved from their earlier performances and rallied for a big 4-1 win over the Wellingtonians. Aroha Minhinnick made short work of her match winning 6/5 at number two to make it 3 wins from 5 for her week, with Mikana Suto also claiming her first victory 4/3 in a nice reward for her big shift throughout the week. Olive Tapu got another win 2/1 with Sora Kisha rounding it out in the number one spot with her own 2/1 victory. This provided a positive finish for the team who will no doubt take some huge learnings with so many young players being tested at this level for the first time. It was their round 1 opponents Manawatu/Wanganui who went on to claim the title defeating North Harbour 3-2 in the final to lift the trophy for the first time in 63 years having last won it in 1960, a special moment for the province. Meanwhile, Waikato won Division 2 and will play in Division 1 in 2024. The full results can be viewed – HERE.

Pictured below from left to right:
Front- Sora Kishida, Zaria Bourne, Mikana Suto
Back- Julie Jones (Assistant Manager), Aroha Minhinnick, Olive Tapu, Mel Newburn (reserve), Debbie Scott (Manager.)

Team Photo RS4

It was also announced at the closing ceremony that the 2024 edition of the combined Men’s and Women’s NZ Interprovincial will excitingly be played in Christchurch, venues and details TBC. 

Canterbury Men's and Women's Teams

Men and Women Team Photo2

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