The NZ Freyberg Masters concluded on Friday after a big week up at Motueka. This event marked the end of the Masters representative calendar after several preparation events leading into the showpiece week. Following an initial master’s trial fixture held on the 24th of July, subsequent Town vs Country, Canterbury vs Aorangi, and the South Island Interprovincial events the eventual Canterbury Masters team was named. Featuring a couple of familiar faces in Aaron Forsyth, Brett Turner, and tournament captain Jason Sincock, the team also featured a few new faces with Woo Bong Kim being selected at number 1 and James Howard at number 4.
The team arrived on the Saturday afternoon and began their final preparations joining the local club members for their afternoon round. Following the official practice round on the Sunday and opening ceremony the team were all ready for their round 1 fixture vs Bay of Plenty the following morning. The team started well in that match but eventually had to settle for a 2.5-2.5 half, Woo Bong Kim picking up his first Freyberg victory 2/1 in that match. In the afternoon however, the team got their first win of the event dispatching the host province Tasman who had won the South Island Interprovincial tournament on the same course just a few weeks earlier. The match finished 3.5-1.5 which included three 1Up victories for the team highlighting how close that match was.
Onto Day 2 we went with another doubleheader day. First up we played Manawatu/Wanganui where the team came away with another 3.5-1.5 victory with James Howard getting his first Freyberg victory 2/1. In the afternoon the team completed the perfect day to make it 3 wins in a row defeating our southern rival Otago a whopping 5-0. Woo Bong won convincingly 4/3 to make it a perfect 4 wins from 4 at that stage of the tournament while Aaron Forsyth and Brett Turner had narrow victories 1up and 2/1 respectively.
On Day 3 the men came up against a strong Wellington side who were the defending champions and undefeated so far in the tournament. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our day with the team going down .5-4.5, Jason Sincock with the A/S in that round. With the afternoon off the team could get some recovery in, knowing that their BYE round was scheduled for the final round of the tournament meaning unlike every other team playing that week they would not get a mid-tournament break.
Day 4 and another doubleheader with the results of this being very important for their potential table position. They started off against Hawkes Bay and managed to come through with a narrow 3-2 victory to bounce back well from the day before. The wins coming at the top and bottom of the order with Woo Bong Kim winning 5/3 and Jason Sincock winning 2/1 to maintain both player's impressive records. In the afternoon they faced Taranaki and to complete the turn around they recorded another victory 3.5-1.5 with Brett Turner getting the most emphatic result in that one winning 7/5.
So, onto the final day we went sitting in 2nd position in the table coming up against our neighbors Aorangi. A familiar score line once again with the team coming away with yet another 3.5-1.5 win. With the afternoon BYE the team had the opportunity at last to put their feet up and watch the final round play out to see where they would eventually finish with a podium spot confirmed. North Harbour managed to beat Aorangi collecting 3.5 wins which was enough to pip Canterbury for Silver meaning we finished in 3rd on countback. It was Wellington however that went on to claim gold.
So, all in all, a very pleasing week with the team finishing with a 6 Wins, 1 Half, and 1 Loss record. The team all contributed at different times during the week helping achieve the 6 victories however there were a couple of standout individual performances too. Captain Jason Sincock had 6 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw to his name anchoring the team. Meanwhile, Woo Bong Kim on debut playing at the number 1 spot had an incredible week winning 7 of his 8 matches, with his only defeat coming against a player who went through the tournament unbeaten.
Full results can be viewed – HERE.