The 2019 Woodward Cup competition starts this Sunday at Waitikiri at the new time of 12.00pm and a month later than previous years to try and take advantage of the better weather conditions. With the extra daylight hours this will also allow for the final four rounds being double rounds on 30 September and 13 October.
Indications from all the Team Managers is that their teams are all well prepared and ready to roll.
Hosts Waitikiri have retained a similar squad to last year with Canterbury Masters Rep Aaron Forsyth, Brett Turner, Simon Marshall and Geoff Rudduck. They will also have the strength of Chris Bond, who should achieve his 150th Woodward Cup match during the season, at the top of the order together with Jordan Pruden who has moved from Bottle Lake. They will meet Coringa in the first round who lost Nic Kay to Christchurch but have James Howard and player/manager Rohan Ware at one and two, together with John Rademakers, Steven Yang and Lin Wang in their middle order. Import Mike Toal from Greymouth also returns this year.
Weedons will field a mix of youth and experience this year with Canterbury Masters Rep Jonathan Stieller leading off, with Clearwater imports Austin Hamilton and Will Bastings making up the top three. Newcomers Ben Burgess and Alex Van Schaardenburg will also be out to make an early impression. Weedons face a stern test against last year’s runner-up Templeton first up who will be looking to go one better in 2019. The squad looks strong with depth through the order from Sam Purdon, Ryan Bellamy, Tom Wilson and Tood Gantley. The team has added depth with the inclusion of Jordan Latter who has returned to the amateur ranks and import Tim Leonard.
Harewood will be looking to turn around a tough previous campaign with NZ Rep Matt McLean leading from the front, with support from the experienced Josh Smith, Scott Manyweathers, Sam Watkinson and player/manager Gavin O’Hara. They will face 2018 semi-finalists Pegasus in round one who will also be looking to improve on last year’s placing after a very close semi-final loss to Templeton. Andrew Green will lead the team along with Kazuma Kobori who is available for part of the season, with Peter Brinsdon, Shaun Allan and newcomers James Cadenhead and Zach May also joining the team.
Last year’s other semi-finalists Christchurch will also have their eye on the silverware with a strong line up including Jordan Bakermans, Mike Toeke, Nic Kay, Richard Reed and Jason Sincock, they also have the services of Tom Parker and Marcel Boet for the first two rounds. They meet newly promoted Hororata first up who will be led by Canterbury Masters Rep Anton Fouchee, Andrew Inch, Mark Weatherly, imports Owen Miller and Michael Bailey with Dominic Brettkelly available for the first two rounds.
The final match of the round sees Champions Russley playing Bottle Lake. Russley will be without Hayato Miya and Reid Hilton for the start of the competition, Ben Baker will be available for round one before he returns to America to continue his golf scholarship. Andrew Dufton will captain the team with Taylor Hosking, Regan Kilpatrick and Michael McAuley adding stability to the middle order. Bottle Lake will be looking to upset Russley as they did in round two last year and have Cameron Grant at no.1 with a similar looking squad to 2018 with Kris O’Neill, Kieran Sharvin, Lachie Mackay and import Alisdair Reid at the top of the order.
This year’s Woodward Cup will again highlight the depth of golf talent in Canterbury and undoubtedly provide some intriguing individual match ups as teams focus on qualifying for the top four and Finals Day, this year to be held at Templeton Golf Club on 10 November.
Click here to view the Draw