Woodward Cup Round 5 was played at Harewood yesterday in windy, testing conditions with drizzle setting in near the end of play. It was a round of very tight matches and a couple of upsets.
Last year's Champions Templeton had the most clear-cut win on paper over a gallant Weedons outfit searching for their first victory of the season. It was far from one-sided though with three matches going the distance before Templeton prevailed 6-2.
Halves at the top-of-the-order for Josh Simpson against Bryden Grant and Dan Laughton against Jonathon Stieller, who rallied for a spirited comeback after being four down with 5 to play, and a win at the 18th for Shaun Payne gave Weedons their two games. Templeton's wins came courtesy of David Zohrab, Cam Finlayson, Jordon Latter and convincing results to Tim Leonard and Nick Franzmann.
Hosts Harewood upset leaders and previously unbeaten Clearwater 4.5-3.5. With three matches going to the 18th it was wins to Josh Smith, James Howard, Daniel Lundt, Kerry Branson and a half to Ryan Barham against Seb May that secured the valuable two points for Harewood. Sam McGill won a tight match together with Leon Yee and Will Bastings in his 50th Woodward Cup appearance, all had comfortable wins for Clearwater.
In the continuing theme of close finishes Christchurch just got over the line against Bottle Lake with four matches decided on the 18th. For Christchurch Richard Reed, Russell Fildes, George Keable and Alisdair Reid registered wins while Jason Sincock halved with Michael Berry. Close wins at 1 and 2 for Andrew Green and Jed Robertson, together with Steve Dellow made it all so close for Bottle Lake.
Avondale cemented their place in the top four defeating Pegasus 4.5-3.5 also with close finishes in three matches, that could have easily reversed the result. Teariki Tangiiti, Mac Mitchell, Sam Purdon and Nick Brennan all had wins with Hayden Burns halving against Ian Blount. For Pegasus, Dean Harvey, Peter Brinsdon in his 50th Woodward Cup appearance, and Kazuma Kobori, back from International duty at the Eisenhower Trophy in France all had wins.
Again, with three matches decided on the 18th Russley got the chocolates against a valiant Waitikiri side winning 4.5-3.5. Reid Hilton, Jake Roberts, Taylor Hosking, Michael McAuley and a half for Owen Burgess against Alex Kelliher was just enough to get Russley over the line. Waitikiri's three wins came from Kris O'Neill, Simon Marshall and Antony Dale.
With the Canterbury Aorangi Representative fixture next Sunday in Ashburton, the first of two double rounds of Woodward Cup will be at Weedons on 25 September starting at 8am (Daylight Saving Time).
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