Its been a close but not close enough season for Foxton Pennants this season.
The A-Grade Team has performed beyond expectations winning the last four rounds only to be pipped out of a semi-final spot in the deciding round of competition at the beautiful Moutere Links in Levin by the consistent Feilding combination.
Feilding gained the services of former PNGC stalwart Tony Chettleburgh last season and he not only won the Horowhenua Open in 2016 but has been a top performer for the Pennants team.
Foxton unfortunately lost the services of Junior Tatana this season to PNGC and needed to lift its efforts to stay in A Grade accordingly, exceeding expectations. PNGC managed an upcoming semi-final spot as second leading qualifier behind Manawatu Golf Club. The other two spots are Feilding and Taihape.
In The Presidents Division Foxton had a slow start to the season at Feilding suffering a heavy defeat there and making a recovery extremely difficult and beyond reproach.
In Handicap Division things were more positive needing a win over Manawatu at Rangatira recently however a 4 and 5 loss relegated the team to fifth spot. That competition was a strongly contested event with games in all rounds very close.
Handicap Pennants was taken out by Marton Golf Club after the semi's and Final was played recently at Marton.
Tawhero ended its first season back in A Grade at the bottom of the table and will be relegated to B Grade where Hawkestone won and gained promotion to A Grade.
Sat 27/5 Mattar Cup Semi's
Fri 26/5 Foxton Open Day
Thu 25/5 Stableford Thurs Club
Mon 22/5 Belmont 9 Hole Open Day, Pennants @ Pahiatua
Sat 20/5 4th Mills Memorial, Stableford
Thu 18/5 1st Putting/ LGU Manawatu GC Open Day
Mon 15/5 Triangular Levin/Otaki/Foxton
Sat 13/5 Mattar Cup, 1st Putting LGU
Fri 12/5 Marton Open Day
Thu 11/5 1st Eclectic
Mon 8/5 Tawhero Open Day 9 Hole
Sun 7/5 A Grade Pennants @ Foxton v Taihape, Handicap Pennants @ Rangatira v Manawatu
Sat 6/5 4th Zemba - Challenge Cup, 1st Eclectic
Fri 5/5 National Teams Day, Castlecliff
Mon 1/5 Pennants 4 @ Manawatu, Open Day Otaki GC 9 Hole
A select Foxton combination took on all-comers at the recent Glendinning Cup event at Hawkestone Golf Club where they prevailed.
The team included Paul Stephens, Barry Peta, Khalil Peta and Anthony Ilton-Maher. Anthony also produced the best stableford score of the day.
Anthony Ilton-Maher also recently competed with distinction at the recent Junior interprovincial for Manawatu-Whanganui.
Senior and Junior Players from Foxton have performed very well of late in big events throughout the region.
Junior Tatana had a strong finish at both the Whanganui Open and Manawatu Strokeplay Challenge Cup tournaments after losing on countback the earlier played Horowhenua Open where he finished atop the leader board with Anthony Chettleburgh from Feilding Golf Club.
At Whanganui he had the misfortune to withdraw from the tournament after a recheck by him of his card revealed an error, "I love the game more than any title" was the comment he made to me which pretty much sums up the nature of a player of this calibre who is on a plus two +2 handicap. Junior finished tied with Tane North atop the leader board. Tane was therefore declared the outright winner.
Junior has of course already won the Whanganui Open title, etching his name on the trophy.
Kory Eynon did very well in the Nett division at Whanganui picking up a decernt 'paycheck' to recover expenses and Khalil Peta won that division in the Challenge Cup Tournament played at Rangitikei Golf Club last week.
Lance Knowles won Division Two in the Seniors at the Challenge Cup. Meantime, his daughter Gizaria is starting to make her presence felt with some very encouraging performances in recent times boosted by her strong performances in the mixed Dustin Cup club series and selection in the Manawatu-Whanganui Junior Rep squad.
After the first Order of Merit Event, the Horowhenua Open at Moutere links last Sunday Foxton A Grade Pennants players Junior Tatana and Lance Knowles have been selected for the upcoming match against Wellington for Manawatu-Wanganui on 7 August 2016.
Junior came very close to winning his second Horowhenua Open Title finishing second on countback in a shortened tournament due to inclement weather conditions to Feilding player Anthony Chettleburgh.
It is fair to say that the team has lost valuable quality players such as Josh Munn, Tyler Hodge, Tyler Lock and Lachie McDonald to professional aspirations. They will be very difficult to replace with the collective influence yet to be fully appreciated.
The selectors have therefore in essence seemingly chosen a path of giving potential players an opportunity mixed with what is still available from the successful teams of recent years and it may take sometime for a solid combination to be found.
Up and coming Junior Anthony Ilton-Maher also made the cut being selected for the Junior Squad to play Wellington.
Meantime the Foxton Golf Club has recently reached out to the local community to gage interest and were pleasantly surprised at the response, especially a number of Junior Golfers. The club is running some coaching clinics each Sunday and senior players are assisting when available.
They will of course have an opportunity to mingle with the clubs representative players who will no doubt offer some guidance where they can help.
I have been fortunate to play a little more often in recent times and the course is in great shape especially underfoot with excellent drainage compared to inland courses in Palmerston North and the Greens appear to be improving dramatically with concentrated efforts from the club.
All bodes well for upcoming months with new members and representative players under the spotlight.
30/4 Sat Mattar Cup, 5th Round Presidents Trophy, 1st Christine Percival, Carter Cups
28/4 Thu Harrisons Open Day PN
27/4 Wed Putting Points/LGU
26/4 Tu 5th Round Margaret Speirs
24/4 Sun A Grade Pennants Whanganui, Handicap Pennants Semi-Finals
23/4 Sat 2nd Mills Memorial, 2nd Putting Points/LGU
21/4 Thu Waikanae to Foxton
20/4 Wed Stableford
18/4 Mon District Pennant @ PNGC, Foxton Round Robin 9 Hole
17/4 Sun A Grade Pennants @ Foxton, Handicaps Pennants @ Rangatira
16/4 Sat Goldfinch & Cousins Trophy Final + Plate, Stableford (L)
15/4 Fri Castlecliff Open Day, Levin Foursomes 9-Hole
13/4 Wed Nancy McCormack
12/4 Tu 4th Margaret Speirs
11/4 Mon Castlecliff Open Day 9 Hole
9/4 Sat 2nd Zemba Cup Challenge Trophy, Nancy McCormack 36 Hole Foursomes (L), 4th Round Presidents Trophy
7/4 Thu Pahiatua Open Day, Foxton to Otaki
6/4 Wed 3rd Rewa George
4/4 Mon District Pennants @ Pahiatua, Rangatira Open Day 9 Hole
3/4 Sun A Grade Pennants @ PNGC, Handicap Pennants @ Manawatu
2/4 Sat Goldfinch & Cousins Semi Final + Plate, 3rd Rewa George LGU
The Foxton Senior A Grade Pennants have had a frustrating run with injuries and other matters affecting performances this season.
That changed for the good when the teams selectors elected to really try something out of the ordinary and experiment with a mix of enthusiastic youth and aged experience.
Calling on up and coming young talent Anthony Ilton-Maher to go into 'battle' against some wiley opposition at Palmerston Golf Club last weekend.
The 'young gun' had the opportunity to play alongside seasoned Wanganui-Manawatu Rep Junior Tatana in the foursomes against Wanganui and won well.
Of the aged experience Tom Ratima has stepped up ( tongue in cheek - making no reference to his gait) big time since his return from South Africa representing a 'select' New Zealand combination.
I had the great fortune to be at the match with Wanganui on a beautiful Manawatu afternoon on Sunday 3 April 2016 and witnessed some great and not so great Golf.
In the afternoon singles playoffs. It came down to the final hole of the day for the teams where Alton-Maher needed to win to forge a half and seasoned Foxton representative Barry Peta needing to win the hole and finish one up. This would give the team a win against Wanganui and some valuable points.
What a hole it turned out to be. The 'young gun' looked to have lost all chance when his drive faltered and finished in trees about two hundred metres from the Green. His opposition was in the clear and only about one hundred metres from the Green. You would think and in likely position to either Birdie or Par the hole.
What happened next is what makes Golf at times both frustrating and exciting. Ilton-Mayer smashed a 3 Wood onto the Green while his opposition overshot the Green and nevertheless recovered but, with a long putt for his fourth, which missed. Bogey for the opposition.
Barry Peta recovered from a "thinned" second shot pin-high to the right of the Green, to be left with an 8 foot putt for par. His opposite putted in for a bogey five leaving all attention on Barry to secure a winning putt. He duly obliged with a great pressure putt.
The 'young gun' Ilton-Maher then needed two putts for a par and victory. He left his lag up short by about six foot. All eyes were focussed on what was to be the most important putt of the day to secure victory. Anthony Ilton-Maher rammed the putt into the hole and victory was secured.
This past weekend the Pennants played on home course at Foxton against Levin securing a comfortable victory and the possibility of getting into the top four playoffs. This is not going to be easy with the final round against a determined Taihape combination difficult to beat on home turf.
The highlight of the day was some typical 'razzle-dazzle' from Junior Tatana when he secured a Hole in One on hole ten for the home team. Earlier in the season he again had a strong performance at the Lawnmaster Classic at Manawatu Golf Club finishing in a tie for sixth in the Amateur Ranks and twelfth overall with seasoned Professional Michael Hendry again too strong in the pro ranks to win at -17. Click here ... to get the official Pennants results and detail from MWGA.
The Foxton A-Grade Pennants ended up in fifth spot after what looked to be an encouraging start to the season. They lost 7-5 against the very experienced Wanganui team at Hokowhitu this past weekend. Marton and Taihape finished on the same number of points and games won however Taihape beat Marton in Round 6. Marton now face a promotion-relegation against Castlecliff Golf Club, which will not be easy.
Another new player was presented by Foxton being Alan Richardson who won his singles against seasoned campaigner Peter Simpson.
All bodes well for future competition. Heres the link to all the drama..
The Foxton A Grade Pennants performed very well against current titleholders and top-ranked Golfers, Manawatu played at PN Golf Club on 4 May 2014.
Manawatu took out the match 8-4 with some very close results in most singles matches which could have gone either way. Manawatu look to have the title sewn up for another season with Foxton sitting comfortably in fourth spot with 10 points, two points behind Wanganui who they play in Round Seven at Manawatu on 18 May 2014.
There looks to have been a new 'blooding' with the reserve player in action namely Kory Eynon who will gain valuable experience despite being the 'meat in the sandwich' for Manawatu. Nevertheless, alls well that ends well and he will provide some depth in the Foxton 'ranks' for future competition with a promising performance in the doubles paired with Mike Brown.
For all the detail of Round Six click here PDF...
What is of interest, is that both Marton and Taihape are sitting on 3 points each at the bottom of the of the points table but with Taihape a few games in hand after beating Marton 7-5 at Palmerston North with the final round at Manawatu to decide who faces possible relegation. Some Representative players such as Lachie McDonald and Josh & Trent Munn missed Round Six due to commitments at the Muriwai Open played over the same weekend.
If you click through on the link icon to the Foxton Golf Club Facebook page there is the result for the gross prize in the fundraiser held at the club on 3 May 2014. All I can say with a gross score like that ( a 59) is "heck it is a Pro's dream score". You can tell by the smiles that it was a thoroughly enjoyable round and event for both the Linton Ladies Netball fundraiser and "The Hackers" from Foxton Golf Club.
Foxton played Feilding Golf Club on 30 March 2014 at Foxton and unfortunately the home team was soundly beaten by a strong all-round Feilding Pennants team. The final score was 9 - 3 with, Foxton winning two singles and a foursome. Brad Ryder and Barry Peta showed staunch resilience to a strong challenge in the singles by winning valuable points and David Lack and Mike Brown took out their foursomes and losing narrowly in the singles, respectively.
The competition now is extremely tight with Feilding out in front unbeaten on 12 points followed by the competition titleholders Manawatu who were narrowly beaten by Levin at Levin in Round Three but rebounded with a strong result at Foxton beating Marton 9 1/2 to 2 1/2. The competition winners will be decided by the number of games won and although Foxton is tied with Manawatu Golf Club on 9 points apeice, Manawatu has won more games (Singles and Doubles)collectively. Each game is now vital as the teams get into the crucial part of the competition and if Foxton is realistic about launching a successful challenge to the title at long odds.
The next round for the team is at Marton Golf Club on Sunday 13 April 2014 against strong opposition from Levin Golf Club.
Heres a link to all the detail of Round Four at Foxton.
UPDATE 16 April 2014 Foxton and Levin drew 6 all with a Titanic battle right up until the last hole of play in fading light. Manawatu Golf Club were able to field a powerful lineup who proved to strong for Feilding winning 10 1/2 to 1 1/2 which has solidified their position at the top of the rankings and leading the competition with the most games won. Feilding is second and Foxton in third position after Round Five. Round Five detail click here..
Round Six is now scheduled for play at Palmerston North Golf Club where Foxton is matched against Manawatu on Sunday 4 May 2014.