YOUTH PENNANTS at HOWICK
Our Youth Pennant team began their Interclub season with a tough match against a strong Manukau team at Howick on Sunday. Jason Wei and Rakesh Patel got us underway and both players quickly established a lead over their opponents with Jason playing particularly well. He was 6up after the short par 3 8th, and Rakesh was 3up at the same hole.
Tom Ritchie and Manaaki McColl followed them, and Manaaki making his pennant debut made a great start with consecutive pars to lead 2up after just 2 holes. His match was always going to be tough against a very experienced Evan Clinning and by the 8th he was 1down. Tom and Tegbir Singh was also going to be very close with never more than a hole or two in it. Tom was 1up by the 8th.
Our lead players - Mathew Weir and James Eng were also in for very tough matches - Mathew against Ben Turner and James against Auckland and NZ Rep, Nick Voke. After the 8th hole Mathew and Ben were all square, but James found himself 5down to Nick playing some outstanding golf.
Jason and Rakesh continued to dominate their matches with Jason winning 8/6 and shooting a very good 75 in the increasingly windy conditions. Rakesh finished his match a couple of holes later - winning 5/4 (81). But while they were giving us a good start, things were very close a few holes back. After 12 holes - Tom was 2up; Manaaki 1up; Mathew 3down & James still 5down. It was looking like the middle 2 matches would decide the overall result.
After 15 holes Tom was holding on to a 1up lead; Manaaki had slipped to 2down and Mathew had recovered one hole to be also 2down. James' match ended with a 6/4 loss to Nick - but note that Nick shot 63 and James 70!!
Manaaki lost his match 3/2 (shooting 79), so it was down to Tom and Mathew to try and secure the win. Tom chipped in on the 17th forcing Tegbir to hole a 8ft putt for a half and send the match down the last hole. Unfortunately Mathew had to try a high risk shot and put his approach out-of-bounds on the same hole and lost his match 3/1.
So with Tom coming down the 18th we were 2-3 down and needed him to get a half on the last to secure the 3-3 result. He hit the better drive and and then put his 4-iron over the back of the green. Tegbir was just short of the green for 2 and his chip finished about 8ft from the hole. Tom's chip was superb, finishing within centimetres of the hole - a hard fought win and an excellent 73.
Final result - Remuera 3-Manukau 3. Other results - Royal Auckland 6-0 over Aviation; and Howick 6-0 over Pakuranga. There is no match next weekend as it is Queens Birthday, and we play Pakuranga at Royal Auckland the following weekend.