Persistent early morning rain resulted in the cancellation of round eight, with only round seven
completed in the 113th Taranaki men’s Open fours on Thursday.
Play was staggered across the greens, as the rains moved across north Taranaki, but the disruption didn’t stop a number of teams who had four wins over night qualifying.
Peter Belliss (Aramoho) made no race of his game against Terry Mullin (Pihama), winning 26-5 at Waimea, while there was happiness at the same location for Des Brophy (Fitzroy) and Steve Hoeft (Pt Chevalier) after they respectively beat Gary Russek (Omokoroa) 22-13 and Peter Sprake (New Plymouth) 26-8.
Adam Wishnoski’s New Lynn team, which is now being skipped by Brody Dix, beat Gary McKay (Australia), who also needed the win, 28-22. Cliff Mitchell-Burnard (Te Kuiti) advanced too with a 22-13 win over Tom Murfitt (Massey Avenue).
Noel Probyn (Fitzroy) made it through 26-14 over Terry Cullen (Helensville), who had already qualified.
Two local teams went at it with both needing the win to get through. It was Neville Goldsworthy (Fitzroy) who got the nod 24-22 over Neville Sole (West End).
After a tough start to the week, following a family bereavement, Trevor Butcher (Palmerston North) qualified, win number five coming 18-8 over Dennis McEwen (Stratford-Avon).
There was also joy for John Carter (Hutt) as his team qualified 28-20 over Tony Holdsworth (Central).
Bruce Mummery (Paritutu) qualified for the first time, getting home 16-14 over Paul Fowlie (Opononi). Richard Meacle (Australia) got through 23-15 over Barry Pepperell (Waitara).
Section six produced six qualifiers with Ian Coombe (Mairangi Bay) beating Alan Sandercock (Australia) 26-22, Peter Dorreen (Far North RSA) beating Barry Wynks (Takaro) 15-12, Wayne McDougall (Australia) defeating Frank Pollock (Hawera Park) 26-17 and Mark Anderson (Alton) prevailing 27-11 over Rangi Hiroti (Inglewood). 2006 Dominion fours winner Ross Thorn (Naenae) got home 29-28 over six-winner Rodney Woods (Opunake).
After losing two games on Wednesday, the tide turned for Warren Bellringer’s New Plymouth
side. It was due to meet Peter Clark (Tauranga South), who had already won five matches.
Unfortunately, one of Clark’s players fell over on Wednesday evening, sustaining injuries, while another team member had a family illness to deal with at home. It meant the team reluctantly decided to withdraw from post section, while Bellringer advanced by virtue of the default.
A number of teams got close to qualifying, but missed their necessary fifth win. The hopes of 92-year-old Jack Pringle, playing for Mike Walsh (Paritutu), ended when they lost 27-10 to Morris Williams (Omaranui).
Stratford-Avon’s hopes sunk when David Brunton and Maurie Stieller, both four winners, were defeated. Stieller went down to Ian Lowry (Rahotu) 30-14, while Brunton lost 23-8 to Darren Scott (West End).
Waimea’s last chance, Brian Mottram, also dipped out, losing 26-19 to Gavyn Horo (Rahotu). Hawke’s Bay centre president Ken Greeks (Napier) missed out on qualifying, falling 30-22 to big Bob Harris (Canterbury), while the tournament’s No 1 entertainer, Tupu Campbell (Far North RSA), needing the win, was never in the hunt in losing 35-7 to Philip Drought (Paritutu).
Merv Jakeman (Wainuiomata), after posting a tournament-high of 50 points on Wednesday, narrowly failed to advance. His side lost 23-20 to Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach).
Bernie Martelletti (Te Puke) narrowly missed out on qualifying, losing 24-22 to Mort Jones (Hillcrest), a seven-winner, while Tom Henderson (Paraparaumu Beach) lost 30-17 to Bill Johnston (Fitzroy).
Ian Busby, bidding to be the first team from Tower to qualify, missed by two points — 23-21 to Evert Kremer (Paraparaumu Beach). Graham Baxter (Hawera Park) missed out 25-20 to John Sexton (West End), as did Garry Murfitt (West End) who lost 22-19 to Steve Brien (Stokes Valley).
The 44 teams that have qualified now move into post section on Friday.