The scene is set for an intense final day of round-robin at the New Zealand Men’s Interprovincials held at the Ashburton Golf Club on Friday.
On Thursday, Waikato established themselves as the team to beat, defeating the previously undefeated Wellington outfit to sit atop the ladder on four wins and 14.5 games. Taranaki also has a perfect record to date and sit in second on four wins and 13.5 games.
On paper, Waikato and Wellington match up very evenly, and it translated on the course for round five.
Waikato got out the gates faster, up in three matches and square in another at the halfway point.
Wellington’s rock at the top, Jonathan Cane, fought back against former teammate now Waikato representative Ben Slaven to turn his match around and get the first point on the board for the capital city.
Wellington number four Caerwyn Ross got the second point on the board to get Wellington within a whisker of beating the tournament leaders. However, Waikato number three Sam Vincent, number two Jordan Woodall, and number one Tyler Wood, all proved too strong and claimed the final three points on offer to beat Wellington.
Meanwhile, Taranaki was also able to keep their perfect records intact with a win over a dangerous Hawkes Bay side 3.5 – 1.5.
Sam Jones, Ben Joseph, and Andrew Searle all got wins on the board and Taranaki number five Joseph Doyle earned a hard-fought half to get the victory.
The two sides will go into Friday’s action in the driver’s seat to make the semifinals on Saturday.
Taranaki will play Wellington in a critical match in the morning before playing Manawatu Wanganui in the afternoon.
Waikato will tee it up against Tasman and the Bay of Plenty.
Otago dealt the defending champions Canterbury a cruel blow, defeating their southern rivals 3 – 2 to sneak into fourth position behind Wellington.
Canterbury have now fallen to seventh place and will need a massive day tomorrow in order to have a chance of defending their title.
A handful of teams will need two wins tomorrow to have a mathematical chance of making the semi’s come Saturday.
As usual, the drama on Friday never disappoints, and we expect the same from tomorrow.
Play gets underway at 7.30 in the morning.