Battle lines drawn at Balmacewen

There are three certainties in life — death, taxes and a senior A metropolitan pennant flag to hang in the clubhouse at the Otago Golf Club in 2021.

The Bombers and B52s face off tomorrow afternoon at Balmacewen in what looks like an even affair after the ladder-topping Bombers accounted for Chisholm Links, while the B52s sprung somewhat of an upset over a talented St Clair side in the semis at Taieri Lakes last week.

The announcement of teams five days out from competition has been successful feature of the Senior A competition to push the local game into the spotlight within the local media and online, while it is hoped the avoided clash with Saturday sport will make the final more appeasing to spectators on Sunday.

Here’s how the match-ups stack up (Bombers named first).

No1

John McIntee v Matt Weir

Matt Weir has been one of the B52s’ standout players after moving down from Auckland three years ago. There is no doubt he will be a few yards ahead off the tee from the Scotsman McIntee, however the question will be who handles the pressure should the result go down to the wire and McIntee’s experience at masters level could prove the difference.

No2

Tyrone Ratahi v Tom Lee

It’s the local greenkeeper v the form player in the competition. Ratahi is cool and calm and never looks flustered, however he has dropped a couple of games this year, which is understandable with the lack of practice and young family commitments. Lee will be his toughest test and is the current Senior champ at Balmacewen. The B52s need this game.

No3

Duncan Croudis v Henry Hodgson

Interesting match up here — Croudis has the pedigree but has been far from vintage with work commitments now a primary focus. Hodgson has been a big improver this year, claiming some handy scalps — none more so than Otago rep Jacob Bellamy in last week’s semi. He needs to replicate that sustained effort to go the distance — even at 70% Croudis will punish errors.

No4

Ben Patston v Andrew Hobbs

On paper and form, Patston would be the favourite here, Hobbs struggling to find his best despite enjoying being back out on the course after last year’s hip operation. Nonetheless he is an expert at finding a way out of trouble which could frustrate Patston who enjoys an early victory. But he has had to settle for a couple of losses this year, stifling his front-running momentum.

No5

Brandon Hodgson v Paul Hubbard

Hodgson will be dialled in after a disappointing effort in last year’s final, when he was out of sorts when it mattered most. Hubbard has played well this year and will look to grind his way around the course against one of the longest ball strikers around. Alongside teammate Judkins — it’s clear the Bombers want to bag two early wins with Hodgson to play in the tail, but Hubbard may fancy himself if it is wet.

No6

Callum Judkins v Will McLauchlan

A battle of the young guns sees current representative Judkins take on the up-and-coming McLauchlan. Judkins was not great last week at Taieri Lakes but scrambled well — being back on home turf should see him back in his comfort zone, and at No6 he will appreciate relief from the pressure cooker of being at No1. McLauchlan won the South Otago U19 championships last week and could be dangerous with nothing to lose.

- By Michael Minty

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