Plenty at stake in Taieri versus Devils

Round six of Metropolitan senior pennants resumes with conditions looking more conducive for golf than players faced last week.

At Taieri Lakes, the home side takes on the St Clair Devils in a contest in which the winner has the opportunity to jump into outright second or even lead the competition should the unthinkable happen and the Links inflict a big defeat on the Saints.

Matt Tautari returns to the top of the Lakes order while Blair Bennett rejoins the side at the tail. Mark Andrews and Matt Lee are omitted. Tom Griffin replaces Phil Bungard who will miss the opportunity to take on his former Links team-mate Tautari.

The Devils should be tested today, especially with Taieri unbeaten at home and Bungard missing.

The match between Ken Shaw and the ever-solid performing Kade Haley-Broderick at No 2 is one of experience versus form, Haley-Broderick proving he can match it with the guns.

At Balmacewen, the Bombers will be looking to avenge the narrow loss to the B52s in round 1.

For the Bombers, Callum Judkins returns in place of John McIntee at No1, and Ty Ratahi takes Dylan Stock’s place. Lewis Harper and Matt Weir return at the expense of Chris Snow and Tom Lee which could leave the B52s a little skinny.

Weir’s match-up against Ben Patston could be pivotal and one Patston will be using to make amends if the game comes to the crunch after a costly slip-up on the final green a fortnight ago at St Clair. The battle of the young guns between Judkins and Will McLachlan at No 1 looks relatively even.

On paper, the Bombers look to have a stronger line-up. However, that has meant nothing this year. The Duncan Croudis versus Andrew Hobbs match at No 5 looks the early 50-50 game that may need to go the B52s’ way if they are to get a result.

At St Clair, the Saints will be looking for a big victory against Chisholm Links to give them some breathing space on the table.

Links has been forced to dip into the reserves replacing half the side. Matt Robinson and Jayden Smith return from the Senior Bs returning, and Sean Geary also bolsters the side. Saints have Jacob Murray in for Ryan Bellamy.

The No 5 battle between former St Clair member Jason Pegler and Parker Aluesi may be one that favours Pegler after he shifts from last week’s No 1 position. However, it is hard to see where the rest of the visiting side’s points may come from.

The Links will need all favours to topple the Saints who still look just as strong from No 1 to No 6. On paper, Saints should prove to be too strong and a whitewash would not surprise.

Regardless of the result, there will be some heavy hitting from No1s Mackenzie Gibson and Jacob Bellamy which should provide entertainment off the tee with Bellamy regarded as one of the heaviest drivers in the region while Gibson has an ace on a 300m-plus par-4 to his name.

By Michael Minty

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