Saints shape as team to beat

St Clair Saints golfer Tony Giles watches his drive during the pennant final against the Otago...
St Clair Saints golfer Tony Giles watches his drive during the pennant final against the Otago Bombers at Balmacewen last year. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The new metropolitan senior A pennant series begins this weekend. Otago Daily Times correspondent Michael Minty runs his eye over the teams.


Squad: Michael Weastell, Blair Lifiton, Jason Pegler, John McIntee, Peter Rae, Kyle Geary, Kai Koni, Luke Worthington, Matt Robinson, Mike Bowman, Matt Heaton.

The Links will again look to their key players in Pegler, Weastell and McIntee. The majority of the squad looks more than capable of beating anyone on their day, while there will be interest in how teenager Koni begins his second year of senior A.

The Links look a threat again in 2024 but can they make a final?



Squad: Brent Butler, Phil Bungard, Jarden Hammond, Macaulay Howell, Kade Haley-Broderick, Joey Hancock, Michael Minty, Richard Olsen, Monty Wong, Mike Wray, Troy Ferguson.

Island Park have strengthened their side and will firmly have their sights sight on finals golf with the return of Bungard and the inclusion of Haley-Broderick from the disbanded St Clair Devils, which should mean a more competitive side away from home.

Home is where the heart is, and targeting an unbeaten run at Island Park with their best six around the short nine-hole layout will be key.



Squad: Ken Shaw, Mark Andrews, Brett Kennelly, Jack Kennelly, Tayne Derriman, Jarrad Mitchell, Matt Lee, Matt Mercer, Josh Boath, Blair Bennett.

The loss of Ryan Rosevear to the Bombers hurts their depth and, while they have 10 names on paper, working out who fits into their best six is puzzling, as is getting them together on the same day for big matches.

The key for Taieri will be to go unbeaten at home and pick up a couple of points away but they need their best six on the park week to week, which is a tough ask.



Squad: Will McLauchlan, Andrew Hobbs, Mat Weir, Lewis Harper, Tom Gillan, George Prendergast, Paul Hubbard, Issac Hobbs, Howard Maxwell, Lachlan Coutts, Jackson Zhang.

The B52s will again be looking to jump out of the shadows of their more fancied Balmacewen counterparts, settling on a familiar squad with only one minor change as Seb Kyle is no longer in the country.

Captain Harrison Maaka has utilised his North Otago connection, bringing down Coutts from the Lower Waitaki Golf Club to add some depth when needed. Will be in the fight for a lower semi position.



Squad: Parker Aluesi, Logan Clarke, Jacob Bellamy, Jakob Bleach, Conor Jamison, Connor Howes, Scott Mitchell, Cody McMullan, Ryan Littlejohn, Tony Giles, Matt Crawford.

The Corstorphine golfers will see 2024 as their best chance to win senior A due to the demise of the club’s Devils team. While St Clair have lost a handful of players to other sides, the rest of that team have bolstered the already strong Saints side.

Former Devils players Bleach and Clarke stiffen up the Saints, while Howes helps drop the average age across the side with veteran Giles committing to another year. They should start favourites.



Squad: Duncan Croudis, Brandon Hodgson, Ben Patston, Callum Judkins, Luke Murdoch, Ricky Stewart, Ryan Rosevear, Tony Brown, Tom Griffin, Murray Edgar, Baxter Meder.

The key to success for the Bombers has always been numbers and depth, and that’s no different this season. There is talk of another three or four names not on this squad list, which includes a wildcard in Tony Brown — yes, the rugby coach plays golf, and he goes all right, too.

Brown is joined by Rosevear (Taieri) and Griffin (St Clair) but with such a large squad, it’s hard to say how many games some of these players will play. With their best six on the course, they will be tough to beat.