The Masterton Golf Club’s Duncan Cup winning team. PHOTO/FILE
In his look back on the sporting year, Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE looks at the successes and failures of some of Wairarapa’s premier teams.
For the first time in the 73-year history of the Duncan Cup – Wellington Golf’s premier interclub championship – Masterton’s name was engraved on the prestigious trophy.
Regarded by many as New Zealand’s toughest interclub competition, Masterton lifted the famous trophy afterg their 10-5 victory over Judgeford at Royal Wellington in May.
Masterton set up the victory with a dominant display in the foursomes, which they won 4-1.
Martinborough also ended a long drought, winning their first Wairarapa-Bush club rugby premiership in 28 years, with a 36-32 win over two-time defending champions Gladstone in a pulsating Tui Cup final at Memorial Park.
An underrated hardworking forward pack and the experience of old hands Tipene Haira [Wai-Bush club player of the year] and Tim Priest in the backs, and the astute coaching of James Bruce guided Martinborough to a deserved championship.
The competition was blighted somewhat by the withdrawal of Masterton Red Star halfway through the season.
Confidence was high within the Farriers Wairarapa-Bush squad of a successful Heartland championship.
A stunning 28-21 win over perennial champions Wanganui in the first round got the ball rolling, although chances of a home semifinal were dented with away losses to North Otago [25-11] and Thames Valley [29-23].
In the end Wai-Bush had to settle for an away Meads Cup semi against North Otago. A late comeback was not enough to prevent a 25-27 loss to the eventual champions.
Hats off to coach Joe Harwood and assistant Deon van Deventer for sticking with their philosophy of picking only homegrown players and building strong culture within the team.
Since many of Wairarapa’s best players decided to front for Dalefield in 2015 for the Wellington Premier Men’s Hockey Championship, the club has become one of the dominant forces in Capital Hockey.
The team have played in every final since and won three, including this year.
Dalefield faced fierce rivals Hutt United in the decider, with goals to captain Rowan Yeo and Benedict van Woerkom sealing the 2-1 victory.
Two weeks from the season start, the prospects of Dalefield fielding a women’s team in the Wellington premiership were grim. However, the late availability of some experienced players along with some youngsters saved the team, which eventually finished third with a convincing 3-0 win over Victoria University.
The Kia Kaha men and Dalefield women won the local leagues.
For the second consecutive season, the Wairarapa United women finished second in football’s W-League.
United started positively and an early win over Diamonds [3-2] saw them well positioned to push for the title.
However, a surprise 1-2 home loss to Western Suburbs, a 2-1 loss to Diamonds and a 1-1 draw with Palmerston North Marist, had United finish equal on points with Diamonds, missing out on goal difference.
The Wairarapa United men were fortunate to survive in the Central League.
A disastrous 0-10 loss to Olympic in the opening round set the tone for a difficult season. Although United failed to win a game, with only three points from draws to their name, they were fortunate Wellington United had an even worse season.
United’s goal difference of minus 61 paled into insignificance compared with Wellington’s of minus 121.
Douglas Villa Magpies completed an unbeaten season in the local league and won promotion to Capital Four in a playoff win over Otaki.
The Harcourts juggernaut continued in Wairarapa netball, with their ninth title since 2010.
Harcourts didn’t have it all their own way throughout the season, losing to Celtic and Wairarapa College in round-robin play.
But it was in the top four where Harcourts’ experience shone through, culminating in a 41-37 win over a talented Waicol in the final.
Earlier in the year, Lansdowne lifted the Bidwill Cup, Wairarapa Cricket’s premier trophy for the second consecutive year.
Giants made three finals in Hutt Valley Softball, however the Presidents, Major B Women and Under 15s all came away as runners-up.
Martinborough completed the double in Regional One Interclub Tennis, with a 6-3 victory over Opaki in the Gawith Shield final.