There was a mixed bag of results for Wairarapa at the Lower North Island Octagonal tournament played at Whanganui over the weekend.
However, in the end, both teams struggled to match the bigger centres, finishing the men’s competition in seventh place, while the women were eighth and last, after leading after Friday’s opening two rounds.
The pair was the best performed of the men’s team, coming away with four wins over Hawke’s Bay [21–10], Manawatū [23–18], Gisborne East Coast [26–13] and Wellington [15–14]. The triple picked up victories from Taranaki [17–12], Manawatū [15–11], and Wellington [20–17], and the four scored the only other point with a 19–10 defeat of Taranaki.
Men’s selector Lester Dee felt there were some good efforts on what he described as not very satisfactory greens at Aramoho and Wanganui East.
“Some of the guys played okay, and some of the conditions stuffed them up, but the opposition did better than us,” Dee said.
“The attitude was good. Everybody was not too happy with the state of the greens, but they kept their heads up and played well but not quite good enough on the day.”
Women’s selector Tanya Wheeler believed there were some good signs from her team despite finishing at the tail of the field.
“Overall, I thought the team played well, and the position and the scores don’t reflect a lot of the games played,” Wheeler said.
“Our pair was a new combination, the four was a new combination, and what I did take away from the weekend was as it went on, as much as the losses came about, the scores were close, and there was some really tough opposition up there.”
Wheeler in the singles and the four gave Wairarapa a flying start on Friday winning both of their games. Wheeler defeated Kāpiti Coast 25–19 and Taranaki 25-11, and the fours wins over Hawke’s Bay [15–10] and Kāpiti [15-9], while the pair chipped in with a 14–14 draw with Whanganui to give Wairarapa the overnight lead.
However, they were unable to maintain that and only picked up another three wins on Saturday and Sunday. Those went to Wheeler over Manawatū [25–13], the pair 15–13 over Taranaki, and the four with a 12–9 defeat of Taranaki and a 17-7 win over Gisborne East Coast.
The Octagonal was the last opportunity for players to impress before the naming of the team for next month’s National Intercenetre tournament in Wellington.