Report from Team Manager Neil Rossin:
The 2023 Cousins Mens Whangarei/Northland team consisted of Finn Trimble, RJ Vette-Blomquist, Neil Rossin, Freddie Jameson, Flynn Venmore and Maz Saunders.
With a seeding of #5 hopes were high of pulling off a few upsets and beating our seeding.
First up was Titirangi SC. Venmore started slowly against Paul Blanchard. Despite trying his hardest, Paul was just too good on the day taking the match 3/1. Freddie was up next. In a must win match things were looking in the balance at 1/2 7 all, however the youngster dug in and came through winning 3/2. Finn took out his opponent at #1 string and Rossin and RJ finished off the job, both winning 3/0 and 3/1 respectively. Whangarei winning the match 4/1.
This set up a big quarter final match v the “westies” of Henderson SC. It looked very close on paper and that’s how it played out! Freddie got the ball rolling with a 3/1 bruising encounter with Aaron Kopitkke. Next up was Rossin v Apa fats junior (NZ world junior). Despite Rossin being up in the first he had no answers to his younger opponent losing 3/0. This set up a crucial encounter with the #1s- Beddoes (former WR#89) and Trimble. At 2/2 and 4/0 up Trimble looked like he was going to pull off a great win but Lance used his years of experience and professional instinct to claw it back and take the 5th 11/8. RJ tried his best but Mason Smales was just too good despite his opponents phantom “adductor” injury. Venmore thrashed his opponent 3 zip, meaning Whangarei narrowly lost to Rossin’s old club 2/3, “oh well, next year!”.
This meant that the team was now playing to make their seeding. The boys rose to the challenge beating, both Surf city and Royal Oak comfortably 4/1.
The team are the 5th best in NZ. Notable performances from Freddie J – 4 wins out of 4 and Maz Saunders remains unbeaten in cuzzies matches on his debut. Things look promising for this team as Rossin aside all team members are 23 or under … this could potentially be a Cuzzies shield winning team in 2024?????
Many many thanks to the clubs support, the members and especially to Boundary Hunter (Bruce Smith), Rothbury Insurance (Dean Jones) and Gaye Trimble (Northland Squash) for providing the kit … and of course Big Jonny D for proving the commentary and many many talking points over the long weekend – that man can certainly talk .
Over and out – let’s bring home the Shield in 2024.