"We struggled," were the opening remarks from team manager Allen Forrest after a 4-1 defeat to Aorangi in Dunedin yesterday.
The Stortford Auto Sales Hawke's Bay senior men's representative team, Forrest said soon after, were likely to finish second last if not dead last, when the dust settles at the Otago Golf Club, also known as Balmacewen, tomorrow following the play-offs to determine the rankings of the country's top matchplay teams in the annual Toro Interprovincial tourney.
Forrest should known because, in his last year at the helm of the Bay team as manager, it will be his 18th consecutive interprovincials as manager and/or selector.
The 65-year-old from Central Hawke's Bay said despite their bottom dwellers' status, the predominantly young Bay outfit should blossom into a competitive team in another two to three years.
"We have as much talent, if not more, in Hawke's Bay right now than we've ever had in the past 20 years that I've been involved with rep golf," Forrest said.
Taking them to the elite level, he said, would require money so Golf Hawke's Bay would be seeking sponsorship to realise that goal.
"We still have quite a few talented players at home right now who will be coming through," he said.
Forrest, who is also a member of the Hawke's Bay Eagle Society, hopes to continue his involvement with Bay representative golf in some other capacity if Golf HB agrees.
Yesterday, in the final round of qualifying play, only No 5 Carlos Tawera won, crushed Aorangi counterpart George Wardell 5 and 4.
"Carlos played very solid and I was quite impressed with his play. He played par golf in difficult conditions," Forrest said of the 19-year-old Maraenui Golf Club member.
With Ben Swinburne dropped from No 2, Rusell Mitchell moved up to lose 4 and 3 to Joradan Green.
Top seed/captain Richard Squire also stumbled by the same margin to Cameron Grant.
Teenager Max Gill found himself at No 3 but battled bravely before bowing out one down to Garth Simpson.
Fellow schoolboy Madison Noakes had a similar result against Damian Rodgers.
"Max and Madison were both one down going into the 18th hole, so they did very well," Forrest said.
The Bay are last in division one, with one team point and 8.5 individual points.
Defending champions Southland hammered Auckland 4-1 to top division one and will play in the first semifinal Bay of Plenty in what will be a repeat on last year's final.
Underdogs Tasman, who topped division two, will face Manawatu/Wanganui who will have the chance to back up their SBS Team's title after they beat Taranaki 4-1 in round seven.