GOLF: The Wanganui Golf Club has junior national representative Nick Gillespie in Australia this week ? so they've replaced him in Sunday's pennants team with former national senior representative Rikki Kauika.
It's been a few seasons since Kauika has played for Wanganui, and he now plays out of Manor Park in Wellington. However he has maintained a membership of the Wanganui Golf Club and is allowed to play the Manawatu-Wanganui A grade pennants competition when available.
The added advantage for Kauika ? who's form has been so up-and-down recently that he has lost his New Zealand place ? is that the Sunday pennants are on the venue of the New Zealand Amateur next week, Palmerston North's Hokowhitu golf course.
Wanganui team captain David Hodge says Kauika is being used under the outside player rule, but he says "Riki is really still a Wanganui player. He's not the kind of 'outside player' that an 'outside player' is to other clubs.
"It's only because he's domiciled in Wellington at present that we have to call him an outside player. And he was very happy to play when we asked him.
"I'm sure Rikki is keen to have a good look around Manawatu during the pennants and then hopefully perform well at the New Zealand Amateur. He's struggled for form for a while so he probably has a point to prove."
Kauika has been put, not surprisingly, at No 1 for Wanganui in its battle with Rangitikei on Sunday. He will play No 1 in the afternoon singles and pair with Nathan Schimanski in the morning foursomes.
Bernard Smith has been shifted to No 3 for the day and a match that is pivotal for Wanganui's chances of retaining it's a grade pennants title. At this point Manawatu, Feilding and Wanganui have each lost one match, with Manawatu edging Feilding for the lead and Wanganui close behind on a games countback.
Hodge says things are quite simple ? "we still have to play the two teams up there with us, and if we win every game from now on we will win."
But he admits Sunday is only the start, and a good win over Rangitikei is necessary.
Later Wanganui plays Feilding at Wanganui's home course of Belmont, and then the tough Manawatu team at Palmerston North's Awatapu in the final round.