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Tasman test series for axemen

Tasman test series for axemen

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Media Release

For immediate release

07 March 2007

Re: Tasman test series for axemen

A Veteran’s three Test series between Australia and New Zealand has attracted over 80 axemen and women to the Coast this weekend. The prestigious Tasman clash first Test will launch in Hokitika at the Wild Foods Festival on Friday evening, with the remaining two Tests being contested in Ikamatua on Saturday and Sunday as part of the Ikamatua annual carnival.

As well as the titles, $11,000 in prize money will be up for grabs. The event is being hosted by the Grey Valley Axeman’s Club and Secretary Dave Balderstone says this event is the largest and most prestigious event on the South Island calendar.

“The event started back in 1993 as a one off memorial event to D’Arcy Seymour who was the NZ captain in the first NZ team to compete in Australia in the early sixties,” said Dave “but we were coaxed into holding it again in 1994 and the rest is history. The competition continues to grow and everyone wants to be at this one, it is the most sought after handicapped event in the South Island.”

“However, with growth of any event comes some financial implications” said Dave “ and we are grateful to our sponsors the West Coast Development Trust, DOC, T Croft Ltd, GH Foster, Lawson Engineering, Lions Foundation, Pub Charity, Hokitika Wild Foods, Ikamatau Hotel and Store, Stihl Chainsaws, and many hours of free labour from non competing volunteers.”

This year 5 women will join the 71 male choppers. Women have traditionally competed in the single or double sawyer’s events. Another new attraction will be the under 25 years competition. “Four young men will compete this section,” said Dave “We want to encourage new blood into the sport and this is an ideal event to do that.”

The New Zealand team of 9 sawyers have some work to do to catch their Australian rivals, the tally being an average of two to one wins for the Aussies. Despite the odds, Dave Balderstone said that the New Zealand team has the capability and if all goes well, they might just upset their Australian counterparts.

Dave will be defending his 15 inch underhand championship and says he will be watching the form of Willie Abel from Picton and Brian Hately from Westport who he considers poses his biggest threats.

The first test on Friday night will get underway at 6pm at the Heritage area of the Wild Foods Festival in Hokitika. The remaining two tests will be held during the Ikamatua carnival programme being held at the camping ground behind the Ikamatua Hotel from 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The New Zealand team is:

Roger Thain (Captain)
Martin Mason
Colin Dalkie
Ray Harraway
Terry Rice
Gordon Mannering
John Birchfield
Tony Carran
Kevin Dowling

Reserves: Goldie McIntosh, Rod McKenzie, Denis McLaughlin


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