Central takes 4 titles at the NZ COC

Ohakune hosted the New Zealand Champion of Champions over the weekend of 18 - 20th October.  With 8 districts competing for the individual grades titles as well as the coveted District Trophy.  

The main contenders for the trophy were Current holders Auckland with 12 players, Central with 11 players, Bay of Plenty 9 players, Eastern 9 players, Waikato 10 players and Northland 11 players.  Central team consisted of :

Mens A - Allan Bailey
Mens B - Matthew Ratcliffe
Mens C - Mark Langdon
Mens D - Dane Kendall
Mens E - Samson Power
Mens F - Sam Deadman
Womens B - Ngakuira Osbourne
Womens C - Pauline Slovak
Womens D - Emma Foreman
Womens E - Mairi Whittle
Womens F - Gabrielle Bevins
 
Coach Victor Romero

After the first round of play Central still had all but 1 player still in contention for titles.  Unfortunately Emma Dowman who was 7th seed was unable to upset the draw in the D grade women's division and lost her first round game moving her into the consolation round.

Round two on Saturday saw Matthew Ratcliffe, Samson Power, Sam Deadman, Ngakuira Osborne and Mairi Whittle all book their places in the finals after winning their second round games.  It was time for a great dinner by our Ohakune hosts and some rugby on the glass back.  Central were in a good position heading into the finals day with 5 players in title matches.  We wen't into the day with a very fragile lead in the district points over a determined Auckland team who also had several finals to play.

Sam Deadman took our fist title of the day in the F grade men's competition going long in 3 of the 4 games.  Next up we had Mairi but she was unable to come away with the win, losing in 4.  Samson Power came up against an amazing youngster who took him out of the competition in 3/0.  That left us with the two B grade titles.  Ngakuira Osborne continued her fine form not dropping a game all weekend and took her title in a quick 3 games.  Finally \this left Whanganui’s Matthew Ratcliffe who was second seed going into the final to a very young and fit looking Aucklander Jack Condor, both had moved into A grade recently and Condor was racing up the ranks.  Ratcliffe showed his years or experience and amazing touch on the ball along with a cool head under some interesting referee calls to hold off Condors running as he came unstuck under Ratcliffes constant pressure to take the match and title in 3/2.  This was Ratcliffe’s third shot at the title previously he had lost the finals match in 2016 and 2017.  This took Central to a 2 point lead over Auckland  to claim the NZ District Champion of Champions trophy for the 3rd time in history.

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