Final four decided for Sundays Finals Day at the Yachting Developments New Zealand Match Racing Championships
The final four teams have been decided for tomorrow’s finals day at the Yachting Developments NZMRC after some unbelievably exciting quarterfinals this afternoon at the RNZYS.
Conditions were perfect for match racing and the mouth-watering match-ups didn’t disappoint all those watching on the water and looking on from the Squadrons Members Bar.
The first quarterfinal saw Josh Junior taking on RNZYS Performance Programme skipper James Wilson, and you could have been forgiven for thinking this may be over in three – especially when Junior went two nil up. However quite the contrary unfolded after that, with Wilson putting up the fight of his life to win the next two matches and tie the scores at two apiece. Wilson also had the upper hand when he managed to get a pre start penalty on Junior, but unfortunately the race was blown up by race management and the decider had to begin again.
Junior then went onto win a tight final match and send his team into the semi-finals – “It was incredibly close and exciting and I think we were lucky to win it. They sailed better than us and, you know, we are pretty happy to make it through to the next stage! He [Wilson} was sailing really well, and most of all he was going incredibly quick, we just couldn’t match his speed so we really struggled with that and it took us a long time to get going. We got pretty lucky with the postponement in one race and that got us back into it, but well done to James and his team.”
The second quarterfinal was a fairly one sided affair, with Leonard Takahashi and his Pacific Racing Team taking down Patrick Harris three nil, which included a very impressive pre start manoeuvre that resulted in a black flag on Harris and his young RNZYS Youth Training Programme team. Takahashi was pretty happy to be in the final four – “It was an interesting quarterfinal. It was good to get a black on him in the first race so we could take a little bit of a break, but nah he sailed really well and always kept it close so it was good fun racing against Patrick. Now we look forward to semis tomorrow.” When asked whether he’d rather face Junior or Steele in the semi’s Takahashi wasn’t so sure “They are both pretty good and we’re going to have to beat them at some stage so we’ll take it on tomorrow and see how it goes”
Quarterfinal three was a familiar match up, with Nick Egnot-Johnson and his RNZYS PP Knots Racing Team taking on RNZYS YTP skipper Jordan Stevenson. These two have had plenty of battles in the last couple of years, and this one didn’t disappoint. After four close races the scores were tied at two all and it was time for a do or die decider to secure a semi-final spot, exactly the same situation these two were in at the Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Championships earlier this year. Once again it was Egnot-Johnson and his US Grand Slam winning Knots Racing team who came out on top and booked their tickets to finals day tomorrow – “Jordan sailed really well, we always seem to have very tight matches with him. Anything could have happened but the boys are really happy we managed to get over the line first in that final race. We are really looking forward to the semis tomorrow!”
It was a battle between two past champions in quarterfinal number four, with Chris Steele taking on Laurie Jury. After Jury collected the start mark in the first race, Steele went on to win and go one nil up quite easily, but the following two races were incredibly tight. You could see that Jury, who hasn’t match raced for nearly ten years, was starting to remember more and more as the battle raged on and the racing was intense and extremely close fought. Steele went on to win the second race by a small margin but was really up against it in the third, with Jury leading on the final downwind leg. However it was not to be as a very fast Steele showed he was the one with more recent racing under his belt by overhauling Jury in the final meters and taking a decisive three nil quarterfinal victory. “It was bloody good battle out there with Laurie. He’s an experienced match racer and I knew it was going to be a tough fight. The boys really pulled through for me in those races though, they were on fire so I’d like to thank them for the form they showed and we’re very much looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”
The Semi Finals will get underway tomorrow at the RNZYS at 10am.
LIVE Results can be found here: https://www.matchracingresults.com/2018/new-zealand-national-championships/
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RNZYS PR & Communications Manager
Andrew Delves – firstname.lastname@example.org