• Josh Clarkson's ready to tee off

Josh Clarkson's ready to tee off

Central Stag Josh Clarkson is looking forward to Central Districts Cricket’s Golf Day next week more than most.
That’s because the big allrounder is the current holder of the team’s Green Cap - a particularly sought-after piece of embroidered headware that the team introduced this summer for the best golfer in the Stags team.
“We’ve had a season-long golf tournament running between the boys while we’ve been on tour,” explains Clarkson. 
“It’s done on your handicap and how many Stablefords you get [a Stableford being a scoring system where, rather than counting the total number of strokes taken over the course, the points are based on the number of strokes taken at each hole].
“I’m leading at the moment and I’ve had it for most of the season actually. I got it off Tom Bruce pretty early!”
Despite this coveted bragging right, the big hitter - whether it’s teeing off on the golf course or at McLean Park - candidly admits he is not, in fact, be the best golfer in the Central Stags team.
“Brad Schmulian is the best golfer in the team. He’s got the best handicap - he’s on a +1.7 and Christian Leopard is right up there as well, he’s on a three. But they haven’t got the Green Cap.”

The Stags’ competition sees them visit golf courses all around the country during their days off from playing cricket, with a sub-rule that at least three players in the four have to be in the playing XI. A trip to Taupo for Central Districts A fixtures was especially valued for a chance to play at Kinloch but next week’s CD Golf Day at the Hawke’s Bay Golf Course in Bridge Pa will be the ultimate showdown.
A fundraiser for Community cricket in the CD region, members of the public can request a Stag to make up their four at the Golf Day - or enter as a readymade four or an individual to compete for spot prizes as well as overall gongs at the fun prizegiving at the end of the day.
“We’re all looking forward to finding out who we’ll be playing with,” says Clarkson. “It should be a really good day. It’s just unlucky for some of the punters who get someone like Blair Tickner or Ajaz Patel in their team.”
Clarkson’s advice to punters is to approach the Par 3’s with due respect. “They’re quite short so they’re always a bit of a challenge. And there’s one hole which is pretty straight, but it’s also pretty narrow so people with big slices like Will Young and Ben Smith are going to struggle, and especially Tom Bruce who is a massive candidate for that.”
Open to all (participants just have to pre-register at www.cdcricket.co.nz by 5 April for the Thursday, 8 April event), the CD Golf Day includes putting and longest drive competitions, Clarkson’s eye already lighting up at the latter.
“The last time I was at our CDCA Golf Day I’d broken my arm: I was driving around on the golf cart taking photos so I’m really looking forward to actually playing in this one. It will be a very enjoyable day. It will be very competitive too, and there will be some sort of wager on it I’m sure amongst the boys. The cap won’t be on the line, but I’m sure I’ll be wearing it!”
“The Golf Day is always a nice way for the players and us at CDCA to give back to our public at the end of the season,” Central Districts CEO Pete de Wet added. 
“It’s an opportunity for us to connect with fans and stakeholders and a chance to raise money for the grassroots of our game as we see off another summer of cricket. 
“There will be lots of prizes, refreshments on the course and fun activities and it’s a real opportunity to get to know our players who love their sport and are a lot of fun out on the course.”
The Golf Day begins with a shotgun start at 11.30am and is an Ambrose tournament - where every team member tees off, then one ball is selected as the location for the team's second shot, and so on through the hole. Entrants can select which Stag joins their team so now that you’ve got the inside word, get those dibs in for Clarkson, Schmulian and Leopard — or you could be stuck with a Bruce.
- Hawke’s Bay Golf Club, 114 Valentine Road, Hastings
- Shotgun start 11.30am, 8 April 2021
- Register at cdcricket.co.nz by 5PM 5 April 2021