Teen at the ‘chop’ of his game
South Waikato teen Cleveland Cherry is literally proving he’s a cut above the rest.
The 16-year-old Putaruru Axeman’s Club member has been selected by world renowned Tuatahi Racing Axes founder Eddie Fawcett as one of two axemen who will represent New Zealand during the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April 2017.
Each year Fawcett selects only one axeman from the North Island and one from the South Island based on their performance records so after only competing in the highly competitive sport for two years, Cleveland said he felt privileged to have been chosen.
‘‘Eddie Fawcett picks you based on your performance throughout the season and I’ve been one of the better under 21 choppers in the North Island. Technique is the main thing,’’ he said.
So far this season, which runs from October through until April, Cleveland has certainly proved he’s worthy of the selection.
‘‘The season’s just started but we have been to Hamilton, Christchurch and Waiuku,’’ he said.
‘‘In Hamilton they had four under 21 championships and I won all of them and two open chops and in Christchurch, which is probably New Zealand’s biggest chop meeting, I came second and third.’’
He said it was his father Norm Cherry who got him into the sport and he thanked him for his ongoing support.
Norm said they are expecting the Australian competition to be a lot tougher than those in New Zealand.
‘‘It is a lot harder wood over there as they mainly use Woollybutt, Blackbutt, and Mountain Ash (all types of Eucalyptus), whereas we chop pine and poplar which is nowhere near as hard,’’ he said.
He said Cleveland does however have what it takes.
‘‘You have to have a pretty good swing because you can be as big and strong as you like but without good technique you will only go so far,’’ he said.
Norm said Cleveland will be competing in several chops during the event including open, under 21, and 16 and under development chops.
Cleveland said he was looking forward to taking part.
‘‘I don’t know how I will go yet because I have never seen the Aussie boys chop but it’s good being able to win money and [other competitors] are cool people to be around ,’’ he said.
The Tirau Summer Pools in the South Waikato had opened for less than two days when they were forced to close again due to Monday’s major earthquake.
The 7.5 magnitude earthquake centred near Hanmer Springs in the South island was believed to have caused issues with the foot valve in the balance tank at the end of the main pool in Goodwin St.
South Waikato District Council communications manager Kerry Fabrie said the pools would be out of action for some days while repair work and further testing was carried out.
‘‘For some reason, maybe due to the earthquake, [the foot valve] is not functioning as it should and so the water is not able to circulate through the system,’’ she said.
‘‘The issue will take several days to resolve which means that the Tirau Pools will be out of action for the next few days if this is indeed the problem.’’
She said the bad weather meant it should not be an issue for many.
‘‘Hopefully not too many people in our community will be wanting to brave the wind and rain for a swim,’’ she said.
The Tirau Summer Pools were built in 1980 and contain a 25 by 12 metre outdoor pool and a toddler pool which was added in 2009. They only open during the summer months.
Cleveland Cherry will represent New Zealand during the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2017.