Teen at the ‘chop’ of his game

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

PHOTO: LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Cleve­land Cherry will rep­re­sent New Zealand dur­ing the Syd­ney Royal Easter Show in 2017.

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