Whangarei Boys High School is looking to claim a special piece of history next week. The Northland team is hoping to claim the New Zealand Secondary Schools title for the third time in succession at the Taupo Golf Club. The only other team to complete the three-peat was Rotorua Boys who won three in a row from 1999 – 2001. We caught up with WBHS Coach Quenton Diment, who has been part of the team for five years, as they look to continue their dream run at the national final. 

You have enjoyed some great success in the past two years, what did it mean to coach the guys to their title defence? 


Leading up to the event, it was business as usual. We were focusing on preparing well, and we had a new member in that team, Ben Kennedy that had never played at this level before. On the day it was business as usual - there is no point looking too far ahead and it’s about performance and creating an effective performance mind-set. At the end of the day we realised that it was a winning performance, against the odds too. What a great feeling of satisfaction as a coach, to look at your players, give them a nod or pat on the back and see that look of personal satisfaction and a little bit of surprise in their eyes. It was one of the proudest moments in my life. At prize giving it began to sink in and was a huge thrill. The teacher in charge, Neil Smith and I were over the moon as were the players. When we came home it was another thrill, so many locals buzzing from the lads’ achievements.

Is there pressure as the team looks to go three in a row or are they excited?

The lads are aware and excited by the possibility of breaking new ground for WBHS and Northland by winning three in a row. How could they not be? This is not where the pressure is though - it is on producing a performance that is competitive and places pressure on other teams. We have a good but inexperienced side, we have the courage, we have the skill and we need to get the job done by putting a good score on the board and seeing what others can do. They know that we will be proud of them and what they achieve. They are Northlanders!

Who are the guys in 2014 and how have they prepared?

Braden Keown, Julian Fowler, Christian Nitsche, Ben Bowmar. Braden and Julian played last year and were part of our 2013 campaign at the World Secondary School Championship so have a bunch of experience. Julian has recently attended the NZ development camp and posted an excellent performance at the ask>metro Muriwai Open Charles tour event. Christian is new to the playing squad but has made his presence felt at previous events, recently winning a Northland OOM Senior event in June. This is an important event for him as he pushes for NZ recognition on the development pathway. Ben Bowmar toured with both WSSC campaigns in 2012 and 2013 and was unlucky not to be selected in the winning NZSS team last year. Ben is our team man. Mr reliable.

How do you manage the transition?

The transition is often taken care of by age, as the players graduate from school the next batch of players emerge, the trick is to ensure that the knowledge gained from their competition experiences, the culture of the team and the pride in previous achievements is passed on. The older players tend to be the better players as they have a more developed game, length, short game and mental skills and emotionally more stable. My job is to teaching players (and sometimes parents) to handle the disappointments of missing selection or poor performances. Developing the character to pick yourself up and go at it again. We encourage and foster internal competition within the squad players, I think it is important and breeds healthy competition, with young players snapping at the heels of the front runners. In addition WBHS has a selection policy based on scholastic effort, attitude and performance - not everyone is an academic whizz but their attitude to learning at school, their fellow players and administration and their on course performances are all taken into account. If the first two are not present then unfortunately they aren’t selected.

What has it meant to the kids and the school?

This surprised me. It was so much bigger than I thought it would be. The kids obviously were proud of their achievements, especially last year’s crew. The teachers, the parents, the Headmaster, the coach were walking on air for weeks; even now it is in the back of our minds going into the 2014 event. It helped that the WBHS Golf team was named Team of the year at our Secondary School awards two years running so we got to celebrate all over again. Our results influenced young men to take up the game and to come to WBHS to further their golf game.

How has your preparation been for the 2014 event in Taupo?

It has been good. All the players are in Year 11 – 13 so it’s an important year scholastically. This serves to keep their mind off the pressure of the coming golf event. Relatively it has been quieter that previous years as we did not tour to the WSSC as it was cancelled this year, however all players have had their personal victories that maintain their motivation and go forward. Golf Northland is doing a great job of keeping their players improving and this dovetails nicely into what we are doing. We don’t know the course but this is not unusual. We readily play events on courses that we have never seen before. We will prepare as per normal the day before, course plotting, green reading and assessing surface speeds and how the ground will play. The wind can be tricky but all teams will be facing the problems.

What has been the key to your success?

Several things; there is a small and strong talent pool based at WBHS, the lads feed of each other in a positive way, when one player shoots ahead the other players work to catch up and improve, this is a truly effective way to get young men to work hard and strive to get better. Good mentoring, where coaches, teachers and parents have total belief that the boys can do well and that doing difficult things is great fun!! The WSSC was a fantastic lead up to the NSSC and really helped to gel the team and condition them to pressure. There is Strong interest and support from the school, parents, and the public in general. Ultimately - Phil Eady [the Teacher in charge] and I had a dream, a dream to give the young men at WBHS golfing opportunities so that they can pursue their golfing aspirations. We wanted to present a workable pathway that groomed and prepared our players to perform and succeed at National and International level, to develop the life skills that will allow them to succeed. From this dream things unfolded. We are Northlanders and Proud of it!!

New Zealand Secondary Schools Final Fact Box

When: September 1

Where: Taupo Golf Club (Tauhara Course)

For more information visit: CLICK HERE



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