Peter Jones

Peter Jones

Sport is on hold until coronavirus restrictions are lifted. File photo.

Sport put on hold

Marlborough’s community sporting landscape was effectively wiped clean by the coronavirus pandemic scare last week.

Sport at all levels was either postponed, put on long-term hold or simply cancelled as most sporting bodies reacted to directives from national bodies and government pressure to reduce the number of people gathering in one place and the likelihood of contracting the virus.

Mainstream sports such as rugby, football, cricket, hockey and netball all issued statements outlining the drastic measures employed to protect their communities and those surrounding them in the coming month or so as the nation battles to keep the virus under control.

Rugby and netball were first to react, announcing on Tuesday that their sports, at community level, would be postponed.

Rugby

New Zealand Rugby postponed all club and community rugby until Saturday, 18 April.

That postponement included all rugby matches, although non-contact training activities can continue, at least in the short term, while NZ Rugby continues to monitor the situation with the Ministry of Health.

School rugby and, in most cases, junior club rugby competitions start in early May and are therefore unaffected by the postponement at this stage.

The only rugby currently being played in Marlborough is the Tasman Trophy competition which began across the top of the south on March 14. As it stands, the competition is set to miss out on at least four rounds of play, although the Tasman union are currently looking at alternatives.

At this stage, full-contact training can resume from Monday, April 13.

Netball

Meanwhile, Netball New Zealand and the country’s five netball zones decided to postpone all winter competitions until at least Saturday, May 2.

The advisory from NNZ includes the postponement of pre-season programmes, tournaments, workshops and other community competitions, including social leagues that are currently in progress.

Those involved with community netball, including umpires, players, officials, and committees are being encouraged to conduct any essential meetings online whenever possible.

Any clubs or schools in the process of trialling, naming teams and commencing trainings are to also postpone until four weeks before the start of their competition, or the first week in April at the earliest.

Marlborough’s netball competitions are scheduled to begin in on May 2, with premier play starting on May 5.

A pre-season tournament planned for April 5 has been cancelled, plus rep trials and the scheduled school holiday programme.

Football

A day later, more grassroots sports felt the bite of Covid-19 as football, hockey and cricket released statements regarding their immediate future.

All Marlborough club football competitions are cancelled or postponed until Saturday, May 2.

All Marlborough Football programmes, Futsal, NZF Football Skills Centres, Tasman United Academy and holiday programmes are cancelled and will resume in term 2 from Tuesday, April 28.

Club trainings are also cancelled, but can resume after April 18 – two weeks prior to the start of the new season.

Hockey

Marlborough hockey also took action. Hockey Marlborough postponed the College trials/muster that were to be held last week and on March 25, then cancelled the planned pre-season mixed club competition and the interschool summer hockey competition.

Their statement said, “The well-being of our players, coaches, umpires, volunteers, supporters and the wider New Zealand community is our top priority. And, while this will be disappointing for many, postponing hockey for the time being is in everyone’s best interests.”

Cricket

While the Marlborough Cricket Association are obviously at the tail-end of their season, they are also impacted.

Following advice from NZ Cricket, they decided to cancel the remaining cricket games and programmes for this summer.

This includes the second grade Challenge Cup final, age group development games, Yeah Girls Hubs, Superstar Academy Programme and school visits scheduled for term 1.

Other sports

Other sports affected include harriers, who postponed their season for “an unknown period of time”, plus Bowls Marlborough who cancelled scheduled champion of champion events in line with a Bowls NZ edict that all organised bowling events for the season be cancelled.

The forthcoming Maadi Cup regatta was cancelled early last week, effectively ending the season for the region’s college rowers.

Following direction from Tennis NZ, the Marlborough Tennis Association has cancelled all organised competition until at least May 2. That covers all interclub competition, organised club tournaments and events, organised affiliate tournaments and events, plus organised midweek competition and club nights as well as the local High Performance training programme.

Four sports based at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000, which was shut down at 5pm on Sunday, have also made other plans.

Marlborough Volleyball decided to cancel their Thursday night competition last week after Government restrictions limiting gathering to less than 100 people were announced.

Swimming Nelson Marlborough, which includes the Blenheim Swim Club, have decided that all SNM meets until the end of April will be cancelled.

Marlborough Basketball have no competitions running at the moment and are monitoring the situation regards rep team trainings.

The Marlborough Squash Club met yesterday to decide what their approach would be.

Marlborough waterpolo is cancelled until next term at the earliest. All NZ waterpolo is on hold or cancelled until further notice, including the Pan Pacs which were scheduled for July.

Marlborough table tennis, which is played a t Simcox Stadium on Batty’s Rd, have postponed the start of their season, a decision which will be reviewed in May. The Marlborough Open scheduled for May 16-17 has been postponed.

Things are also quietening down on the water. The Queen Charlotte Yacht Club has suspended all organised club activities until further notice, including weekend club racing and all coaching.

At this stage the Waikawa Boating Club are proceeding with the race programme, but any social gatherings around this are likely to be severely curtailed. Today sees the last race of the summer series and it’s likely that the winter series will be rescheduled in some way.

Along with the above competition closures, two high-profile social sporting events have been postponed – the Whitehaven GrapeRide, rescheduled until  February 27, 2021, and the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon, which will now take place on May 8, 2021.

Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark won the mixed doubles title. Photo: Supplied. 

Residential tennis titles claimed

Marlborough’s residential tennis champions in singles, doubles and mixed doubles have finally been decided.

Weather delays meant the doubles were postponed from December to March 15, while the singles were played in mid-December and the mixed doubles on March 8.

Hamish McRae picked up both the men’s singles title and the doubles crown, alongside Hamish Morrow. Eveline Apthorp claimed the women’s singles title while Donna Clark and Pauline Fudge took out the women’s doubles.

Clark bagged her second 2019-20 residential title in the mixed final, alongside Hugh Robinson.

 

Results

Men’s residential singles (December 7, 2019). Semifinals: Oscar Parkinson defeated Oscar Sanford-Jury 2-6 6-2 10-7; Hamish McRae defeated Ant Walkenhorst 0-6 7-6 10-8 – both matches completed over two days due to rain. Final: McRae defeated Parkinson 6-0, default.

Men’s residential doubles (March 15, 2020). Semifinals: Hamish Morrow and Hamish McRae defeated Brendan Sutherland and Owen Dodson 6-2 6-3; Hugh Robinson and Glen Cameron defeated Paddy Lankshear and Warner Nichol 6-1 6-1. Final: Morrow and McRae defeated Robinson and Cameron 6-2 4-6 6-3.

Women’s residential singles (December 7, 2019). Eveline Apthorp won the singles after defeating Ella Sowman 6-3 2-6 10-4.

Women’s residential doubles (March 15, 2020). Semifinals: Donna Clark and Pauline Fudge defeated Caroline Cornelius and Anna Simpson 6-0 6-1; Eveline Apthorp and Lyn Murray defeated Ella Sowman and Grace Howard 6-0 6-3. Final: Clark and Fudge defeated Apthorp and Murray 7-6 7-5.

Mixed residential doubles (March 8, 2020). Final: Hugh Robinson and Donna Clark defeated Eveline Apthorp and Glen Cameron 6-4 6-1.

Big-hitting Danni Mete, from the victorious Pino Balls team, slams another boundary. Photo: Peter Jones.

Women come out to play

Sixty five enthusiastic women cricketers took part in Sunday’s Churchill Private Hospital Women’s Cricket Festival Day.

Ten teams, some with large numbers of vocal supporters, enjoying the perfect weather as they played a number of six-aside matches. Players batted in pairs, facing two overs each, then all had a chance to bowl an over.

Marlborough Cricket Association general manager Ed Gilhooly said, “We received plenty of positive feedback and judging by the noise around the park it was clear everyone was having a great time”.

Team Pino Balls were the competition winners with Courtney Bowen being adjudged player of the day, her team mate Danni Mete claiming the award for biggest hitter and Kerryn Wood taking out the prize for best catch.

Some of the responses on social media summed up a popular event.

“So much fun….anyone keen for a social game or indoor cricket?

“So much fun today and on Tuesdays. I’ll really miss playing!”

“Loved it! Thanks for roping me in”

The festival will certainly be returning next summer, added Gilhooly.

The 4x50m relay team - from left Rhys Gjelstad, Finn McNabb, Alfie Price, Katie Marsh, Kyla Thorstensen, Nicola Lovell. Photo supplied.

Junior swimmers excel at NZ Festival

The Blenheim Swim Club contingent punched well above its weight at the NZ Junior Festival (Mako zone) meet, staged in Timaru recently.

Twelve junior swimmers, plus their coach Jenni Gane, took part in what is essentially the South Island championship for junior swimmers aged 12 years and under, producing some great podium finishes and a string of new personal best times.

Spread over three days, nearly 300 swimmers from across the South Island completed in high intensity racing at the Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre, with swimmers needing to have previously swum qualifying times to enter their events.

Coach Gane was delighted with the team’s performance, stating that the effort and commitment in training during the build-up had really paid off as 82 percent of all swims in Timaru saw new PBs recorded. “As a coach a PB is all you can ask for, anything more than that is just a bonus,” she said.

Among the boys the standout results came from Alfie Price (10) who finished with six first place finishes from his six events, including four unofficial new Nelson Marlborough records, and Rhys Gjelstad (11) who notched seven podium finishes, including two wins.

For the girls, Jessica (12) and Nicola (10) Lovell kept it in the family with identical second and third place podium finishes in the 100 and 50 fly events.

The team relays provided some of the real highlights as the BSC club achieved two podiums against some of the much-larger South Island clubs, including third in the mixed 6x50m freestyle relay and second in the girls 4×50 free relay.

Unfortunately Covid-19 has seen the cancellation of both the National Age Group and Division 2 Championships over the next couple of months as well as all local meets until at least May.

The swimmers will now refocus their goals on the some of the larger meets near the end of the year.

The full team to travel south was: Adian Bennett, Maggie George-Harris, Rhys Gjelstad, Eliza Glover, Sophie Kole, Jessica Lovell, Nicola Lovell, Katie Marsh, Carys McNabb, Finlay McNabb, Alfie Price, Kyla Thorstensen.

Podium results:

Alfie Price (10yr boys) – 1st – 100IM, 50M Free, 200M Free, 50M fly, 200M IM, 100M free

Rhys Gjelstad (11yr boys) – 1st – 200m Breast, 100m Breast, 2nd – 50m Breast, 100IM, 100m Fly, 200IM, 3rd – 200m Free

Jessica Lovell (12yr Girls )– 2nd 100m Fly, 3rd – 50m Fly

Nicola Lovell (10yr Girls) – 2nd 100m fly, 3rd – 50m Fly

Mixed 6×50 Freestyle relay – (1 boy and girl swimmer from each age group) – 3rd –  Nicola Lovell, Alfie Price, Rhys Gjelstad, Katie Marsh, Finn McNabb, Kyla Thorstensen

Girls 12U 4x50m Freestyle relay – 2nd – Jessica Lovell, Eliza Glover, Sophie Kole, Kyla Thorstensen.

Julie Smith with the club and ball she used to register an ace at the Allan Scott tournament. Photo: Supplied.

Ace marks golf tournament finale

A hole in one on the final day by Julie Smith, playing on her home course, provided a spectacular highlight of the Allan Scott Family Wines Women’s Golf Tournament that concluded at the Marlborough Golf Club on Wednesday.

Smith aced the par-three 121m fifth, and a hole where a car was at stake for a hole-in-one the previous year.

This was the 21st staging of the popular tournament, which attracted over 200 golfers from throughout the country to the Fairhall course.

On the final day, Wednesday, a gross competition was staged, with Fleur Reynolds from Muriwai prevailing with a score of 81 from Rarangi’s Tracy Bary who was a shot further back in the division one standings.

On Monday the players competed across three divisions in a stableford competition, with the overall winner being Dale Bain of Feilding with 48 points.

Tuesday saw a four ball/best ball stableford played, with Kirsty Hardie-Boys and Juliette Wotton from Akarana coming out on top, scoring 51 points.

 

Results

March 16, stableford. Overall winner Dale Bain (Feilding) 48. Div 1: Diane Patchett (Miramar) 42; Fran Sutherland (Totaradale) 40; Lizzie Turnbull (Marlborough) 40. Div 2: Cherry Wilson (Marlborough) 48; Margaret Black (Harewood) 44; Sally Ussher (Greenacres) 43. Div 3: Di Lofthouse (Marlborough) 44; Kirsty Hardie-Boys (Akarana) 42; Jackie McGarry (Marlborough) 42.

 

March 17, 4BBB stableford. Kirsty Hardie-Boys and Juliette Wotton (Akarana) 51; Marie Bell and Linley Trapp (Harewood) 50; Lyn Schott (Kaikoura) and Ruth Smith (Methven) 49; Julie Nicolle and Anne Preston (Marlborough) 48; Jo Baker and Marion Elliott (Miramar) 48.

March 18, gross. Div 1: Fleur Reynolds (Muriwai) 81; Tracy Bary (Rarangi) 82; Jeanette Ross (Russley) 85. Div 2; Chris Fahey (Russley) 88; Diane Patchett (Miramar) 90; Cathy Forth (Titirangi) 91; Bronwyn Fletcher (Royal Auckland & Grange) 91. Div 3: Julie Jones (Titirangi) 93; Mary Skilton (Marlborough) 97; Rosemary Burns (Miramar) 98.

Net Medal. Div 1: Janne Moyle (Paraparaumu Beach) 69; Christine Selwyn (Miramar) 71; Mary Smith (Feilding) 73; Julie Smith (Marlborough) 73. Div.2: Pauline McLafferty (Titirangi) 68; Kath Kirk (Russley) 68; Frances Handforth (Marlborough) 69. Div 3: Rosemary Burns (Miramar) 72; Grace Clark (Greenacres) 72; Linley Trapp (Harewood) 72.

Winners of the gross trophy at the Allan Scott Family Wines Marlborough Golf Tournament: 2000 Margaret Tapp (Rarangi); 2001 Ann Rutledge (Marlborough); 2002 Chris Brodie (Charteris Bay); 2003 Jeanette Ross (Russley); 2004 Jeanette Ross (Russley); 2005 Mary Hoare (North Otago);  2006 Mary Hoare (North Otago); 2007 Chris Brodie (Charteris Bay); 2008 Serena Brailsford (Marlborough); 2009 Helen Hames (Waimate); 2010 Suzanne Ewing (Wanaka); 2011 Jeanette Ross (Russley); 2012 Jeanette Ross (Russley); 2013 Andrea Thomas (Auckland); 2014 Sue Murray (Awatere); 2015 Julie Nicole (Marlborough); 2016 Chrissie Mackie (Kaikoura); 2017 Emily Stenhouse (Marlborough); 2018 Suzette Eastwood (Omaha Beach); 2019 Chris Brodie (Charteris Bay); Fleur Reynolds (Muriwai).

Renwick’s energetic cover defence wraps up dangerous Waitohi halfback Saia Tokai during the latter stages of Saturday’s Tasman Trophy match at the Renwick Domain. Photo: Peter Jones.

Green Machine quickly into gear

Renwick and Central were quickest out of the blocks when the 2020 race for the Tasman Trophy rugby competition began in the top of the south on Saturday.

Opening salvoes in the division one showpiece were fired in brilliant Marlborough early-autumn sunshine, Renwick accounting for Waitohi 40-22 at the Renwick Domain and Central downing Moutere 50-27 at Lansdowne Park.

Both games were typical early-season affairs, teams mixing moments of co-ordination and flair with periods of muddled play and inaccurate attack. The hefty scorelines suggested defence is a “work on”, an issue to be expected at this stage of the campaign.

Renwick have their eyes set on claiming a first Marlborough title and downing the defending champs first up is a step in the right direction, although the lop-sided score line on Saturday was hardly indicative of the tussle that ensued.

At halftime the game was in the balance, the Green Machine holding a tenuous 14-10 lead after both sides had scored twice.

However the break acted as something of a turning point, the home side quickly racking up 26 unanswered points to ensure the vocal home crowd went away happy. Renwick played a more expansive game, linking well between backs and forwards and denying Waitohi field position from where they could utilise their potent close-to-the-breakdown attack.

The Tohis underlined their renowned fighting spirit with two late tries to grab a four-try bonus point, but had to bow to a better team on the day.

Outstanding up front for the victors, who were without props George Tuineau and Quinn Harrison-Jones this week, were loosies Cody Weir, who scored a hat-trick of tries, and Kurt Schollum, plus prop Sione Lonitenisi and lock Jaydn Holdaway. The new 9/10 combination of halfback Ruairidh Swan and Alex Barnsley showed promise, especially given a better platform in the second spell, while midfielders Kyle Marfell and Pecili Denicaucau threatened throughout.

Taimi Fangatua, Corey McCaffery, Taine Cragg-Love, Andre Hebberd and Dylan Burns impressed up front for the visitors, who were missing Corey Bovey and Jack Evans, while halfback Saia Tokai, midfielder Nela Samita and newcomer Dylan McManaway shone in the backline.

Renwick’s head coach Glenn Blackmore was happy to grab a first-up win but quickly acknowledged it was only a small step along the way.

“Waitohi are obviously a tough challenge first up and they brought a lot of intensity, but our goal was to get off to a positive start and the scoreline reflected that.

“In the second half Jaydn [Holdaway] and Kurt [Schollum] really stepped up and I was happy with how our set pieces went, especially with a couple of front rowers away this week.”

Meanwhile at Lansdowne Park, the Blues opened up a handy lead against the Magpies and never relinquished it, although Moutere stayed in the fight to bag a bonus point for scoring four tries.

Central led 33-10 at halftime, scoring four tries and getting good value from lock Jone Lasaganibau, plus outside backs Nigel Satherley and Eseroma Wagalutu.

The second half was less decisive, being drawn 17-17, with the Magpies, who have had an off-season battle to get numbers on the park, battling back to grab their consolation point.

Coach Laurie McGlone was happy on three counts; they had good numbers available, his charges fought untilo the final whistle and, on a personal note, he didn’t have to step into the reserves as happened so often last season.

He pointed to skipper Luke Scott and halfback Tristan Taylor as their best performers.

Scores

Renwick 40 (Rurairidh Swan, Cody Weir 3, Sione Lonitenisi, Pecili Denicaucau tries, Alex Barnsley 5 con) Waitohi 22 (Saia Tokai, Nela Samita, Tiare Tautari, Taimi Fangatua tries, Dylan McManaway con). HT: 14-10 Renwick.

Central 50 (Jeremy Foley, Jone Lasaganibau, Liam Duncan, Eseroma Wagalutu, Samuela Levu, Jesse Eising, Nigel Satherley tries, Duncan 3 con, pen, Glen Smith 2 con, Gareth Smith con) Moutere 27 (Clyde Paewai, Kaleb Avery, Haven Walsh, Dan Monaghan tries, Monaghan con, Kieran Lloyd con, pen). HT: 33-10.

Other Tasman Trophy scores

Waimea Old Boys 55 Stoke 20

Kahurangi 32 Marist 32

Wanderers 37 Nelson 14

Pulse wing defence Karin Burger rises high to claim possession at Stadium 2000. Photo: Supplied.

Pulse beats stronger at Stadium 2000

The Te Wananga o Raukawa Pulse immediately underlined their champion status with a decisive 53-41 win over the Good Oil Pulse at Blenheim’s Stadium 2000 on Sunday afternoon.

The defending ANZ Premiership champions from Wellington took on a Tactix side boosted by a couple of players returning from serious injury and the arrival of Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit. The southerners have been tipped to make a strong showing in the 2020 competition, but will have some thinking to do after letting what was a close game at halftime get away from them in the second half.

In the end it was the Pulse’s more-settled combinations that saw them through the first match of the new season.

Their shooters Ameliaranne Ekanasio and Aliyah Dunn immediately clicking into the same gear that saw them finish 2019 in such style. Midcourters Maddy Gordon, Claire Kersten and Karin Burger offered pace and accuracy through the centre of the court while the defensive trio of the inspirational Katrina Rore, Kelly Jury and Elle Timu preyed on any loose ball and inaccurate passes.

However, it took them a while to get into full stride. After knocking in the first three goals they were reminded whose side the majority of the 1000-strong crowd were on when a loud roar accompanied the first goal from Selby-Rickit.

A see-sawing first quarter ended with the Tactix holding a slender 12-11 advantage, which became a 22-22 score line at the main break.

Immediately after halftime the Pulse upped the ante, moving out to a four-goal lead. Tactix replied to level midway through the quarter but the final five minutes belonged to the side from the capital as they forged a 38-31 lead at three-quarter time.

Despite working relentlessly to create turnovers in the final 15 minutes the Tactix were frustrated by the defending champs, who closed the game out in some style, combining scintillating straight-line attack with dogged defence to stretch the final margin to 12 goals.

The respective shooting stats also tell a story, Dunn nailing 35 from 38 attempts and Ekanasio dropping in 18 from 22. With less possession, the Tactix shooters put up nine less shots, Ellie Bird slotting 26 from 29 and Selby-Rickit 15 from 22 with her high-trajectory shots.

Skipper Jane Watson, who managed seven deflections for the match, showed the way for the Christchurch-based side, who also got good value from the hard-working Kimiora Poi, Erikana Pedersen and Charlotte Elley while Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotua worked well in tandem, especially in the first spell.

Despite the final scoreline, Watson was happy with some parts of her side’s performance.

“Our first half was really competitive … we sort of went away from doing our own jobs within out structure and we just got pulled apart a little bit in the third and fourth quarters.

“Also, as defence we didn’t get enough ball in that second half as well.”

The Silver Ferns defender expected that her side’s combinations would not take long to gel.

“Me and Tem [Fakahokotau] haven’t played together for a long time now and Te Paea has just come in, as has Erikana after her injury, so there was definitely nerves out there and new combinations.

“But it’s exciting and we will definitely come together eventually.”

Her opposing skipper, Rore, said she was happy with how her side had begun their title defence.

“We are up and running. At times it felt a bit like a Pulse home game actually, we had quite a few supporters here, which we were happy about.

“People have been talking up the Tactix this season so to play them first-up was nice and to get a win as well, we’ll take that.”

Members of the Rangers AFC squad get together before practice. From left, front: Jordan Columbus, Juri Casali, Tore Waechter, George Bond, Wolfie Waechter. Middle: Tana Connor-McClean, Ollie Baker, Scott Belsham, Carl Connor-McClean, Julian Delgado. Back: Liam Sluiter, Harrison Pine, Sam Pearson, Jono Masters, James Coughlan. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers AFC to again take on Nelson’s best

Marlborough football’s fluctuating relationship with Nelson’s division one competition is back on again.

Two years ago Rangers AFC cut an unbeaten swathe through the Nelson championship, taking the title with three games to play. However last season, through a combination of factors, there was no Marlborough team in the division one race, the province’s top players being sprinkled through the various club sides on this side of the hill.

But in 2020 there will again be a presence in the top of the south battle, Rangers AFC confirming that they will field a team.

Leading the way is former Rangers AFC skipper Tore Waechter, a key player in their 2018 charge to the title. The 26-year-old midfielder will be player/coach of a formidable unit, comprising some veterans of previous campaigns and some untried, yet talented youngsters.

Lanky striker Adam Rose, right winger Sam Pearson, forward Carl Connor-McClean, defenders/midfielders Liam Sluiter and Julian Delgado, the energetic Jordan Columbus, plus young striker Harrison Pine were part of the title-winning team in 2018 and will form a solid basis of the current crop.

Newcomers Juri Casali, an Italian centre back working locally as a winemaker, plus former Tahuna player Scott Belsham will offer fresh talent, while such solid local performers as defender Ollie Baker, Jono Masters, James Coughlan and George Bond will team with youngsters such as Tana Connor-McClean and Dan Diamond, last year’s MBC keeper, in a squad which is expected to have more additions over the coming weeks. Providing back-up at keeper will be Brad Eiffe, the Tasman United Academy coach in Marlborough and a former Waimak (Christchurch) club player.

Waechter said a group of players had begun pre-season training on January 21 and were showing promise, especially during a run against a Woodbourne combination last week.

“Obviously we have a pretty big squad, which may mean we use some rotation, but it’s great for cover when players are away or injured.

“There is plenty of excitement in the camp … there are some players that have been around for a while who have come in this year and are fully fit, ready to give it their best shot.

“In our pre-season game we didn’t appear to have any weaknesses around the park, everyone was putting in the same sort of effort and pulling their weight around the field. It’s awesome to have a team back this year, so now we are just keen to get into it.”

Rangers’ first game is expected to be on March 28, although the draw had not yet been confirmed.

The participation record of Marlborough-based sides in the Nelson division one league has been something of a rollercoaster over the past decade.

When Rangers AFC joined the Nelson league in 2018 they followed in the footsteps of the Marlborough Mariners side, who competed in 2016.

The first Marlborough team to carry the Mariners moniker was in 2010, when they brought together the majority of the region’s top talent.

The Mariners continued in 2011 then, after a two year hiatus, Marlborough again established a presence in the Nelson league, with talented youngsters forming a Marlborough Development combination who contested the league in 2014-15.

Rangers AFC manager this season is local footballing stalwart Wolfie Waechter.

 

Bullets all fired up

The Rangers men won’t be the only Marlborough-based team plying their trade in a Nelson division one football competition.

The Blenheim Valley FC Liquid Action Bullets women’s team are gearing up for another season, which kicks off on Saturday, April 4.

Having placed fourth last year, the team are keen to build on that debut success. Coaches Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy are confident they will again be competitive and are pleased with the addition of five, more experienced players to the squad – in the form of Hannah Cook, Nicole Hyland, Tessa Lewis, Alicia McLeod, and Kirsten Pease.

The team farewelled Ruby Smith, Jannika Roubos, Ruby Wybourne, and Maggie Lane at the end of last season – with the first three leaving the region and Lane returning to play for her home team of Picton in the youth grade in 2020.

“We have a really promising team lined up to play this season – with a good solid crew of returning players, buoyed by the addition of our experienced newcomers to the team. We’re ready to build on our success in 2019, and excited to get the season underway,” Thomas says.

The BVFC Liquid Action Bullets: Makenzie Adkins, Destiny Aires, Shannah-Lee Aires, Eliza Bickerton, Taryn Gilbert, Tessa Hyland, Hannah Martin, Lucy Martin, Erin Mustey, Abby Owen, Lea Poletti, Riley Preece, Lauren Sloan, Rebecca Stuart, Freya Thompson, Hannah Cook, Nicole Hyland, Tessa Lewis, Alicia McLeod, Kirsten Pease, Maddison Rowe.

Nikau Peipi soars into the long jump pit at the recent New Zealand Track and Field champs. Photo: Alisha Lovrich Photography.

Nikau on a winning roll

It has been a huge few weeks for Marlborough athlete and touch player Nikau Peipi.

Following his efforts at the junior nationals, the 15-year-old Marlborough Boys’ College student was named in the New Zealand under-16 mixed touch team which will travel to Australia’s Gold Coast in September.

He has also been making startling headway on the athletics front.

After travelling to Brisbane in early March he proved his prowess with some strong offshore performances, earning a much-coveted international classification, allowing him to compete at the top level in para track and field events.

Across the ditch he finished 11th in the senior para men’s 100m, and made the top eight in the senior para men’s shot put.

He then returned home for the New Zealand Track and Field champs in Christchurch where he upped the ante.

Nikau claimed gold in the under-17 para 100m, setting a new national under-17, under-20 and men’s record with a time of 12.29, his personal best.

He also claimed gold and a PB in the under-17 para shot put, breaking the NZ U-17 record with a put of 10.43m.

Next came a third gold in the under-17 para high jump, his leap of 1.68m creating another national record and PB.

Nikau added a silver medal in the under-17 200m, recording a PB of 24.39. He also claimed silver in the under-17 long jump, leaping 5.10m.

 

Club members look on as Gary Parlane, president and club captain of the Witherlea Indoor Bowls Club, delivers the first bowl of the new season on opening night. Photo: Supplied.

Indoor bowlers begin recruitment drive

Spending time “on the mat” has never been so much fun, according to Marlborough’s indoor bowls community.

The popular indoor sport is played throughout the province during the winter months, with organisers promoting it as a chance to test your skills, meet people and enjoy some friendly rivalry.

Marlborough Indoor Bowls are about to roll into another busy season and are keen to attract more players to their sport.

To this end they have organised a couple of promotional events, designed to provide an opportunity for new players to try their hand at the sport.

Open days will be staged at Simcox Stadium, in Batty’s Rd, on three consecutive Tuesdays – March 17, 24 and 31, beginning at 1pm each day. All current indoor bowlers and new players are invited to attend.

In conjunction with the open days, a “Family Fun Day” will be held at the same venue on Sunday, March 22, at 1pm. This event provides an opportunity for the whole family to have a go at mastering the simple yet rewarding game. Association coach Glen Hurcomb and several senior players will be on hand to provide assistance and tuition. Glen can be contacted on 03-5792574.

Glen explains the benefits of a sport which currently involves around 200 bowlers across the province.

“Indoor bowls is a low-cost sport with bowls and mats provided. It is a game that can be played by everyone, from eight to 108, either socially or at a more competitive level.

“The game also offers a mild level of exercise along with mental stimulation and good social contact. It requires careful game analysis and skills that make each game you play a real challenge of mind and wit.”

Marlborough currently has 10 clubs in operation, some playing Monday, the others on Wednesdays. Most provide on-going coaching and are always on the look-out for new members. Club playing times vary, enabling members to compete at times that best suit their lifestyle or location.

Along with regular club competitions, Marlborough Indoor Bowls choose players to take part in a series of representative fixtures staged across the top of the south and Canterbury throughout the season. The biggest of these is the annual Lemon Shield tournament, which involves 48 Marlborough players.

In June next year the NZ nationals will be staged at Stadium 2000, attracting up to 800 bowlers.

Club details

Playing Monday evenings

Clubs of Marlborough – 7pm – contact Glen Hurcomb 03-5792574

Witherlea – 7pm – contact Gary Parlane 03-5784706

Pastimes/Redwoodtown – 7.30pm – contact Errol Fairhurst 03-5788972

 

Playing Wednesday

Strand/Redwoodtown – 1pm – contact Debbie Wearing 03-5776750

Rai Valley – 5pm – contact Margaret Leslie 03-5728452

Waikawa – 7pm – contact John McCarthy 03-5739086

Blenheim South/Redwoodtown – 7.30pm – contact Diedre Wells 03-5787748

Grovetown/Wesley Foundry – 7.30pm – contact Morris 03-5786699

Linkwater – 7.30pm – contact Judith Andrews 03-5736919

Rapaura – 7.30pm – contact Julian Adams 03-5705971