Peter Jones

Peter Jones

Cameron Lyons picked up two wins for Marlborough Forrest Wines in the Wednesday night premier tennis competition. Photo: Peter Jones.

Renwick tennis team stretches lead

Renwick and Rapaura Noir claimed hard-fought wins in the latest round of Marlborough premier tennis.

Table-toppers Renwick beat Rapaura Blanc 6-3 while Rapaura Noir edged past Marlborough Forrest Wines 5-4 on Wednesday.

Hamish Morrow and Cameron Lyons ensured Marlborough made a winning start in the men’s doubles, getting the better of the accomplished Noir pairing of Hamish McRae and Brendan Sutherland 7-5, 7-6.

Hugh Robinson and Glen Cameron got Noir on the board, beating Jay and Luca Geris 6-0, 6-2, while Rapaura also claimed the mixed doubles clash, by default, a crucial result as it turned out.

The singles were shared, McRae beating Morrow 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 in the top match. Noir also notched wins through Ross Charlton and Eveline Apthorp to take out the tie.

Lyon and both the Geris brothers won singles for Marlborough.

The men’s doubles were shared in the Renwick v Rapaura Blanc tie, Ben Burridge and Stephen Dempster claiming a victory for Rapaura before Oscar Sandford-Jury and Chris Nott levelled the score for Renwick.

The mixed doubles were won by Renwick’s Daniel Riordan and Mieko Kimura, then they wrapped up the tie by claiming four of the six singles through wins to Nott, Joseph Sandford-Jury, Riordan and Kimura.

Points after seven rounds: Renwick CPR 104, Rapaura Wairau Blanc 84, Rapaura Wairau Noir 64, Marlborough Forrest Wines 51.

 

WK+ Presidents grade results, November 26.

Division 1: MTC Power 0 Rapaura Wairau River 4; MTC Chilli 1 Rapaura Just Move 3.

Division 2: Rapaura Newhawkes 2 (24) MTC Swifts 2 (33); Rapaura Pinot 1 MTC Roger Townley Construction 3; Renwick Mighty Four 2 (30) MTC Volleyeurs 2 (27); MTC Swallows 2 (33) Rapaura Matadors 2 (26).

Division 3: Renwick Rebels 4 Renwick Re-strung 0; MTC Bjorn Again 1 Grovetown Grove Tavern Turf & Tackle 3; Renwick Rookies 0 Renwick Netsetters 4; MTC Tennis the Menace 2 (31) Rapaura Chardonnay 2 (26).

Division 4: Renwick Racquets 1 Rapaura Shiraz 3; Rapaura Vines 0 Grovetown Grove Tavern Platters 4.

NOTE: For the nest round Renwick Netsetters have been promoted to division two, replacing Rapaura Matadors, who have dropped down to division three.

MBC student George Glover training in the Sounds for his fund-raising swim later this year. Photo: Supplied.

Young swimmer inspired to make a difference

Inspiration is often found in the most unlikely places.

However, in George Glover’s case, it came in an entirely appropriate setting.

After hearing champion free diver William Trubridge speak at the Inspire Foundation Marlborough grants evening in April, the 16-year-old Marlborough Boys’ College year 12 student decided it was time he did something about the issues he felt strongly about.

So, the seeds of what George has termed “The Black Dog Swim” were sown.

From December 30 until January 8, George plans to swim the length of Queen Charlotte Sound and back again, his mission being to highlight youth mental health and raise funds for I AM HOPE.

This youth and community-focused support group, run by The Key to Life Charity Trust, promotes positive attitudinal societal change in schools and communities, while funding private care and counselling for young people stuck-in-the-mud on waiting lists.

Last year alone, 137 New Zealand young people died by suicide and it is estimated 3500 tried to take their own lives.

“There are two degrees of separation in New Zealand,” George says. “But there is only one degree of separation between mental health and suicide.

“Unfortunately, youth suffering from mental health issues can’t always get the help when they need it, with some having to wait up to six months to receive counselling.”

George hopes to raise at least $50,000 from his marathon swim, providing all-important resources for I AM HOPE and enabling those that are suffering to get help quickly.

“The I AM HOPE fund, which provides mental health counselling for all New Zealanders between the ages of 13 and 25, has run dry over the last nine months, so more funds are urgently needed,” said George.

The Inspire evening, coupled with William’s words and his “dive” across Cook Strait to raise awareness of the plight of Hector and Maui dolphins, triggered a positive response in the young man who will be Marlborough Boys’ College head boy in 2020.

“I went home and I through, ‘I want to do something’ … William had another take with his Cook Strait effort, so I thought ‘I like swimming … what can I do?’ And it just evolved from there.”

The Queen Charlotte swim has never been done before, one of the primary reasons George chose to do it, pushing himself well outside his personal comfort zone.

Although George is a competitive pool swimmer, one of the best in the Nelson Marlborough region for the past four years and an age-group silver medallist in the 1500m freestyle at the latest NZ short course champs, he has limited experience of long-distance ocean swimming.

He has competed in the annual 2.3km White’s Bay to Rarangi swim, setting the quickest time earlier this year, and has been training regularly with an ocean swim group in Picton. However, he reckons his longest previous ocean swim was around 12km, a far cry from what lies ahead.

The Black Dog Swim is estimated to cover 123km (66 nautical miles). George will hop into the water at Anakiwa, swim around to Picton then up the south side of the Sound to East Bay before crossing over the northern side for the trip back to Anakiwa. He expects to spend around six hours per day in the water for 10 days, with the longest leg covering about 18km.

George is well aware it is a bold step into the unknown.

“I feel I’ll never be fully prepared for it. It is going to be 10 days in the sea and I don’t feel that I can simulate that … but I reckon it is doable and I have a great support crew to help me get there.”

He has enlisted the help of local identities Ross Anderson and Norm Wilson, who have vast experience of the area, plus talked mental preparation with local endurance cyclist Craig Harper whose 10-day Ride Across America has certain parallels, and Dave Edgar, a vastly-experienced river, lake and ocean swimmer.

Although sharing his time with a string of school and environmental organisations, George is training around 10km each day in the pool, plus grabbing ocean swims whenever possible. His preparation is well-planned but the teenager admits he has some nerves as the start time approaches.

“Physically yes, but more so mentally. It’s just being in the water for six hours a day, especially on days four, five and six when it really starts to hurt … but I will push through it and it will all go well in the end.

“Completing the swim is possible, but I know I am going to have to put in a lot of hard work to make it happen.”

George’s Give A Little link is: https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/black-dog-swim-for-nz-youth-mental-health

Here is also the link to the Instagram account: https://instagram.com/blackdogswim

He will have regular updates on both Instagram and Facebook pages.

Alastair Gifford, left, with the victorious Kiwi crew. Photo: RPAYC.

Gifford skippers NZ crew to victory in Australia

Alastair Gifford, the sailing nominee at the recent Marlborough Sports Awards, underlined his ability at international level with a notable triumph in Australia late last month.

Gifford, who is based in Auckland, skippered a Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) team to victory in the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s (RPAYC) Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship near Sydney.

He and his team of Henry Angus, Chester Duffett, Hunter Gardyne and Seb Lardies successfully defending the title won by fellow club member Jordon Stevenson last year.

In the final, Gifford’s crew defeated the world-ranked No. 20 team from Wales, skippered by Matthew Whitfield from Penarth Yacht Club. Gifford pocketed the $1200 winner’s cheque, with $800 going to Wales as runner-up.

Resilience was required. Gifford’s team had to recover from being two down in the final, but the Kiwis fought back to win the next three matches in the best-of-five series, to take the title.

Gifford said the standard of competition was high making it “a pretty hard-fought event”.

“We knew it was going to be tight competition, so we’re very happy with how we went, especially coming up against the Welsh who are number 20 in the world,” added Gifford, whose crew went in world-ranked 117.

“We had a little bit of practice before we came here, but it’s the first time we’ve raced together,” he said.

Throughout the event, the Kiwi crew lost only four matches, two in the round robin, and two in the final. In the semi-finals, they took on the RPAYC all-female team skippered by Juliet Costanzo and beat them 3-0, while Whitfield’s Welsh team sailed against the other RPAYC team skippered by Alistair Read. The Welsh team won 3-1.

Tom Spithill, the RPAYC’s head coach, commented: “The regatta went very smoothly. The breeze got up to 22 knots on the first day, and really tested everyone’s boat handling. It was light to moderate for the rest; a good all-round package. It showed who can sail well in all conditions.”

Ten international teams took part in the 27th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship. Clubs represented were RPAYC, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Darwin Sailing Club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in New Zealand and Ireland’s Royal Irish Yacht Club.

The competition is raced in Elliot 7 boats of equal standard, making sailing skills paramount. Sailors must be under-23 and crews can field 4-5 members.

The Marlborough senior Twenty20 competition began on Friday evening. Photo: Peter Jones.

Brittle batting lets TPL sides down

Both of Marlborough’s teams in the Tasman Premier League cricket competition lost to Nelson rivals on Saturday – by the same margin.

The table-topping Dolphins crashed to their first defeat of the year, going down to Nelson College while the Falcons lost to Wanderers-Motueka, both visiting sides triumphing by 10 runs.

The Dolphins success this season has been based around a steady bowling attack and reliable top-order batting.

On Saturday they got half the equation right, dismissing Nelson College for just 127 in the 44th over, but then they came up short with the bat.

Ben Blackman with 3-11 and Cory Golding who bagged 3-20, were the pick of the home side’s attack. For College, opener Flynn Day contributing a patient 28 while No 8 batsman Patrick Wilson belted 41 hugely-valuable runs before being last man out.

In reply, Dolphins were well placed at 85-3 before key batsman Prabodha Arthavidu was removed for 28.

Four wickets fell with the score at 113 as College paceman Jarrod McKay took over. Jack Holdaway played the anchor role with an unbeaten 39 from 56 balls but McKay grabbed four wickets at the other end to wrap up proceedings. Earlier, Kaleb McKay picked up the key wickets of Rikki Bovey and Luke Frankland cheaply to set College on their way.

Falcons’ match followed a similar scenario, although their run chase was more testing.

Wanderers-Motueka scored 192 from 49.5 overs, Dave Leonard, (43), Max Mannering (29), and Alex Brogan (38) showing the way with the bat. Chris Turkington was in fine form with the ball, picking up 4-35 from 9.5 overs, while Matt Stretch and Cameron Collins bagged a brace apiece to set up a winning opportunity.

The home side’s run chase began promisingly, Tarin Mason and Joel Lavender taking the score to 62 before Mason departed.

Collins joined forces with Lavender to push the score onto 121 in the 28th over but when Lavender went for 68 from 93 there was little further resistance, apart from 25 from Stretch, as the last six wickets fell cheaply.

Andrew Beatson (3-25) Jackson Harris (2-26) and Mannering (2-31) were the main wicket-takers.

 

T20 begins

On Friday night the 2019-20 Marlborough senior Twenty/20 competition kicked off with two games at Horton Park.

Wairau Valley took on Marlborough Boys’ College on the No 1 ground while Renwick met Celtic on the No 3 wicket. Defending champions Wairau had a bye.

Both games were one-sided affairs, Valley and Renwick comfortably cantering to victory, the former by eight wickets and the latter by 59 runs.

MBC batted first on the main ground and came up well short of a competitive total. They were dismissed in the 18th over for just 87, Cameron Collins top-scoring with an unbeaten 19. Tim Petrie contributed 15 as the students came and went with monotonous regularity. Chirag Jagota was the pick of the Valley bowlers, claiming 4-19 from his four overs.

Valley wasted little time in reply, hitting out from the outset. Tim Abraham smashed 18 from seven balls then, when he went, the father-and-son duo of Greg and Matthew Stretch made short work of the chase, Greg ending unbeaten on 29 from 30 balls, Matthew 38 from 21.

Spinner Alec Dodson with two wickets for 18 was the most dangerous of the MBC bowlers.

Renwick did better with the bat, setting a Celtic a target of 130 from their 20 overs. They lost seven wickets along the way, with Rikki Bovey (18 from 16) Luke Frankland (28/40) and Prabodha Arthavidu (50/43) top scoring. Matt Morley (3-18), Jaden Adams (2-36) and Ben Blackman (2-15) claimed the wickets to fall.

Celtic’s reply faltered early and just got worse. They were eventually dismissed for 71 in the 18th over, 26 runs from Reuben Molnar being their top score. Keirin Gaudin (2-9) Piers Landon-Lane (2-22) and Bovey (2-18) were the main wicket-takers.

Emily Marfell runs down the finishing chute to claim her first victory in the Sisters Marlborough Women’s Triathlon. Photo: Peter Jones.

Emily emerges victorious

Emily Marfell has “lost count” of how many Marlborough Women’s Triathlons she has contested, but she will no doubt remember the 2019 version with special affection.

After several previous podium finishes the Marlborough doctor ran, cycled and swam her way to her first victory in Sunday’s event, which was sponsored by The Sisters and attended by 170 competitors.

Asked to recall how many times she has lined up for the iconic race, Emily struggled for the exact figure. “I’ve been trying for far too long … I’ve lost count, I put seven on my entry form but I’m not sure.

“I’ve never been in to win really, it’s a case of being here and showing up.

“But it was nice to string it all together today and not do anything silly.”

A slick transition from run to bike helped Emily get her nose in front early on the cycle leg.

“Everything went right [in transition] … I didn’t trip over or anything but the swim was so tough … I am a terrible swimmer and you just have no oxygen left when you jump in the pool. I had to breathe every stroke, it was just a case of survival.”

Emily finished in 51 minutes 22.4 seconds, three minutes nine seconds clear of second-placed Lexi Timpson.

Neve McKenzie, 11, was first home in the run section. Photo: Peter Jones.
Neve McKenzie, 11, was first home in the run section. Photo: Peter Jones.

The surprise package of the event was 11-year-old Neve McKenzie who led the field into transition after a stunning run leg along the banks of the Taylor River. She finished third overall in the smart time of 55.12.

“It’s a fun event, I just like it because anybody and everybody shows up … that’s what I’m most proud of, having showed up lots of times.”

The event, New Zealand’s oldest women-only triathlon, was contested for the 37th time. Unlike traditional triathlons, it was run in reverse order; starting with a run/walk, leading into a cycle and finishing with a short swim.

It comprised a 5km run, mainly along the Taylor River bank, followed by a 14km cycle leg up to the landfill on Taylor Pass Road and finished with a 100m swim at the Aquatic Centre.

Emily Marfell took out the veteran 40-49 section, Sara Stocker won the open category, Lexi Timpson claimed the schoolgirl grade while her mother Marianne Timpson won the 50+ category. The pair combined to take out the mother and daughter category.

Pelorus Preschool Hardcore (Stephanie Quilter, Amanda Smith and Michelle Grenfell) won the business teams section while Leah Drowley took out the walkers race.

For other results go to www.marlboroughwomenstri.co.nz

Callum Saunders on the victory podium. Photo: Supplied.

Saunders beats world class duo in Hong Kong

Marlborough cyclist Callum Saunders overcame both the reigning Olympic champion and the current world champion to take out the kierin title on day three of the World Cup track cycling meet in Hong Kong on Sunday morning [NZ time].

Saunders got the better of Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny and world champion Matthijs Buchli in a thrilling final.

Saunders has had limited opportunities for the powerful Kiwi sprint team but made the most of them in Hong Kong.

Under sprint coach Rene Wolff, Saunders only got to ride in the individual events with the team sprint trio returning to Cambridge to prepare for their home World Cup later this week.

Callum Saunders, centre, on the victory podium in Hong Kong. Photo: Supplied.
Callum Saunders, centre, on the victory podium in Hong Kong. Photo: Supplied.

Against many of the world’s highest-rated sprinters, including 11 of the world’s top 20-ranked keirin riders, Saunders was only able to place third in his heat, sending him into a winner-take-all repechage, where he held off a strong group to win and progress to the semifinal.

There he drew the No 1 spot to slot in behind the derny. Despite being swamped early when the pace went on he recovered to edge his way into third in a bunch sprint to claim the last place in the final.

He again drew the No 1 slot for the decider with Kenny behind. This proved crucial because, when the Englishman opened up his sprint to push to the lead with two and a half laps remaining, his speed was such that the Marlborough rider maintained his place in the trail.

Saunders held off the threat by world No 2-ranked Malaysian Mohd Awang on his outside and in the final straight the New Zealander pushed past Kenny to win by the width of a wheel, with world champion Buchli flying home for third.

Saunders said immediately after the race, “It’s my first-ever time lining up at a World Cup so I just went in with an open mind … didn’t set myself any goals, just went for it.

“I can’t put into words how much it means.”

The next leg of the Track Cycling World Cup series takes place in Cambridge from December 6-8, followed by the December 13-15 leg in Brisbane and the January 24-26 round in Canada.

The Marlborough Girls’ College team perform their pre-game chant. Photo: Peter Jones.

College water polo teams turn on skills

Burnside High School and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School may have come away with the main titles, but two Marlborough college teams thrilled local supporters with powerful showings at the South Island junior water polo champs.

The secondary school event was staged at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 from Thursday to Sunday, featuring sides from throughout the mainland. There were nine teams in the girls’ division and six in the boys’ section.

The Marlborough Girls’ College team battled hard throughout, spurred on by a vocal, supportive local crowd. They won their way to the final where they came away with a silver medal, losing 7-6 to defending champions, Rangi Ruru, on Sunday.

MGC were competitive throughout, peppering the visitor’s goal with a variety of shots but Rangi held their nerve, forging a two-goal lead late in the fourth quarter and holding on despite a strong MGC finish.

The MGC team was: Evie Price, Molly Glover, Dani Patterson, Emma Flanagan, Alice Paterson, Georgia Morrison, Laura Main, Charlotte Brown, Siobhan Keay. Coach – Alister Keay, asst coach – Glen Morrison, manager – Lawelle Morrison.

MGC player Emma Flanagan lines up the Rangi Ruru goal during Sunday’s final. Photo: Peter Jones.
MGC player Emma Flanagan lines up the Rangi Ruru goal during Sunday’s final. Photo: Peter Jones.

A Marlborough Boys’ College Composite team also participated and were highly-competitive, playing strong, controlled water polo across the four days. It was composed of players from MBC, Bohally Intermediate plus three from Southland Boys’ High School. Due to the fact they were a composite side they were only able to finish as high as fifth, which they did. After round robin they were placed third.

The MBC composite team was: Ethan McLeish (MBC), Alex Boyce (Bohally), Oliver Silcock (Verdon College), Harrison Milne (Verdon College), Jayden O’Byrne (Verdon College), William Rowse (c) (MBC), Finn Mackenzie (MBC), Dylan Price (Bohally), Ryan Marsh (Bohally), Isaiah Onolevu (MBC). Coach Duncan Mackenzie, assistant coach – Agost Radzik.

MBC were the only team to beat the eventual gold medallists, downing Burnside 8-7 in pool play. They played eight matches, winning five scoring 105 goals and conceding 58. Their three defeats were all by two goals or less.

In a thrilling boys’ final, Burnside HS downed defending champs St Bede’s College 11-9 after St Bede’s had led 9-8 at the end of the third period.

A Queen Charlotte College team also took part, winding up eight in what proved a valuable learning experience for the Picton-based school.

A recurring theme among players, coaches and supporters was what a superb facility the Stadium 2000 aquatic centre is for staging such a tournament.

 

Results:

Girls

7- 8: Villa Maria A 8 Queen Charlotte College 1

5-6: St Hilda’s 5 Otago Girls’ High School 4

3- 4: St Margaret’s College 3 Christchurch Girls’ High School 1

1-2: Rangi Ruru 7 MGC 6

Boys

5-6: MBC 27 St Bede’s College B 4

3-4: Christchurch Boys’ High School 10 Shirley High School 3

1-2: St Bede’s College A 9 Burnside High School 11

The victorious Marlborough Malcolm Shield team. Photo: Supplied.

Tennis juniors on top again

Marlborough’s young tennis players continued their recent domination over their Nelson counterparts with a comfortable win in the Malcolm Shield fixture at the Forrest Winery Tennis Centre last weekend.

The annual fixture, for under-14 players has been contested since 1992.

Marlborough, coached by John Gardiner, have had the wood on their top of the south rivals lately and were far too dominant this time round as well, winning 13-3.

Sunday’s format involved teams of four playing doubles, singles then mixed doubles matches, 16 matches in total.

Nelson began strongly. In the boys doubles Harry Pugh and Lachie MacKay-Smith beat the top Marlborough pairing of Joseph Sandford-Jury and Felix Parkinson 6-4, 5-7, 10-4 in a tense three-setter.

However, William Poff and Joe Yank levelled the score with a win in the No 2 boys double, then the girls combos of Lily Parkinson and Rosie Bowers, plus Ella Sowman and Hazel Glover, bagged victories in both doubles to further increase the home side’s early lead.

Most of the singles matches went Marlborough’s way, although Sandford-Jury had to bow to Pugh in a high-quality boys’ No 1 match.

Headed into the mixed doubles, Marlborough led 9-3 and were in an unbeatable position. The pairing were selected on the day and came together well, all the home combinations prevailing and providing some very lively tennis.

Youngster Oscar Sandford-Jury scored a vital singles win for Renwick CPR on Wednesday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Rapaura Blanc too strong for club mates

Rapaura Blanc came out on top of their derby battle with clubmates Rapaura Noir during the latest round of Wine Brokers NZ premier interclub tennis on Wednesday.

The Blanc side prevailed 6-3, joining Renwick, who beat Marlborough by the same score, in the winner’s circle.

In the all-Rapaura battle the men’s doubles were shared, Blanc’s Ant Walkenhorst and Lee Harborne beating Hamish McRae and Hugh Robinson in two sets before the Noir duo of Glen Cameron and Tony Fenemor levelled the score with victory over Hiro Kishida and Stephen Dempster.

Ben Burridge and Donna Clark took out the mixed over Eveline Apthorp and Ross Charlton to edge Blanc ahead, then singles wins to Walkenhorst, who downed McRae 7-6, 4-6, 13-11 in a see-sawing battle, Harborne (by default), Dempster and Clark ensured Blanc took the majority of the points on offer.

Renwick continue to lead the points table, consolidating their advantage with a solid win over Marlborough.

The men’s doubles were shared – Marlborough’s Hamish Morrow and Cameron Lyons getting the better of Dave Sandford and Oscar Sandford-Jury in a three-setter, 2-6, 7-5, 10-8, before Chris Nott and Joseph Sandford-Jury downed Jay and Luca Geris in another epic encounter, winning 6-0, 4-6, 10-6.

Daniel Riordan and Mieko Kimura took out their mixed doubles match to edge Renwick in front, before the singles were contested.

The top single was a battle royal, Oscar Sandford-Jury eventually getting the better of Morrow, 2-6, 6-0, 10-4. Nott, Joseph Sandford-Jury and Riordan also added wins for Renwick to ensure they maintained their winning momentum.

Standings after six rounds: Renwick CPR 89, Rapaura Wairau Blanc 76, Rapaura Wairau Noir 52, Marlborough Forrest Wines 42.

 

WK+ Presidents Grade results from November 19.

Division 1: Rapaura Wairau River 4 Rapaura Masters 0; Rapaura Just Move 2 (28) Grovetown Grove Tavern Top Shelf 2 (24); MTC Chilli 2 (32) MTC Power 2 (22).

Division 2: Rapaura Matadors 2 (27) Renwick Mighty Four 2 (31); MTC Swifts 3 MTC Swallows 1; MTC Volleyeurs 3 Rapaura Pinot 1; MTC Roger Townley Construction 3 Rapaura Newhawkes 1.

Division 3: Rapaura Chardonnay 1 Renwick Rookies 3; Renwick Netsetters 4 MTC Bjorn Again 0; Grovetown Grove Tavern Turf & Tackle 1 Renwick Rebels 3.

Division 4: Renwick Serve us a Double! 4 Grovetown Grove Tavern Platters 0; Renwick Racquets 4 Rapaura Vines 0 Rapaura Shiraz a bye.

Jane Watson with the students at MGC. Back row, from left, Emma Flanagan, Hannah Buck, Jaimee van Keulen, Jane Watson, Sylvia Hartland, Vei Moli, Sarah Leota, Mahina Henry-Campbell. Front, from left, Sophie Ridley-Scott, Mikayla Bradley, Poppy Lane. Photo: Supplied.

Netball star shares with students

Silver Ferns defender Jane Watson made the most of her time when she dropped into town early last week to speak at the Marlborough Sports Awards.

In the morning the world champion visited Marlborough Girls’ College and held a skills session with a group of keen netballers, then fielded questions from the group.

Following that she, and MC for the night Bernice Mene, a former Ferns captain, attended a lunch with a group of Marlborough netball supporters.

Later, at the Convention Centre, Watson shared her recent experiences of winning the World Championships in Liverpool with the 300-strong crowd, along with outlining the often bumpy path that took her to the top of the sport.