Jacqui Wood and Nathan Watson take on Matt Pigou (serving) and Matthias Krönert in the Marlborough champs. Photo: Supplied.

Watson, Wood hold onto singles titles

Nathan Watson and Jacqui Wood retained their singles crowns at the Alpine Motel Marlborough closed table tennis championships on Saturday.

In a repeat of the 2018 final, Nathan beat Alex Kennedy 12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 in another high-quality encounter between these two.

Both played some superb attacking shots, Alex hitting a string of winners to level the games scores at 2-2 before Nathan turned on the power in the next two games to take the match.

Nathan had a tough match in the semi-final against Matthias Krönert who pushed, chopped and hit to square up at two sets all before Nathan again found another gear to prevail 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8.

Alex reached the final with a win over Matt Millar. In the quarter finals, Alex had a great match with Matt Pigou, taking it

11-8, 10-12, 15-17, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 with both players firing forehands at each other.

The two singles finalists combined to win the men’s doubles final 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 over Matthias and Matt Pigou.

Jacqui beat her daughter Vanessa Wood-Lin in the women’s final 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5. Jacqui was able to score points with powerful topspin but the left-handed Vanessa did well to win the second set with some cross-court forehand winners.

The mother/daughter combination, who reached the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the South Island champs last week, beat Kylie Hurren and Megan Stratford 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 in the women’s doubles final.

Alex and Vanessa beat Jason Kennedy and Jacqui 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 14-12 in the final of the mixed doubles.

In the final of the under-21 singles, Alex beat Vanessa 11-6, 11-5, 11-5.

In the 22-39 grade, Nathan beat Matthias in four sets in the final.

Matt Millar dominated the over-40 grade, winning three titles. In the men’s singles final he beat Jason Kennedy in straight sets. The two singles finalists then combined for a win in the open doubles over Kylie and Kristin Ruwhiu.

His third title was gained when he paired with Kylie for a 13-11, 11-13, 11-5, 9-11, 15-13 win over Jason and Kristin.

Kylie took the women’s singles title from Marion Wood.

Second seed, Warren Haszard, beat top-ranked Ken Thompsett in the final of the over-50 singles while Malcolm Honour beat Peter Welsh 11-9, 11-5, 11-13, 11-4 in the final of the over-60s.


Other titles decided:

Men’s Singles Plate: Peter Welsh bt Malcolm Honour 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8. Under-21 Open Doubles: Alex Kennedy/Josh Sim bt Vanessa Wood-Lin/Joseph Ruwhiu 12-10, 11-3, 12-10. 22-39 Doubles: Matthias Krönert/Matt Pigou bt Nathan Watson/Jacqui Wood 2-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7. Over-50 Doubles: Warren Haszard/Malcolm Honour bt Peter Cowdrey/Peter Welsh 11-8, 11-9,11-5. Over-60 Doubles: Warren Haszard/Malcolm Honour bt Steve Rowsell/Peter Wells 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.

SI champs

Meanwhile Jacqui Wood, Vanessa Wood-Lin and Warren Haszard competed in the South island individual championships in Invercargill the previous weekend, bringing back 11 medals – seven gold and four silver.

Jacqui was in a tough qualifying group in the women’s singles, losing to Canterbury’s Jianyi Zhou who went on to win the title.

Jacqui combined with men’s singles winner Hongyi Li in the mixed doubles, where they reached the final, then she paired with Southland’s Shelley Neal in the over-30 combined doubles and the B grade women’s doubles, winning both titles. Her third title came in the over-30 mixed doubles when she paired with Southland’s Jeremy Gibson for a win over the top seeds.

Jacqui lost close matches to Shelley, a member of the NZ squad, in the finals of the over-30 and B grade singles.

Warren won gold medals in the D grade doubles, the over-60 men’s doubles and the C grade doubles, as well as reaching the final of the over-60 mixed doubles.

Vanessa won the under-15 girls’ doubles with regular partner, Lydia Mercer-Beumelberg from Canterbury. She qualified for post-section play in the under-15 girls’ singles but lost to second-seeded Lydia in five sets.


Junior titles decided

The Marlborough Junior Closed table tennis championships were played over the last two weeks with many close matches from some talented youngsters.

Theo Sandford-Jury won the under-13 singles, Rory Osborne took out the under-15 boys and under-18 finals while Vanessa Wood-Lin claimed the under-18 girls title.

Hospital staff ward off flu

Busy hospital staff can now get flu shots on the wards while they work.

Infection control staff are offering flu vaccinations to nurses, doctors and clerical staff in all inpatient wards at Wairau Hospital.

The move means vital personal do not have to leave the wards at all.

Previously, vaccinated staff had to wait 20 minutes to be given the all clear to return to work.

A spokeswoman from Nelson Marlborough Health says staff can continue to work but a nurse will be on hand to ensure they are still safe.

“We have vaccinators on wards so that staff can ‘get done’ while they work and continue working while being observed for the mandatory 20-minute period – very convenient.”

The flu jab is offered to 3,000 NMDHB staff.

Last year a record 1.3 million New Zealanders were immunised against influenza, after the northern hemisphere experienced a particularly fatal flu season.

But health bosses are warning people not to be complacent with seven confirmed cases already confirmed at Nelson Hospital.

The peak season is typically around July and last year saw a last-minute surge of people booking vaccinations.

Nelson Marlborough Health chief medical officer and paediatrician Nick Baker there has been a steady rise in vaccination levels over the past five years across Marlborough.

“The increasing demand reflects increasing community understanding of just how severe influenza can be and the importance of efforts to protect people and prevent it spreading.

Flu vaccination is especially important for anyone who has a health problem that means they are less able to cope with flu. Any condition that makes it harder to breathe and cough well makes influenza particularly severe,” he says.

“We encourage every person who is eligible for free vaccination to get this done as soon as possible, from their GP or from some pharmacies.”

Vaccination is free for pregnant women, people aged 65 or older, children 4-years-old or under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness and those aged more than 65.

Nick says it is especially important to vaccinate children with any respiratory illnesses.

“While the common cold can be nasty for children especially infants, influenza is much worse.

“… it’s harder for them to breathe, cough or cope with high fevers and congested noses,” he says.

“Our overall message for parents is to consider whether there is anything about their child that means they are likely to cope less well with flu or suffer more complications.”

Killer cat?

It bounded out in front of their car – a black panther-like cat moving at speed.

Stunned Marlborough woman Juliearna Kavanagh from Picton has revealed how the huge animal leapt across the road, just a few feet in front of her car just before Ward.

The well-known business owner is warning people in the area to be careful in case the massive creature attacks.

She has already contacted police and Ministry of Primary Industries.

“It was in full flight; it was big and sleek and with a cat’s head and a huge tail,” she says.

Along with partner Warren Lewis, Juliearna was travelling on SH1 about 11.30pm, returning from Invercargill on Friday.

The pair were left bewildered by the strange encounter, says Juliearna who owns and operate Marlborough’s Hop on Hop off wine tour company and one in Queenstown.

A huge black cat leapt in front of Juliearna Kavanagh’s car. Photo: Supplied.

“We both looked at each other, thinking what the heck had just happened?

“We pulled off the road, slightly hysterical and went through every animal that it could possibly be, but nothing made sense.

“It was shocking,” Juliarna says.

There have been numerous reports of large cats in New Zealand’s South Island, with some dating back to the early 1900’s.

A pregnant puma was documented as having escaped from a circus in Lyttleton harbor and the possibility of using cougars was discussed as a way of controlling the thriving deer population in the Canterbury foothills.

But officials have always deemed the sightings to be of a feral cat.

Juliearna says she had slowed down to go around a bend when the cat leapt across the road.

“It was just there, right in front of our headlights, right out of the blue. It was so quick; it was either chasing something or had heard our car.”

The Escape to Picton owner says she has no doubt that what she saw was a Puma.

“I couldn’t live with myself if I’d kept quiet and then it attacked a small child or livestock.

“A big cat isn’t the first thing that we naturally thought of, after all we don’t live in a country where you expect to see them. But that’s what it was,” she says.

“I don’t scare easily, I’ve seen some shit, but it was big, quick and black and I was struck by how big it’s tail was.

“If that was a feral cat, it’s a feral cat on steroids. Curiosity killed the cat but it’s not the cat I’m worried about.”

A spokeswoman from Ministry of Primary Industries says MPI has received one recent call from a member of the public in relation to a sighting of what they believed was a ‘large cat’.

We have previously received calls over the years about similar sightings. MPI has investigated many photographs, footprints and hair, scat and faeces samples, and in each of those previous cases, we have concluded the sighting to be that of a large feral cat.”

New retirement village and dementia care unit welcomed

Photo cap: A representation of the communal areas planned in the new Summerset retirement village to be built in Springlands. Photo: Supplied

By Kat Pickford

Retirement village developer Summerset has purchased the former Jones Berry Fruits property in Springlands, with the intentions of building Marlborough’s largest retirement village.

Summerset CEO Julian Cook says the development of the six hectare property in Old Renwick Road would exceed $100 million and employ more than 300 people during the building phase.

Up to 40 further permanent jobs will be created when the village opens, Julian says.

A timeframe for development and opening date has not yet been confirmed because the land purchase is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

Summerset would not say how much it had paid for the property, citing confidentiality reasons, but according to the Marlborough District Council it had a capital value of $1.885 million.

Once built, the retirement village will include 200 independent living homes, including two and three-bedroom villas, serviced apartments, rest home and hospital level care, and a memory care centre for people living with dementia.

With Blenheim’s 75+ population expected to increase by 26% over the next four years, Summerset had been looking for a suitable property in Blenheim for a number of years, Julian says.

“We know people will be really interested in the high quality homes and recreational amenities we offer in our retirement villages.

“A lot of the new Blenheim village will be “independent living”, meaning residents have their own house, but extra support is on hand if they want or need it,” he says.

Marlborough Grey Power president Brian McNamara says the new retirement village will help ease pressure on the region’s housing stock.

“Any help in solving our housing shortage is clearly welcome, I’m told there is still a shortage of flats to rent and buy in Marlborough,” says Brian.

“Marlborough is one of the top retirement destinations in New Zealand, and as our proportion of over-65s continues to increase, we will need suitable housing and amenities for them, as well as a workforce to service them, who will also need homes to live in.”

The new village will also include a number of secure, high quality one bedroom apartments for dementia patients.

Alzheimers Marlborough manager Anne Tolley welcomed the news of the specialist dementia care unit.

“Given an expected rise in the number of people being diagnosed with dementia, the proposed increase in the number of specialist beds is a positive move for the wellbeing of people living with dementia in the long term,” Anne says.

“Any resulting increase in the number of specialist respite beds would be welcomed by care partners who want greater flexibility than current respite care options provide.”

Development plans extend beyond the village itself to help improve access for its residents, Julian says.

Aerial view showing proximity of new retirement village to Westwood Business Park.

“Summerset has been in initial discussions with the Marlborough District Council to talk about footpaths in the area.

“We are expecting to install a new pedestrian footpath from the existing footpath at the corner of Murphys Road and Old Renwick Road to the site as part of the village construction.”

With its close proximity to the Westwood Business Park, Summerset would also be talking to its neighbours about the possibility of creating a direct route to the shopping complex from the village, Julian says.

“Nothing is guaranteed, but we would like to facilitate this if possible.”

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett welcomed the news.

“I’d like to thank Summerset, councillors and Council staff who have worked cooperatively together to make this happen,” he said.

The property is zoned as Urban Residential two – greenfields, which allows for residential development.

Once the Overseas Investment Office approves the purchase of the property, Summerset will need to obtain resource and building consent from the council before development can begin.

According to Summerset’s 2018 annual report, the company was the largest builder of retirement villages in New Zealand last year, reporting a profit of $98.6 million, up 21% on 2017.

It has 25 villages completed or in development across the country, housing 5000 residents and 1400 staff.

Stolen tablets back with school kids

Thirty computer tablets stolen from a Marlborough school have been recovered by police.

In a statement, police say they found a vehicle in Picton on Monday evening with the tablets inside.

The tablets have been returned to Richmond View School in Blenheim where they were taken from over the weekend.

“A thank you all for your help – we located a vehicle in Picton on Monday evening and the stolen tablets were within it,” the statement says.

“One 36-year-old man from Blenheim has been arrested in relation to the burglary of the school.

“Great result”.

Principal Dave Pauling says the theft was discovered on Monday morning shortly before school started for the week.

“It’s such a low thing to do.

“This is the first time something like this has happened in 10 years and we are quite shocked but trying to move on,” he says.