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New turf among upgrades for National Hockey Stadium

Hockey players take to the turf after new upgrades were revealed. PHOTO: Neil Price

A new hockey turf opened in at the National Hockey Stadium at Berhampore at the weekend following a $3.2 million upgrade by Wellington City Council. The hockey stadium upgrade includes the new playing turf, LED flood lights, upgrades to the existing car park, new parking spaces, player shelters and changing rooms. Wellington Hockey chief executive Trafford Wilson said the expansion of the hockey stadium would make a huge difference for those playing and watching the sport. “The opening of the third turf at the National Hockey Stadium is a huge milestone and allows hockey to cater to its existing player base and continue to grow,” he said. “Having three fields will also allow the city to attract more high-profile hockey games to the region.” Deputy Mayor, Paul Eagle, who is also the recreation portfolio leader, said the opening of the new turf was good news for the region’s players, because the original two turfs are operating at capacity.

The sport has had 35 per cent growth in seven years and more than 15,000 participants. “The lights at the Hockey Stadium were often glowing long into the night,” Mr Eagle said. “The new turf will allow players to train and play at more family friendly times and give the sport room to expand. “The other upgrades will allow Wellingtonians to play sport in the summer and winter with less disruption because of field closures and with better facilities at pavilions.” The project was the latest in a long list of upgrades to Wellington City Council sports’ fields, with another $2.7 million spent in the past year across eight fields and three pavilions, including Hataitai Park, Martin Luckie Park and Wakefield Park. Council contributed about $2.1 million to the project, with an additional $1.1 million coming from Wellington Hockey and grants from the Lotteries Commission, New Zealand Community Trust and Lion Foundation.

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

Lions all business in the front, no party in the backs The British and Irish Lions forward pack laid a terrific platform to beat the New Zealand Maori but it does confirm a few theories. There’s clearly a huge difference in class between the Lion’ midweek team and their weekend side. Highlanders and Blues fans can enjoy their victories in midweek games but perhaps the Crusaders deserve more respect for keeping a Saturday Lions team tryless. As dominant as the visitors were in Rotorua, for all the territory and possession they had, which included 81 percent of the ball in the second half, they could only muster two tries, both from close range. The All Blacks smashed Samoa 78-0 in a glorified training run and showed more enterprise on attack in one game than the Lions have all tour.

If Steve Hansen’s men can avoid giving away penalties within goal kicking range and can avoid defensive scrums 5m from their line then I don’t see how Warren Gatland’s men expect to score enough points to beat the All Blacks. The home team will have to be wary of the Lions’ rush defence. It’s been on display all tour and I’m sure the world champions will have a plan in place. I expect New Zealand to at least have parity with the English forwards and be far too slick in the back. While every tour match is important, the success of it will be defined by the three test matches. Even one win may be enough to give this Lions team some credibility but if they got it in game one on Saturday, then it will a fantastic series.

Thursday June 22, 2017

SPORT

15

Sports awards to celebrate Wellington’s top athletes The 2017 Wellington Hospitality Group Sportsperson of the Year Awards were held last Wednesday to celebrate the city’s top performers. Reigning Super Rugby champions, Hurricanes, were named winners of the 2017 Wellington Hospitality Group ‘Supreme Sports Award’. The team were big winners on the night, picking up the Hiremaster ‘Team of the Year’ category, while their All Black first-five Beauden Barrett won the Black and Gold Events ‘Sportsman’ category and team coach, Chris Boyd was named NZCT ‘Coach of the Year’. Administrators and clubs

were also recognised at the awards evening. Netball Wellington General Manager, Sue Geale was named winner of the Trish McKelvey Leadership award for her contribution and service over the last year. Paralympic gold medallist Mary Fisher was another double-award winner, being named the Cigna ‘Disabled Sportsperson’ as well as Wellington Sports Med ‘Sportswoman of the Year’. Her impressive year in the pool saw her break her own world record in the 50m Butterfly and win gold in the 100m Backstroke in Rio. Justin Toebes was the recipient of the Wellington

Community Trust ‘Lifetime Contribution to Sport’ Award for his long-standing contribution to basketball. Sport Wellington Chief Executive Phil Gibbons said the judges once again faced major challenges due to the large number of high quality nominations submitted this year. “The Awards recognises and celebrates the wonderful accomplishments and success of our region. Our record attendance of over 700 people and the range of finalists at the community, club and emerging to high performance levels really shows how outstanding the sporting year has been,” he said.

Masters athlete a national champ By Dave Crampton

A master’s athlete is the national marathon champion after his effort at the Wellington Marathon on 18 June. Stephen Day, from Wellington Scottish, clocked 2 hours 32.03 seconds to take both the national and Wellington titles. His time was more than four minutes faster than the 2016 winning time -and he smashed his personal best by five minutes. He also set a Master’s record for his 40-49 years age group, beating the old record by nearly one and a half minutes. The two Japanese favourites, Wellington-based Hirotaka Tanimoto, who clocked 2hrs 20min in Melbourne in 2015, and Kosuke Hamada, who ran 2 hours 28 mins in Senshu, Japan, both ran slower than 2 hours 37 minutes and were outside the top five. Stephen said he got into a good group at the start with a couple of Scottish clubmates. “As we turned into the wind for the last 8km I started to pick people off - first Kosuke Hamada, and then Hiro, and I got Sam (McCutcheon) with a bit less than 2km to go. “I felt smooth and comfortable over that second half.” But Stephen almost never entered the event. “I only switched my entry from the half to the full earlier this week,” he said. “I’d been helping to host our guest runner from Japan and had also heard about all the great running from the

Stephen Day. PHOTO: Rowan Greig

Scottish boys at Christchurch and jealously decided I wanted to get in on the action - especially because it was National champs.” He also wanted to be part of a winning Scottish team at the championships. But he did not win as an individual – he came second. The winner was also Wellington resident Dan Lowry but as he is not a Wellington club member he is unable to claim the Wellington title, and as he is not a New Zea-

lander he is unable to claim the National title. Stephen said he was stoked to claim the National title. “I’m rapt with the way I ran It’s pretty cool to pick up a marathon title.” He also got his goal of being in the winning Scottish team. About 4000 runners and walkers from 13 countries and all ends of New Zealand competed in various events as part of the Wellington Marathon.

Cook Strait News 22-06-17  

Cook Strait News 22-06-17

Cook Strait News 22-06-17  

Cook Strait News 22-06-17