Wednesday November 8, 2017
New challengers for Burkes Cycles Speed League kick-off The Wellington Velodrome becomes the focus for track cycling in the capital again as the sixth season of the weekly Burkes Cycles Speed League promises another summer of exciting racing. The event is run by the Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club (PNP) and kicked off on November 5 at the Wellington Velodrome in Hataitai. “It’s going to be another stellar year for track cycling at the Wellington Velodrome,” Peter Mitchell, PNP track head, says. “I’m looking forward to some close competition and plenty of new faces using this great facility.” Every round features up to 20 races for ability-based grades, and overall prizes for age grades from under 11 right up to under 19s and seniors. Four-time women’s champion Ele Pepperell from Khandallah will return, hoping to use her consistent place-getting to earn a further Champion System winner’s jersey. Ele just scraped together enough points to nab last year’s title on the final weekend of racing after early competition leader Lisa Hunkin dropped out of the running following a heavy crash in February. Lisa is back but this established duo may see previously unheralded rivals emerge from the new women’s coaching programme
Local constants include Ele Pepperell, Nick Warren and Louis Hodgkinson. PHOTO: Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club
which was set up in October and has attracted a large number of participants. The men’s contest, backed by Coffee Supreme, is wide open with Tawa’s Nick Warren aiming to defend his title but it will be
a big ask with long time rivals Grant Perry, Matt Sharland and Mike Thomas, plus back-in-form sprinter Lee Evans, keen to take it off his hands. Craigs Investment Partners sponsor a new under 19s cate-
Bowls pair jubilant winners at mixed champs The first Bowls Wellington centre title was up for grabs in October at the Bowls Specialists Mixed Pairs tournament. The event attracted 106 teams from around the Wellington region and beyond. The finals were held at the Johnsonville Bowling Club on Labour Weekend. National bowls legend, 82-yearold Judy Howat of Lyall Bay, and Johnsonville’s Brent Stubbins took out the first place. In the final Judy and Brent met the talented pair of Tanya Wheeler and Scott Roddick from Eastbourne in a tense match that went to the wire. Judy and Brent managed a two on the last end to overtake Tanya and Scott’s one-point lead, winning the match 19-18. The final lived up to all expectations and was played in front of an appreciative crowd of bowling enthusiasts. This was Judy’s third win of this event and Brent’s second, having also won it last year. Remarkably, the pair went through the tournament unbeaten with nine straight wins. Judy showed her usual determi-
Brent Stubbins and 82 year old Judy Howat, the jubilant Mixed Pairs champions for 2017. PHOTO: Supplied
nation as she played through the post-section play suffering from a bad virus that would have stopped lesser mortals.
Both now go on to represent Wellington in the Mixed Pairs Regional tournament held later in the year.
gory, which should see strong competition amongst the capital’s top youth riders. Henry Levett will be gunning for the boy’s title after a blistering winter during which he won the PNP Criterium Series.
His training partner Liam Cooper will be hot on his heels however, as will fast-finisher Louis Hodgkinson from Khandallah, while Grace Saywell will be gunning for the girl’s under 19s title.
with Jacob Page
RLWC finds its niche The Rugby League World Cup seems to have found its groove but it’s unclear if it can reach the lofty heights organisers hope. I went to the Kiwis versus Scotland game over the weekend and while the 74-6 rout was predictable, there certainly was a decent atmosphere mixed in with some empty seats as well. Hamilton hosted a great atmosphere for the Tonga versus Samoa clash. Despite the unrest between the two supporter bases in the lead up to the game, the crowd participation roared through the screen proving that their is a good level of interest. The RLWC is a lot like other minnow sports in that only three teams look realistically capable of winning the title. The Kiwis, Kangaroos or England look most likely with Tonga given an outside
chance given the immense amount of NRL talent they have on their books. With so few genuine chances, you’re set to see a fair number of mismatches in pool play which can turn off the casual fan. The tournament seems to be far more engaging to watch when played in Australia and New Zealand as opposed to the United Kingdom as it seems to galvanise the sporting public of Australasia more. Based on what I have seen, it will be yet another Kiwis vs Kangaroos final. Rugby league is not yet a global game and that’s clear by the number of players using tenuous family blood lines to play for lesser nations. Despite a predictable finish, at least the tournament has captured the imagination of a sporting public eager for an extended season.
Independent Herald 08-11-17