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Thursday November 9, 2017

SPORT

New challengers, new titles as 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 run by the Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club (PNP) promises another summer of exciting racing. Kicking off on November 5 at the Wellington Velodrome in Hataitai, 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 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 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 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-inform sprinter Lee Evans, keen to take it off his hands. A refreshed format for the Sprint Ace contest means six riders each week will race a one lap, all out sprint to gain points towards the men’s and women’s trophies. “It’s going to be another stellar year for track cycling at the Wellington Velodrome,” said PNP Track head, Peter Mitchell. “I’m looking forward to some close competition and plenty of new faces using this great facility.” As well as organising Speed League, PNP run training and taster sessions for rookies on the Wellington Velodrome throughout the summer, helping dozens of riders from age seven enjoy safe cycling.

Injury no barrier to success for Masters gold winner

Kerill Harkness shows off the latest ten-pin bowling gold medal she won from the Australian Masters Games. PHOTO: Jamie Adams By Jamie Adams

A Kilbirnie master of tenpin bowling has won yet another gold medal in an international competition, this time being all the more special as she did it with an injured hand. Kerrill Harkness won the women’s 40-49 years doubles event at the Australian Masters Games in Devonport, Tasmania last month, despite having her bowling hand bandaged due to a freak injury she sustained soon after arriving. “I was talking to a lady, walking along when I tripped over a little bit of concrete that was sticking up from the ground. “I tripped and got a gash on my hand.” The gash was so serious she had a tetanus injection as a precaution. Kerrill was still able to grip a bowling ball and so competed over the eight days of competition with an Australian,

Riders take off at one of last year’s Burkes Cycles Speed League events. PHOTO: Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club

‘Have-a-go’ school sports festival to go local After 14 years, the annual Sport Wellington Stadium Sports Festival, aimed at providing primary aged children with quality ‘have-a-go’ experiences in sports, is evolving from the fixed Wellington location of the Westpac Stadium to a locally led approach of a number of events held in the regions by local organisations. Due to the limit on numbers that could participate, every year more schools would register interest in attending than what the event could cater for. A total of 549 year 5 and 6 students from 20 different schools took part in the 2017 event, but 54 schools applied. “We believe that we can increase the reach of the festival ‘have-a-go’ experience by encouraging and assisting the development of locally-led events, and therefore reach a greater number of students,” Patrick Simpson, Community Sport Manager, Sport

Wellington says. “If festival events are held locally, this will allow local sports organisations to form relationships with schools in areas they are capable of reaching and engaging in, meaning there is more likelihood of children being able to continue their participation. “Local events will also use local sporting facilities - and we know that getting involved locally with a sport increases the chance of the child continuing their participation.” Although the 2017 festival was the last centralised event to be organised by Sport Wellington, it isn’t the end of the festivals. Lower Hutt, through Hutt City Council already hold their own local event and Regional Public Health has held discussions with Sport Wellington about holding a 2018 event in Porirua. Sport Wellington encourages other areas within the region to do the same.

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Rebecca Walker, who happened to be the receptionist at the venue. “We had six to nine games. I can’t remember as I was absolutely zonked at the end of it.” Kerrill and Rebecca finished with the highest total score in the C Grade, enabling them to take out the gold. “It’s hard to believe. I didn’t expect to win.” A vast array of medals adorns Kerrill’s bedroom wall, a reflection of her success in the sport of tenpin bowling. She first competed at a Special Olympics competition in 1990 then moved on to New Zeland Masters Games and later Australian Masters Games tournaments that were open to New Zealanders. As well as loving the sport, Kerrill enjoys the benefit of it keeping her arms strong. “When I started I didn’t know if I could handle it for this long.”

Sports talk

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.

Cook Strait News 09-11-17  

Cook Strait News 09-11-17

Cook Strait News 09-11-17  

Cook Strait News 09-11-17