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Wednesday December 6, 2017

SPORT

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Young fan joins idols at Karori kickers celebrate new turf Blackcaps match A local Karori cricket fan had his dream come true last Friday when he joined captains Kane Williamson and Jason Holder on the pitch for the coin toss before the Blackcaps versus West Indies match to help decide the batting and bowling order. Nine-year-old Jack Mahoney has been playing cricket for six years and plays for the Karori Sharks team. “My favourite part was handing Kane Williamson the coin – that was pretty cool,” Jack says. “The captains were really nice and made me feel less nervous.” Jack explains he spends at least four hours a week playing and training for cricket, and he also likes spending his spare time outside playing cricket with his dad. Head of sponsorship at ANZ, Sue McGre-

gor, says Jack was one of 27 kids being selected to take part in the pivotal pre-match moment during this year’s summer of cricket. “We hope that connecting young players with their heroes will help inspire the next generation of Kiwi cricketers. “There’s a magic that happens when fans take part in the match and meet these great players. We try to get these young cricketers involved as much as we can,” she says. The ANZ coin toss activity is part of its support for cricket at all levels in New Zealand. ANZ is also giving keen cricketers the chance to share what help they need to get on top of their game this summer – from new gear to tips from their sports heroes.  Applications are now open at anzcricketworld.co.nz.

City councillor Simon Woolf refereed the first official football game played on Karori’s new turf. PHOTO: Supplied By Julia Czerwonatis

The artificial turf at the former Terawhiti Bowling Club site is finally reality for Karori’s kickers. In 2012, Waterside Karori Association Football Club partnered up with Wellington City Council to get a turf for local players. Last Saturday, five years and over $1million later, the footballers celebrated the completion of the Terawhiti turf. “The turf is a godsend for us,” Louis Schmitt, Waterside Karori AFC treasurer, says. “We used to play all over town; in Wilson, in Nairnville Park, at St Particks College and Kaiwharawhara.” For the 650 juniors and 250 seniors of the club that meant “enormous” travel, Louis says. “Karori Park isn’t suited for training but only for games,” Louis explains. “Grass is unforgiving, and especially during winter the whole patch turns into mud.” With the new turf located right in the heart of the suburb, Karori’s footballers can now easily cycle to their training sessions. With the support of the council, the club had to gather a budget of over

$1million. They got the Lion Foundation, the NZ Racing Board, the NZ Community Trust and the Four Winds Foundation on board as their major sponsors. After the sod was turned in March, the exceptionally wet winter hindered contractors from completing their work for a few months. The football club and their supporters were therefore really excited about their first official game on the turf. “It’s a fantastic effort,” Onslow-western ward councillor Simon Woolf says. “Terawhiti Bowling Club who formally owned the land organised a lovely hand-over.” Simon refereed the first game which consisted of two teams of junior players, with a couple of senior players thrown in for good measure. “There’re some real talents amongst the young players. We saw a sublime goal by one the young fellows. “Football is becoming more popular; there’s more uptake from both boys and girls. “Indeed, one of the best players on the field last Saturday was a girl.” Waterside Karori seniors are one of the top-notch teams in Wellington and are currently playing in the central league.

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

Nine-year-old ANZ Coin toss winner Jack Mahoney with captains Kane Williamson, right, and Jason Holder.

Athletes head home from National Summer Games More than 1250 athletes with intellectual disabilities are heading home from their pinnacle sporting event – the Special Olympics National Summer Games 2017, which finished in Wellington last Friday. Over the course of the event athletes competed in 11 sports – swimming, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, football, golf, indoor bowls, powerlifting, table tennis and tenpin bowling, at venues in Wellington and surrounding areas. “This has been the most amazing week in Wellington,” Kathy Gibson, chief executive for Special Olympics New Zealand, says. “Our athletes have achieved some outstanding results and the looks on their faces regarding their experiences in the capital say it all.

“We have been supported by the most incredible sponsors and we cannot thank them enough. “From the Sport NZ, Datacom and FMG corporate volunteers through to the suppliers of our horses, Lions and Rotary members and our wonderful team of volunteer clinicians, the generosity of the support has been so much more than we expected. “They say Wellington is the event capital of New Zealand and this community has turned it on for our Special Olympics community in spades. “While the beautiful weather played a huge part, it has been the warmth and kindness shown that has really made this week special for us.”

Dear Tom - welcome aboard One opportunity, two careers potentially changed. Wellington wicket-keeper Tom Blundell made the most of his test debut with an absorbing unbeaten 107 and a tidy performance behind the stumps that should have regular Black Caps test keeper BJ Watling concerned. While the West Indies are at the weaker end of the test nation spectrum, Blundell ensured that dropping him won’t be an easy decision when Watling returns from a hip injury that had consigned him to just a batsman role in domestic cricket. At 27, Blundell is not a young man but on his home track at Wellington’s Basin Reserve he proved that if you’re given an inch but you take a mile, it can prove to be a life changing moment. Watling, who reinvented himself from top order batsman to test keeper mid career, has been a tremendous

option in the role, proving capable with the gloves and averaging 38 with the bat. However, once past 30, succession plans always come into play. Blundell’s composure at the crease, workman-like effort behind the stumps and willingness to walk home post-match while still in his playing whites will have endeared himself to many fans and undoubtedly the selectors. The Wellingtonian has the ability to hit the long ball and increase the strike rate and was seen as a coloured clothing option before a test player up until this week. It would be a tough call to drop Watling but the Australians would do it given the same opportunity and they’ve been mighty successful for many years. A headache for coach Mike Hesson but one that won’t have him reaching for the paracetamol any time soon.

Independent Herald 06-12-17  

Independent Herald 06-12-17

Independent Herald 06-12-17  

Independent Herald 06-12-17