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Memory lane . . . New Zealand sporting great Murray Halberg meets pupils from Waitaki Boys' High School during a visit to Oamaru 30 years ago. This photo appeared in the Oamaru Mail on March 17, 1988. Is that Colin Clearwater? Who else do you recognise? PHOTO: OAMARU MAIL FILES

TOO MUCH SPORT
Yes, you read that correctly.

Too. Much. Sport.

Pray for the Oamaru Maileditor who doesn’t technically have a sports reporter but somehow has to at least try to provide some coverage, even small updates, of a million things.

And it does feel like a million this week, during a time of the year when the seasons are a blur. Let’s get into it.

 

SEAT OF HIS PANTS
An early shout-out to Oamaru cyclist Tim Rush, who even by his own high standards produced a whale of a performance at the Motatapu last weekend.

Rush placed second, just 17sec behind the winner, in the elite 19-29 years mountain bike category of the massive multisport event held in the Wanaka-Queenstown high country.

But Rush had to survive some drama to get to the finish. He had a fall, breaking some wheel spokes – one of which went into his leg. AND the seat post snapped, so he rode 16km without a seat!

Other locals to do well included Dougal Allan (first in the Xterra), Hamish Elliott (second in the 18-39 years 42km off-road marathon), the Waitaki Boys’ High School duo of Taz Selfe and Blain Hamilton (third overall and first in the open men’s team mountain bike event), and Blair Selfe and Harvey Weir (seventh overall and fifth in masters men in team mountain bike).

There was also a lovely moment in the 8.5km “sawpit run” when three generations of an Oamaru family took part. Mel Lewis, of the Fitness 24 gym, was joined by mum Karen Clement and daughter Monique Lewis.

 

MAC ATTACK

Mighty Mac . . . North Otago tennis star Mackenzie Phillips (left) with vanquished opponent Rileigh Fields after the Otago Open final at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin at the weekend. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

We appear to have another extremely talented tennis player in this district.

Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil Mackenzie Phillips claimed the Otago Open tennis title in Dunedin at the weekend.

The gun 15-year-old beat Otago’s Rileigh Fields 6-1 7-5 in the final at the Edgar Centre.

 

SWIMMING UPDATE
Those kids at the Oamaru Swim Club are never treading water.

Eight of the club’s best youngsters are bound for Rotorua to compete in the national division two championships starting on Sunday.

The event is a springboard (pardon the pun) to the next level of competitions, including the New Zealand age group and short course championships.

As usual, master publicist Leigh Petrie has given me a handy summary of the local squad.

The hard-working Halalova Asi (boys 14) is the experienced hand, having competed at this meet last year. He is a particularly strong medal prospect in the 1500m freestyle and could also target the podium in the 400m freestyle.

Of the boys 13 swimmers, Daniel Gilbert is looking good for a medal in the 200m butterfly and Corbin Fraser will look to add qualifying times to his 50m breaststroke for the national championships, while Samuel Petrie (boys 12) will seek to continue his good form.

Jessie Bayley, Kari Croucher, Jocelyn Fellowes and Gemma Green round out the talented team.

 

SOUTH(LAND) RULES
In case you missed it, the great news is that the Hawke Cup is back on the right side of the Waitaki River.

Southland claimed the symbol of New Zealand districts cricket supremacy with a crushing win over Counties-Manukau earlier this week, a heck of an effort without class acts Jacob Duffy and Harsh Visavadiya.

The swede-eaters will admire the trophy over the winter, and their first defence next summer will be against the southern zone winner (or runner-up, if Southland itself wins the zone). Hopefully that is us.

 

HISTORY LESSON
Here is the latest “stat chat” courtesy of North Otago club cricket historian Scott Cameron.

He reports, ahead of tomorrow’s Borton Cup final, that Oamaru and Waitaki Boys’ are the only remaining foundation clubs of the North Otago Cricket Association.

Both clubs actually predate the senior competition, which started in the 1899-1900 season.

This is the first time Oamaru (now technically Oamaru-SKC) and Waitaki Boys’ have clashed in a Borton Cup final, being held for a 24th time.

Meanwhile, the Oamaru club tells us James Ferris (my nephew!) has 563 runs (average 62, strike rate 216) and 27 wickets (at 8.67) this season. Nuts.

 

GOLDEN BOY
It has been a super exciting week for North Otago cricketer Nathan Smith, who was selected to play for the New Zealand XI in a two-day game against the touring English in Hamilton.

There was huge interest in the game all round as it was to be played with a pink ball to help players from both sides prepare for the day-night test.

 

WHAT A TRIP
North Otago netball identity Carmen Brenssell and husband Wayne (incidentally, my peer support leader at Waitaki Boys’ way back in 1990) are just back from a trip of a lifetime.

The Kakanui farmers won a trip to Australia through a Banks Auto Electrical promotion.

While fishing off Hamilton Island, the Brenssells were rubbing shoulders with two Aussie sporting greats: rugby league legend Andrew Ettingshausen, and cricket superstar Matthew Hayden.

 

CORRECTION
We were supplied with a wrong name to go with a photo of the Waitaki Girls’ athletic sports last week. That was Sam Slee, not Kate Slee.

 

HALLELUJAH
Waitaki Boys’ has the best lawn bowlers in the region. Brooklyn Deb and Corey Tynan emerged victorious from 13 teams at the Aoraki secondary schools tournament in Timaru last week.