A SALUTE . . .
There was a time – and even someone of my (cough, cough) youth can remember this – when women’s cricket seemed like some bizarre rarity.
Our national and local cricketers had moustaches and were called Richard, Ian and Martin. Women who hankered to play summer sport were restricted to softball (RIP), athletics and golf.
Thankfully, the times they have a’changed.
. . . TO THE GIRLS . . .
Cricket has exploded in popularity among girls and women.
There are thriving clubs, plenty of good coaching, and an overall sense of encouragement for females who want to try the sport.
Women’s cricket is on TV, and superstars like the wonderful Suzie Bates can now make a living out of the sport, if not on the scale of their male counterparts.
Best of all, there are new opportunities for girls to play competitive cricket.
One of those is the new(ish) South Island junior tournament in Christchurch.
North Otago is not quite strong enough yet to field its own team, but six girls from our province represented the Otago Districts team at last week’s event, finishing sixth out of eight teams.
Katelyn Walton scored 78 runs at an average of 38, placing her ninth overall, and Emma Meikle (bias alert) claimed six wickets at an average of 9.3 to be seventh overall.
And then there was Emily.
. . . OF SUMMER
Emily Mavor – Stefan and Teressa’s daughter – provided the individual highlight of the week.
Against Nelson, Emily made a stunning start to the game by claiming a hat trick in the first over.
The 11-year-old took wickets (all bowled) off the final three deliveries of the over, and narrowly missed a fourth wicket in four balls when she started her second over.
The stage is set for a thrilling finish to the Hawke Cup qualifying campaign.
Following South Canterbury’s outright win over Otago Country last weekend, the southern zone points table looks like this: Southland 24, South Canterbury 24, North Otago 20, Otago Country 8, Mid Canterbury 0.
Southland plays South Canterbury next weekend (a rained-off draw would be lovely), while North Otago heads to Ashburton to play Mid Canterbury.
The final round is the following weekend, when North Otago hosts Southland (potentially for all the beans) and Otago Country hosts Mid Canterbury (potentially for the spoon).
OFF THE STICK
It’s a big weekend for local golf.
The golf section of the Oamaru Club is hosting the Clubs New Zealand South Island men’s tournament at the Lower Waitaki course.
The annual event has attracted 41 teams of four from all over the South Island, representing their respective chartered clubs.
Teeing off from 7.30am-8.30am and 11.30am-12.30pm both days, teams compete for two trophies, net and gross, across 36 holes.
Good swinging, gents.
Your best bet in sizzling temperatures is to find some shade, a cold drink and a good book. But if you prefer something more active, pop along to the Oamaru Multisport Club’s annual summer series.
The series is held on Wednesday nights, starting from next week, and involves having a crack at multisport disciplines around the Oamaru Harbour.
“With the incredible weather, we have noticed lot more people swimming, running and biking because weather like this gets people activated,” spokeswoman Adair Craik said.
“It’s some decades since I can recall consistently good weather in our region. It’s not good for farmers but it’s fabulous for training.”
The series is held over three Wednesday evenings followed by the final event on Sunday, March 4.
GREATEST SHOW ON TURF
Fantastic to have the new hockey turf being used for the first time last week.
I popped out for a quick look and I have to say the glorious blue deck looks absolutely stunning.
Bravo again to all the folks from North Otago hockey and their sponsors and supporters for pushing the long-awaited upgrade through.
Speaking of hockey, it was nice to see a couple of local legends honoured by Sport Otago.
The organisation is highlighting some great local volunteers on its Facebook page, and among the first to feature were North Otago hockey stalwarts Shaun Cunningham and Candy Willetts.
More than ever, sporting codes need people like them if they are to survive and thrive.
GOD HELP ME
In the middle of this heatwave, I noticed the draw for the Citizens Shield had been confirmed.
North Otago club rugby starts on .. wait for it .. MARCH 24.
Holy smokes. Hope those groundsmen have plenty of water.