THE CRYSTAL BALL
You might recall, a couple of weeks ago, the Oamaru Maileditor writing that he rather fancied a lazy fiver on an Oamaru-Waitaki Boys’ Borton Cup cricket final.
Just call me the soothsayer.
So, let’s see if we can keep the momentum going and make some brash predictions for club rugby season, which starts tomorrow. It’s stab-in-the-dark stuff, given not a single game has been played, but let’s give it a try.
1. Old Boys will win the Citizens Shield. Take that to the bank.
2. They will only lose one game all season. And that will be . . . to Maheno.
3. Kurow makes the final. Yes, I’m buying the hype, if only because of the Ben Nowell factor and the fact Valley appears to have slipped a bit.
4. Valley and Maheno will be the other semifinalists.
5. Blues and Athies to fight for the wooden spoon, barring a miracle.
6. Filipo Veamatahau for player of the season.
7. Siosiua Ngalo (if he is back) for leading try-scorer, and Dan Lewis (ditto) for leading point-scorer. Adam Johnson and Inoke Naufahu if Ngalo and Lewis don’t turn up.
The draw is out for the Heartland Championship.
North Otago opens its campaign with a home game against Buller on August 25 before consecutive away games against Mid Canterbury and King Country.
Games against Horowhenua-Kapiti (home), Thames Valley (away), West Coast (home), South Canterbury (home) and Wairarapa-Bush (away) follow before the split, after which the Old Golds better be in the Meads Cup or I will be very grumpy.
Oamaru schools shone – as they so often do – at the Aoraki secondary schools athletics in Timaru last week.
A star performer was Max Yanzick (St Kevin’s College), who won gold in both the under-16 boys 1500m and 3000m, smashing the Aoraki record in the latter by 9sec.
Hamish Coutts (under-14 boys 800m), Peleki Tangifolau (under-15 boys javelin) and Breidy Johnston (under-16 girls 100m) were the other champions from St Kevin’s, while Johnston, Amber Cunningham (two), Jed Jabagat (two), Jasmine Emery, Dodge Lofranco, Liam Prouting-Gardener, Johanna Alegado, Elisha Carter, Amy Coutts and Cameron Dodd won silver medals.
Rising star Briar Johnston (not to be confused with Breidy Johnston) led the Waitaki Girls’ High School charge with gold medals in the under-15 girls 100m and 200m.
Jayda Loper (under-16 hurdles), Alice Weir (under-19 hurdles) and the under-14 and under-19 relay teams were the other gold medallists from Waitaki Girls’, while Johnston, Loper, Rea Wiebus (three), Lily Rawson, Losa Fifita, Anna Scott, Dani Pule, Courtney Lockerbie, Breanna Weir, Jasmine Hunter and the under-16 relay team won silver medals.
Flying Waitaki Boys’ High School sprinter Bryden Skinner claimed the under-19 boys 200m crown, and schoolmates Blake Martin (under-16 hurdles) and Memeite Siale (under-14 triple jump) also won gold medals.
Waitaki Boys’ silver medallists were Matthew Gough (two), Sam Keno, William Knight, Ben Paton, Paddy Henwood and the under-15, under-16 and under-19 relay teams.
The Excelsior club is taking part in a national squash open day on April 7.
As part of a promotion from Squash New Zealand to boost numbers, the Oamaru club will open up the courts for anyone keen to have a hit.
Prospective squash players need to take their own gym shoes but otherwise all gear is provided, along with some guidance from club members, at no charge.
“The hope is that some people attending will like their games and join the club,” Excelsior spokesman Darryl Johnston said.
pennant night on Mondays during school terms with a new competition starting each term, and casual games most Friday nights for anyone wanting to turn up.
“As part of the Excelsior Sports Club’s squash section, members are eligible to go on the New Zealand squash grading list and participate in tournaments within the region and over New Zealand.”
THE INDOOR GAME
Like squash, indoor bowls in North Otago is hoping to get in some fresh blood.
The season starts next month and the centre is holding open days at Centennial Park (Athletic Marist clubrooms) on April 7 and 8, from 1pm to 3pm. Call Bob (437-1704) for more information.
A belated photo and some more news from the South Island clubs darts tournament held in Oamaru recently.
Jamie Grennell, a member of the Oamaru Club’s youth darts division, posted the most 180s (sorry, one hundred and EEIIIGGHHTTTIIES) for the club over the three-day tournament, firing in four of them.
His parents, Paul Grennell and Debbie Conway, won the mixed doubles title. Debbie tells me the Oamaru Club had won two junior titles and one youth title over the years, but this was the club’s first senior championship in 50 years. Great effort.
In case you missed it, our golden boy took another reasonably significant step in his cricket career last week.
North Otago bowler Nathan Smith took three wickets for the New Zealand XI in its two-day game with the pink ball against the touring English.
Smith finished with three for 45 off 13 overs, and among his victims were England stars Alastair Cook and Jonny Bairstow. With the bat, he swiped 24 off 12 balls.
Smith also played in the second two-dayer, under normal playing conditions. He went wicketless of eight economic overs.