The day the Old Golds beat Japan

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FIFTY YEARS AGO

I’m a little late but it has just gone half a century since North Otago claimed one of its international rugby scalps.

On May 15, 1968, the Old Golds beat the touring “All Japan” team 17-5 at Centennial Park.

Halfback and captain Ross McKenzie popped in to bring me a copy of the programme and a match report from the Oamaru Mail – which strangely, given the paper was a daily back then, did not appear until May 23.

It was a “most enjoyable” game, the paper reported. McKenzie starred with his passing and running game, and goal-kicking flanker Paddy Ford “again proved his value”.

Interestingly, the reporter also zeroed in on the Japanese players’ tendency to pull jerseys at lineout time, as well as the unfortunate sight of a North Otago player with his socks down and his shirt hanging out.

QUEEN COURTNEY

We’ve tended to let our sister paper, the Otago Daily Times, handle the latest news updates from Palmerston motocross star Courtney Duncan, and it has done a good job keeping readers informed.

But when – not if – Duncan wins the world title, we really should do a special edition of the Oamaru Mail

She is comfortably in front in the world series after two more wins in Germany at the weekend, and surely, after a couple of years of injury and bad luck, this is the year the young woman from Palmy rules the world.

WHISTLE BLOWER

A rising Oamaru official has claimed a major honour at the Otago touch awards.

Waitaki Girls’ High School referee Shania Kohinga, who has featured in these pages before, received the Lindsay Dunlop Trophy for most promising referee.

SCHOOL RECORDS

Waitaki Boys’ High School has a glorious sporting history, and it is making a push to ensure that is celebrated.

The school’s sports advisory council is collating information on boys who went on to represent New Zealand or won national titles with a view to having a hall of fame at the school.

Anyone with information about high-achieving Waitakians, especially those who might have achieved under the radar, can contact sports co-ordinator Paula Symes (paulasy@waitakibhs.school.nz).

HIGH VOLTAGE

It’s rebuilding time at the Otago Volts, and among the beneficiaries could be a pair of golden boys from North Otago.

Star fast bowler Neil Wagner and experienced wicketkeeper batsman Derek de Boorder are leaving Otago, and there is talk of a third regular member of an under-performing squad flying the coop.

That should lead to more opportunities for the younger brigade, among them the vastly talented North Otago pairing of Nathan Smith and Llew Johnson.

MAKING HIS MARK

Oamaru Rowing Club star Mark Taylor was crowned Otago’s rower of the year recently.

The New Zealand junior men’s coxless quadruple sculls crew member edged three others to take the top prize at Rowing Otago’s awards night in Alexandra.

Taylor is now based in Christchurch with the Southern RPC, but he remains a proud Oamaru representative.