AS I SEE IT (19 Feb)

Waitaki Aquatic Centre

By Terry O’Neill.


A Smorgasbord (Swedish) suggests sandwich and table, so we have a mixture today.

Regularly I am privileged to propel myself through the waters of the Waitaki Aquatic Centre, one of the district’s most used sporting facilities.

Waitaki Aquatic CentreAnd we are indebted to Adair and David Rush whose foresight and enthusiasm motivated the fund-raising for the complex. With the rise in drowning statistics and reduction in the number of school swimming pools, mainly due to lower funding, this pool is needed more than ever for basic life skills.

At the other end of the learn-to-swim focus it produces high class young swimmers including a number of qualifiers for the national junior age group championships in Auckland later this month.

Swimming demands discipline. Local competitive swimmers train usually from 6.00a.m to 7.30a.m with many from afar breakfasting at the pool before heading for a full school day, and back for a further training later with coach Narcis Gherca. It is interesting to note that North Otago will supply more swimmers to the coming national age group championships in Auckland than South Canterbury and Dunedin!

Is it time to look at establishing a sports complex to replace the Waitaki Recreation Centre in Orwell street? Its beginnings in the 1980s arose at a joint Oamaru Borough/Waitaki County meeting as an exciting compromise to meet community needs and the requirement for Waitaki Girls’ High School to replace its obsolete gymnasium. The Rec’s seen much better days.

Waitaki Boys’ High School and St Kevin’s College have gymnasia used also by community sports teams. The three schools are major contributors to North Otago’s economy and a new complex would certainly be an added attraction for pupils from outside the region as well as for locals. Maybe it will be thrown “into the too hard basket”, but we are the custodians of our future.

North Otago cricket won the Hawke Cup last weekend defeating Buller. Hearty congratualtions!

This trophy is competed for by the 22 minor cricket associations in New Zealand, and is divided into four zones. Each zone plays a round robin tournament and zone winners may challenge the current holder. North Otago first held the trophy in the 2009/2010 season appropriately 100 years after it was donated by Lord Hawke. Last weekend’s win means North Otago must prepare for its first challenge, from Hawkes Bay, in a week’s time.

Rugby League completes the smorgasbord. The competition begins on March 3rd with the Warriors playing West Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium at 9.30p.m. The “leaguies” also have new rules to interpret this season. There’ll be differential penalties for incorrect play of the balls. The old ploy of forming walls to prevent charge downs on field goal attempts will allow referees to penalise for such obstruction. The “shot clock” will be introduced with teams now having 30 seconds for scrums and 30 seconds for dropouts or the offending team has to concede a penalty.Now that’s something that rugby doesn’t have yet.



Onwards and upwards methinks.


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